O.H.M.A.D. Day 17: Damien: The Omen II (1978)

damien

Damien: The Omen II continues the diabolical tale of Damien Thorn, the infant introduced in The Omen who is destined to be the anti-christ.  After the death of his adaptive father in The Omen, Damien has spent his formative years living with his uncle Richard (William Holden, The Wild Bunch).  Now as an adolescent, opposing forces are fighting over Damien’s destiny. 

Damien:  The Omen II is an interesting spin on a coming of age film.  The story makes Damien sympathetic as he has no idea of his destiny and tries to do his best to rebel against it.  Because of this, The Omen II also works as a tragedy in addition to horror as we watch Damien’s humanity succumb to his predestination.

damien2Enrolled in a military academy, Damien is watched over by Satanists who are grooming him as he approaches his destiny to become President of the United States. The greatest opposition to their goals comes from Damien’s cousin, Mark.  Growing up in his uncle’s home has brought Damien and Mark up to be best friends and brothers more than cousins.  When Mark finds out who Damien is, it causes a rift between the two.  Mark refuses to sell his soul to the Dark Lord and Damien ends up having to kill him.  It’s a bitter victory that leaves Damien shaken.  Actor Johnathan Scott-Taylor is asked to do a lot in the role of Damien, and for the most part does a solid job.  Having to walk the line between sinister and sympathetic is a weird dichotomy, especially for the anti-christ.  This humanization is an interesting way to tell the story, and almost makes Damien into more of an anti-hero before his eventual descent into full on villain (and John Edwards lookalike) in The Final Conflict.

damien-omen-ii-movie-2The schlocky horror aspect is still very much at play however, as people are picked off in very satisfying ways by malevolent and invisible forces that bring death in scenes that had to have had heavily influenced the Final Destination films.  There is also a scene similar to Hitchcock’s The Birds that was orchestrated by Ray Berwick, who also worked on the scenes of terror in the before-mentioned film.  There isn’t much more I can say about the film, other than it’s one I’ve always liked.

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