I sometimes enjoy annoying 'serious filmgoers' by trying to convince them that American Beauty is not as good a film as American Pie. The fact is, I actually believe that. But if you really want to get them, tell them this film is better than The Exorcist. They'll go bananas - but it's true!
I agree that The Exorcist came first, but this is a vast improvement. The best thing about The Exorcist was the sound. That says it all really. It succeeded because, at the time, people thought that being posessed by The Devil was fair enough. In today's more secular age, where even the buses tell you there's probably no God (much less The Devil), it's hard not to find The Exorcist incredibly boring, slow-moving and frequently unintentionally funny. The fact that it has been parodied so often doesn't help either.
The Omen, on the other hand, like Magic and The Medusa Touch which came out at around the same time, builds wonderfully and rests on the performance of the troubled male lead. Is Gregory Peck going mad? Could his son REALLY be The Devil?
Well, of course he is, but from the first hints that this may be so until the penny finally drops (too late), it's a splendidly tense ride - enjoyably so. The sequence where Patrick Troughton's priest meets his end at the hands of a lightning conductor is one of the best in any horror film. Whenever I go to a Fulham match and walk past that church and through Bishop's Park, I get a delightful shiver recalling this film.
Talking of which, avoid the remake at all cost! The script is virtually identical but the London locations which work so well here are missing. They shot it more cheaply in the Czech Republic but pretended it was London. They didn't fool anyone - the shop fronts are clearly all Czech!
This original is one of the best horror films of all time.