Damien : Omen II

A gap of 2 years and we’d see the release of 1978’s Damien : Omen II a 1978 film that serves as the sequel to the classic original. Directed by Don Taylor the movie stars William Holden, Lee Grant, and Jonathan Scott-Taylor & produced by Harvey Bernhard. Made on a budget of $6.8 million the sequel is a bit more scarier than the first one. In this movie we see Damien able to use his powers but still innocently unaware of what he is.

A week has passed since the burial of Damien’s parents and archeologist Carl Bugenhagen is frantically driving through the old streets in Israel to meet his friend Michael Morgan and asks him to deliver a box to Richard Thorn, uncle and now guardian of young Damien. He reveals that Damien is the Antichrist and that the box contains a warning and the means to kill Damien. Bugenhagen takes an unconvinced Morgan to  the ruin of Yigael’s wall, showing him an ancient depiction of the Antichrist with Damien’s face. Morgan is on board now but the tunnel above them collapses burying the two of them alive. 7 years later we see a 12 year Damien living with his uncle Richard, cousin Mark & Richard’s second wife & Mark’s step mother Ann. The two boys, who get along well, do not like Richard’s aunt Marion, who favours Mark and despises Damien, aware of the fact that Robert tried to kill his son in a church. After the two boys go off to their military school, Marion even threatens 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.

Through mutual friend Dr. Charles Warren, journalist Joan Hart (Elizabeth Sheppard) gets a few minutes to talk to interview shy industrialist as Richard is driven to the airport. A friend of Keith Jennings from the first film she has conducted her own investigation into Damien’s life and has been to Israel and seen the boy’s depiction on the wall at the ruins. She tries in vain to convince Thorn who gets angry and has her dropped off on the side of the road. Joan then goes to talk to Ann but Warren is forced to ask her to leave as Thorn calls him and informs him of what their conversation was about. Suddenly unsure of herself, she drives to the military school and sees Damien playing football – his face scares her and she drives off but her cars stalls and she is attacked by the same big raven. Blinded she stumbles into the path of a speeding truck and is killed. Thorn Industries manager Paul Buher’s plans of taking the company into agriculture is s shelved by senior manager Bill Atherton (Lew Ayres), who calls Buher’s intention of buying up land in the process immoral.  At Mark’s birthday, Buher introduces himself to Damien, invites him to see the plant, and also speaks of his approaching initiation. Buher seemingly makes up with Atherton, who drowns after falling through the ice at a hockey game the following day. A shocked Richard leaves on vacation. As Richard agreed to the agriculture project in principle and left him in charge of the company, Buher then initiates the plans on his own.

At the military academy Sgt. Neff (Lance Henriksen), takes the boy under his wing and warns him not to draw any attention to himself until the right moment. Neff also points him to Revelation, chapter 13, in which Damien reads about the beast. Finding its number,  666, scarred onto his scalp, Damien flees the Academy grounds in a terrified panic, distraught at being chosen as the vehicle for Satan’s will. Meanwhile some Thorn industry employees are killed, by the plant’s machinery going haywire and toxic fumes being sent out, before they can alert Richard of the fact that some people are being murdered for refusing to sell their land to the project. Some students from Damien’s class who are visiting the plant for a tour are also hurt but Damien alone is unhurt. At the hospital, Damien is still taken for tests as a precaution and a doctor discovers that Damien’s blood cell structure resembles that of a jackal, but, before he can report it, he is cut in half by a falling elevator cable. The box that Bugenhagen meant to send to Thorn is discovered in the ruins and sent to the Thorn Museum where Warren finds the Seven Daggers of Megiddo, the only weapons able to kill Damien, along with a letter explaining that Damien is the Antichrist. Warren rushes to inform Richard, who angrily refuses to believe it and throws him out of the house. Mark hears the argument and goes to confront Damine, who proudly admits to being the Devil’s son. Damien tries to convince Mark that he truly cares for him as his brother and asks Mark to join him, but Mark refuses. Damien kills Mark by introducing an aneurysm into his brain. Almost immediately, Damien is overcome with grief and horror when he realizes that he killed Mark.

His son’s death having shaken him, Richard later meets with Warren and the two travel to the ruins where a  horrified Richard sees Damien’s image. Seconds later, a switching locomotive impales Charles and crushes him against the carriage, destroying the wall and convincing Richard beyond doubt that Damien is the Antichrist. On his return he has Damien picked up from his school and talks to Ann about the boy. Ann here reveals herself to have “always belonged to Damein” as she is the Biblical Whore of Babylon. She kills Richard with the daggers but is herself killed by flames caused by Damien. As the museum burns, Damien is taken home by the driver, smiling as he is now heir to Thorn Industries.

Although the film received mixed reviews, I find it to be better & scarier than the first. Also the gradual realization & acceptance of Damen of his role as the anti-christ is well done. And hey this movie would also inspire songwriter & bassist Steve Harris to pen the classic heavy metal anthem Number Of The Beast. Props for that too! 8 outta 10!

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