‘The First Omen’ Trailer Promises Satanic Thrills as It Explores the Franchise’s Origins | Video

The prequel to Richard Donner’s 1976 horror classic starring Nell Tiger Free arrives in theaters next month

“The First Omen” is nearly here — and 20th Century Studios just released a creepy new trailer, which you can watch above.

A prequel to the 1976 Richard Donner-directed classic, “The First Omen” stars Nell Tiger Free (“Servant,” “Game of Thrones”) as an American in Rome who is working at an orphanage before becoming a full-on nun. It’s there that she uncovers a sinister plot to birth the antichrist. The film also stars Sônia Braga, Ralph Ineson, Bill Nighy, Tawfeek Barhom and Charles Dance, while Arkasha Stevenson directs.

The original “Omen,” which starred Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, is largely regarded as one of the greatest horror films of all time and spawned a surprisingly robust franchise. It followed a couple who begins to suspect that their young son Damien is actually the antichrist. It was defined not only by the stylish direction of Donner, but the unforgettable score by Jerry Goldsmith and a series of set pieces that would come to define the franchise, with people getting killed in seemingly innocuous but obviously preordained ways (In many ways, it served as the blueprint for the “Final Destination” films).

Two years after the original film, a sequel, “Damien: Omen II,” was released (it has one of the best scenes in the entire franchise, which involves a runaway elevator), with a third film, “Omen III: The Final Conflict,” coming in 1981. 10 years later, “Omen IV: The Awakening” was released as a TV movie on the nascent Fox network. In 2006, a nearly identical remake with Liev Schreiber in the Peck role and Julia Stiles in the Remick role was released (on 6/6/06, of course). The movie was so similar to the 1976 film that original screenwriter David Seltzer was given sole credit.

The franchise has also extended to television, with a failed pilot for a series in 1995 released as a TV movie (it was directed by the great, underrated Jack Sholder). In 2016, “Damien,” originally developed for Lifetime but eventually aired on A&E, ran for a single season. In the series, Damien, the supposed antichrist, is now a 30-year-old war photographer who begins to learn of his mysterious past. It was developed by Glen Mazzara of “The Walking Dead” fame, but didn’t gain much traction.

“The First Omen” was created by some of folks behind the recent “Hellraiser” remake, which is a good – wait for it – omen. With any luck, it’ll return the franchise to its former glory.

“The First Omen” opens in theaters on April 5.


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