Jeff Labrecque
June 23, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Why you should rent the original ”The Omen”

With a faithful (read: unnecessary) remake now in theaters, we recommend locking the door and hunkering down with the original’s Collector’s Edition (R, 111 mins., 1976), which boasts all the old schlock?and lots of new extras.

THE DEVIL MADE HIM DO IT In 1976, the image of a bloodied Gregory Peck — Atticus Finch, for chrissake! — dragging his screeching son up to a church altar for sacrifice transfixed audiences. The story of a diplomat who discovers that his adopted child, Damien, is really the Antichrist followed the demonic blueprint of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist to more than $60 million at the domestic box office.

REDEMPTION Director Richard Donner’s dance with the devil may be neither Rosemary‘s equal as a psychological drama nor The Exorcist‘s as a supernatural thriller. Still, disciples will worship the new DVD, which includes two marathon documentaries, sit-downs with composer Jerry Goldsmith and writer David Seltzer, and all-star contributions from Wes Craven and Brian Helgeland.

HELL HATH FURY, ALL RIGHT Producer Harvey Bernhard believes dark forces were working against The Omen. Ominous tales of plane crashes, car wrecks, and even man-eating lions during the film’s production pepper the ”Curse or Coincidence” featurette. And in ”Omen Legacy,” Donner recalls the Damien audition, when he invited 4-year-old Harvey Stephens (pictured, with Peck) to attack him — and the lad promptly nailed him in the privates. And nailed the part, too.

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