The 1976 horror movie The Omen is one of those horrifying cases in which the true story was based on the movie — kind of. Careful what you decide to film, because the devil might just have his own agenda.
If you've heard of the horrors that followed Rosemary's Baby (1969), then this story may not surprise you as much. However, the devil tried to one-up himself in his own sequel, The Omen.
It couldn't have helped that the movie was released on June 6, 1976 (i.e. 6.6.6.). I get it, you want to up the scare, but come on! Don't be knocking on hell's door! Hasn't the movie taught you anything?
John Richardson's Eerie Car Accident
John Richardson, the special effects consultant, was responsible for creating the movie's epic death scenes. While working on his next production in Holland, A Bridge Too Far, Richardson was involved in a crash that killed his girlfriend/assistant, Liz Moore. Guess which day that happened on? That's right, Friday the 13th.
The accident had some weird coincidences with the movie. First off, Moore was cut in half by the colliding vehicle's wheel, similar to the death scene of photographer Keith Jennings in The Omen. Also, the first thing Richardson saw upon regaining consciousness was "Ommen 66,6." This stood for Ommen, Netherlands at kilometer 66,6.
Gregory Peck Gained A Role, But Lost A Son
Actor Gregory Peck was cast as Ambassador Robert Thorn, the adopted father of The Devil child. Shortly after Peck accepted the role, his son shot himself in the head without the slightest warning or explanation.
This tragedy did not deter Peck from continuing his career, but he barely even made it to England to film. While crossing the Atlantic Ocean from LA to London, his plane was struck by lightning, causing the engine to catch fire and nearly crash.
With All Odds Against Them, Lightning Actually Struck Again And Again
Three days later, The Omen's screenwriter David Seltzer was also on a flight on his way to the UK, which also got struck by lightning! Not long after, executive producer Mace Neufeld was in a plane that was victim to the exact same threat over the exact same ocean:
“It was the roughest five minutes I’ve ever had on an airliner.”
No kidding, but that's not all. While producer Harvey Bernhard was visiting Rome, a lightning bolt barely missed him as well. Because these weren't enough signs to avoid planes (or big storms) for the rest of eternity, there were more jaw-dropping plane-related tragedies that revolved around The Omen.
The Rented Production Plane Ended Up Crashing
The production rented a plane to shoot an aerial view of London. The rental company had a last-minute switch, resulting in the plane going to a group of Japanese businessmen instead. It hit a car, killing everyone in that as well.
In some twisted way, this might have been one of the few signs of good luck on the crew's behalf, as this mix-up saved their lives. Tragically, the luck did not extend do the passengers on board, who all died.
After One Too Many Incidents, The Cast And Crew Felt The Omen
On the first day of shooting, several of the main crew members where in a head-on car crash, which they luckily all survived. Obviously, people on set caught on that there was something very eerie going on, to say the least.
Perhaps it was mere paranoia, but these predictions only worsened the matter. Producer Harvey Bernhard said in an interview:
“The devil was at work, and he didn’t want the picture made.”
The 'Possessed' Rottweilers Were Exactly That
In the legendary scene where Gregory Peck is attacked by a vicious pack of Rottweilers, the dogs might have been confused with the concept of acting. The "highly-trained" hounds were meant to attack a heavily padded stuntman. However, one thing led to another and the attack went from staged to extremely real.
The dogs bit through the padding and wouldn't back down despite the trainers' best efforts. The stuntman luckily survived the attacks, however the same can't be said for a local zookeeper.
Even The Felines Were Feeling The Effects Of The Devil
The day after the movie was done shooting at the Longleat Safari Park, a London zookeeper named Sidney Bamford was killed in the lion area. He was working for the production as a big cat wrangler for a scene that was meant to appear in the movie.
The scene showcased zoo tigers who were menacing the possessed son, Damien. One of the tigers wasn't properly secured post-filming, leading to a fatal attack on the animal expert.
Neufeld And Donner Cheated Death On Several Occasions
Mace Neufeld's bad luck didn't run out after his plane got struck by lightning. That was in the beginning of the production when Satan was merely getting his hands dirty. While producing The Omen, Neufeld was staying at the Hilton hotel in London, which was bombed by the Irish Republican Army. Luckily for Neufeld, he was not there at the time.
Because one IRA bombing didn't suffice for this cursed crew, a restaurant was also bombed by the IRA. What did the restaurant have to do with them? The director Richard Donner, as well as Bernhard, Neufeld, and several of the film's actors were scheduled to eat there. They were en route and missed the explosion by mere minutes.
Donner's luck was further tested as well, as he was being let out of Bernhard's car to go to his house, when some guy drove by and dangerously slammed him, trapping him between the doors. He fortunately left unscathed.
They Never Learned Their Lesson: Don't Mess With The Devil
The executives continued to pursue their careers alongside Satan by writing and producing more sequels to the original. Luckily, the curse died down and spared them.
The Omen reboot wasn't as lucky, once again releasing the movie on 6.6.06. — at this point they were just teasing the devil. Pete Postlethwaite, who portrayed Father Brennan, suffered the loss of his brother while filming. This happened shortly after his brother Mike drew three sixes at poker.