DAMIEN: OMEN II (1978) Reviews and overview

 

Damien: Omen II, is a 1978 American horror film directed by Don Taylor and [uncredited] Mike Hodges from a screenplay by Stanley Mann, Mike Hodges (Black Rainbow) and producer Harvey Bernhard.

The movie stars William Holden, Lee Grant, Jonathan Scott-Taylor and Robert Foxworth.

The film was the second instalment in The Omen series, set seven years after the first film, and was followed by a third instalment, Omen III: The Final Conflict, in 1981.

Plot:

A week after the burial of Robert and Katherine Thorn, archaeologist Carl Bugenhagen (Leo McKern) asks his friend Michael Morgan (Ian Hendry) to deliver a box to the guardian of Thorn’s young son, Damien. He reveals that Damien is the Antichrist and that the box contains a warning and the means to kill Damien.

As Morgan is unconvinced, Bugenhagen takes him to the ruin of Yigael’s wall, showing him an ancient depiction of the Antichrist with Damien’s face. Morgan is now convinced, but the two are buried alive as a tunnel collapses.

damien-omen-ii-french-poster

Seven years later, twelve-year-old Damien (Jonathan Scott-Taylor) is living with his uncle, industrialist Richard Thorn (William Holden) and his wife, Ann (Lee Grant). He gets along well with his cousin Mark (Lucas Donat), Richard’s son, with whom he is enrolled in a military academy.

However, he is despised by Aunt Marion (Sylvia Sidney), who favours Mark and thinks Damien a bad influence, even threatening to cut Richard out of her will if he does not separate the two boys. The same night, the appearance of a raven wakes her and causes a fatal heart attack…

Reviews:

“With very little suspense and even less true horror, the only thing left to recommend the film is its venerable cast, which includes William Holden, Lee Grant, Lance Henriksen, Allan Arbus, Sylvia Sidney, and a delightfully-unhinged Leo McKern […] As the second chapter in the saga of the Antichrist, however, Damien: The Omen II deepens the story without ever giving any real weight to it.” Battleship Pretension

“The most interesting thing about this movie is that it tries to set up a situation in which Damien is supposedly unaware of his true identity or destiny; unfortunately, these scenes are some of the most unconvincing in the movie, and they’re hard to swallow when he spends so much time glowering evilly on those who are fated to die in elaborately bizarre ways. Ultimately, despite the fact that Damien is several years older, this movie really does little else but repeat the previous movie.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“First-rate acting, terrific special effects, a rousing score, and inventive deaths (most notably the great ‘death by black crow off the road’ sequence) make this a winner. Scott-Taylor is efficiently creepy as Damien, stoic, emotionless and evoking a nicely dark, nuanced mood.” The Terror Trap

Cast and characters:

William Holden … Richard Thorn
Lee Grant … Ann Thorn
Jonathan Scott-Taylor … Damien Thorn
Robert Foxworth … Paul Buher
Nicholas Pryor … Charles Warren
Lew Ayres … Bill Atherton
Sylvia Sidney … Aunt Marion
Lance Henriksen … Sergeant Neff
Elizabeth Shepherd … Joan Hart
Lucas Donat … Mark Thorn
Allan Arbus … Pasarian (as Alan Arbus)
Fritz Ford … Murray
Meshach Taylor … Dr Kane
John J. Newcombe … Teddy
John Charles Burns … Butler
Paul Cook … Colonel
Diane Daniels … Jane
Robert E. Ingham … Teacher
William B. Fosser … Minister
Corney Morgan … Greenhouse Technician
Russell P. Delia … Truck Driver
Judith Dowd … Maid
Thomas O. Erhart Jr. … Sergeant #1
Sorin Serene Pricopie … Pasarian’s Assistant (as Sorin Pricopie)
Robert J. Jones Jr. … Tour Guide
Rusdi Lane … Jim Gardner
Charles Mountain … Burial Priest
Cornelia Sanders … Young Girl
Felix Shuman … Dr Fiedler
James Spinks … Technician #1
Owen Sullivan … Byron
William J. Whelehan … Security Guard
Ian Hendry … Michael (uncredited)
Gus Kaprales … Limo Driver (uncredited)
Leo McKern … Carl Bugenhagen (uncredited)

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