Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), directed by Graham Baker.

Aka The Final Conflict.

The previous film ended with the burning of the Field Museum in Chicago. Decades later a construction crew excavating beneath the ruins unearths the Seven Daggers of Meggido, which according to no one ever are the only way the Antichrist can be killed.

Damien Thorn is now rich, powerful and fully aware of his identity as the Son of Satan. He can speak openly with his close flunkies and commands a secret army of devotees: doctors, nurses, priests, boy scouts. He knows that Jesus will be soon be born again and is obsessed with finding and killing the infant "Nazarene".

Sam Neill is not a bad choice for the lead. He has that naughty little boy aspect that can be selfish and cruel. This was just after his breakout in My Brilliant Career (1981).

He can't save the ridiculous rants written for him by someone who didn't think about the words. He complains about life in "the flaccid bosom of Christ". Can a bosom be flaccid? Of birth as being "vomited from a wound". Without a stomach I don't think a wound can vomit.

Older Bible films were content with dancing girls. Here we have forcible sodomy. During hot sex he rolls her over and rams it up her backside. "Life is pain" is his response to her objections.

The director is curiously silent in the commentary track during this passage. Sam Neill and Lisa Harrow became a couple.

The plot structure is a shambles. The opponents of the Antichrist are incompetent assassin-priests. The infant Jesus subplot is a red herring and never even happens. The defeat of Damien is done through revenge and frenzied bloodlust, the same means as the satanists themselves use. Where are the Christian ends and means?

In the final moments the Second Coming of Christ is revealed in a Ben Hur (1959) climax, but this comes out of nowhere. Nothing in the film supports it.

Compare this with someone who knows how to craft a mythology with an integral moral vision. Tolkien's Middle Earth is saved because 80 years earlier Bilbo showed mercy when he first got the Ring from Gollum:


A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo’s heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering. All these thoughts passed in a flash of a second. He trembled. And then quite suddenly in another flash, as if lifted by a new strength and resolve, he leaped. -- The Hobbit


[Frodo speaking] ‘What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!’

[Gandalf] ‘Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. [...] My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many – yours not least. -- The Fellowship of the Ring


Available on Blu-ray. My disc is not the later Shout Factory version. It has one commentary track: sparse and somewhat dry reflections by the director.