Face-Off: Rosemary's Baby vs. The Omen

We had an all-out Spanish-speaking beauties face-off last week with Penélope Cruz battling Salma Hayek in a fight that saw Hayek overwhelmingly dominate her buddy Cruz. After that sexy head-to-head, I’m going to take a breather and focus on this week’s Halloween theme and pit two of my favorite “devil-themed” horror classics against one another: Roman Polanski’s 1968 classic ROSEMARY'S BABY versus Richard Donner’s 1976 masterpiece THE OMEN.
Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and husband Guy (the always powerful John Cassavetes) move into the Bramford, a NYC apartment complex with a history of occult happenings and eccentric neighbors. Rosemary’s dream comes true one day when she becomes pregnant at which point everyone around her begins acting strangely, including her husband, neighbors and obstetrician. Eventually she begins to suspect that she is being bred by witches and warlocks into giving birth to a child that will be used in rituals, sacrifices and maybe even more.

The people she trusts start dropping like flies and the people she suspects keep acting stranger and stranger. Is this just paranoia or is the baby growing inside of her more special and sinister than she can even imagine? Yep, it's the latter, her child’s dada is actually the devil himself.
American Ambassador Robert Thorn (the late great Gregory Peck) takes some really bad advice from a Roman priest and adopts a mysterious newborn baby to take the place of his wife’s (Lee Remick) newly stillborn baby. What’s the catch? Thorn has no idea that the adopted baby’s mother was a jackal and, oh yeah, the child also happens to be the son of the devil.

In many ways, THE OMEN can be considered a continuation of ROSEMARY’S BABY because as that movie ended with the devil’s baby being born, THE OMEN begins with the beginning of his life and all that it takes to keep him safe and alive and ready to take over the world. Both movies' stories are chilling, fascinating and original which is why I’m calling this a draw.
Star Power
John Cassavetes and Mia Farrow may never have reached A-list star status but they are “names” nonetheless and bring an authenticity to their roles that gets you involved in the film from word one. Charles Grodin joins the festivities in a small but crucial role as well. But the real “star” of this picture is legendary director Roman Polanski whose style and approach to this subject matter make it as memorable as any of the fantastic acting you’ll witness in the film.
The reason Gregory Peck is considered one of the greatest movie stars that ever lived is because he commands the screen and can carry an entire movie on his shoulders alone. THE OMEN is Gregory Peck and Gregory Peck is THE OMEN. Peck gives the movie credibility, believability and most importantly one of his best performances ever. Throw in Lee Remick as his wife and you’ve got a duo that outshines Farrow and Cassavetes.
The movie is paced and the slow, natural build-up is worth it as it is closer to a psychological thriller than a bloody horror romp. Roman Polanski is a master with these types of scripts so there are few moments in this movie where you aren’t hanging on every word or cringing at every action. The look on Rosemary’s face when she finally sees her “baby” is one of the biggest payoffs I have ever seen in a horror movie...it was worth the 2-hour+ wait!
Nothing is without suspense in THE OMEN; from Damien's first haircut to his first visit to the zoo and church to the final scene when Robert Thorn takes Damien to church again in the hopes of leaving his lifeless body there. You can never really know what'll happen in any given scene which is why THE OMEN is an overall more suspenseful movie than ROSEMARY'S BABY.
This is far from a typical horror slasher movie so the very few deaths we know about are seen or heard about after the fact (a suicide and a mysterious death of an old friend of Rosemary’s). The off-screen deaths add to the tension and in this case the “less-is-more” approach ups the ante in the eeriness department.
1) A nanny hanging herself dramatically at a boy’s birthday party.

2) A priest getting impaled from a falling metal church spire.

3) A woman plummeting to her death and crashing through the roof of an ambulance.

4) A journalist being beheaded by a flying pane of glass.

5) A demon nanny being killed with a sharp object.
1) Edward “Hutch” Hutchins: “I see you had another suicide up there at, uh, Happy House.”

2) Roman Castevet: “Satan is his father, not Guy.”

3) Rosemary Woodhouse: “Oh, God!”

Roman Castevet: “God is dead! Satan lives!”

4) Dr. Abe Sapirstein: “Come with us quietly, Rosemary. Don’t argue or make a scene. Because if you say anything more about witches or witchcraft, we’re gonna be forced to take you to a mental hospital. You don’t want that, do you?”

5) Rosemary Woodhouse: “What have you done to him? What have you done to his eyes, you maniacs!”

Roman Castevet: “He has his father’s eyes.”

Rosemary Woodhouse: “What do you mean? Guy’s eyes are normal!”

6) Rosemary Woodhouse: “This is no dream! This is really happening!”
1) Young nanny: “Look at me, Damien! It's all for you.” (she jumps off a roof, hanging herself)

2) Father Brennan: “Your son, Mr. Thorn. The Son of the Devil. He will kill the unborn child. Then he will kill your wife. And then, when he is certain to inherit all that is yours, then, Mr. Thorn... he will kill you.”

Robert Thorn: “That's enough.”

Father Brennan: “And with your wealth and power he will establish his counterfeit kingdom here on Earth, receiving his power directly from Satan!”

Robert Thorn: “You're insane.”

Father Brennan: “He must die Mr. Thorn!”

3) Robert Thorn: “Kathy is dead, I want Damien to die too.”

4) Robert Thorn: “What do you know about my son?”

Father Brennan: “Everything.”

Robert Thorn: “And what is that?”

Father Brennan: “I saw its mother.”

Robert Thorn: “You saw my wife.”

Father Brennan: “I saw its mother.”

Robert Thorn: “You are referring to my wife!”

Father Brennan: “Its *mother*, Mr. Thorn!”

Robert Thorn: “If this is blackmail, come and say it! What is it you’re trying to say?”

Father Brennan: “Its mother was a jack...”

5) Mrs Baylock: “Have no fear, little one... I am here to protect thee.”

6) Katherine Thorn: “Don’t let him kill me.”
Name that Devil
Although Adrian is a pretty cool name for Satan’s spawn, the devil name Damien has become iconic and linked with the Antichrist because of THE OMEN. I attach Adrian more to Talia Shire than Lucifer’s kid.
If I am ever unfortunate enough to be cursed with a devil baby in my life, I would name the brat Damien.
The chilling opening theme from Rosemary’s Baby (the la-la-la-la song) and the continuous times we hear Beethoven’s Für Elise in this movie both really struck me and added to the mood and atmosphere of the film. The score is fitting but it’s those two songs that really stuck with me way after the movie ended.
It would take a lot to beat out the two songs featured in ROSEMARY’S BABY but Jerry Goldsmith’s masterful Oscar-winning score does exactly that! The way the music intensifies and chills you when we first see Damien’s crazy devil “watchdogs” is enough to get anyone’s hairs to stand on end. Whether it’s Damien’s first visit to church or a visit to a damned devil-dog riddled cemetery, this movie’s score (sometimes accompanied by religious chants) is what gives it its soul and heightens its suspense factor. The Oscar-nominated song ‘Ave Satani’ is just the cherry on top.
Oscars, Oscars, Oscars
ROSEMARY’S BABY earned two Oscar nominations, one for writing (Roman Polanski) and another for Best Supporting Actress for Ruth Gordon (which she won).
THE OMEN also got two Oscar nominations, one for Best Song (Jerry Goldsmith) and another for Best Score for Jerry Goldsmith (which he won).
Pray for Rosemary’s Baby
You have been warned.
The Omen
Although THE OMEN has always been my favorite horror movie, after re-watching both movies recently I was wondering if it had a chance to beat out ROSEMARY’S BABY in separate categories. Every time I watch ROSEMARY’s BABY I like it even more so I had to wonder what the result would be to this face-off. To make it as fair as possible, I threw in multiple categories but in the end it was clear that THE OMEN is just the superior film in almost every way imaginable.



Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Featured Youtube Videos