Damien: Omen II (1978)

damien omen ii poster 1978 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Creative deaths

Someone suspects Damien, dies...repeat over & over

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Damien:  Omen II

Studio:  20th Century Fox/Harvey Bernhard Productions/Mace Neufeld Productions

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  June 5, 1978 (Premiere)/June 9, 1978 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

damien omen ii william holden jonathan scott taylor lucas donat

It always gets awkward when Damien brings up “Remember when my dad tried to kill me?”

Damien Thorn (Jonathan Scott-Taylor) is growing up and beginning to learn of his birthright.  Under the care of his uncle Richard Thorn (William Holden) and his wife Ann (Lee Grant), Damien and his cousin Mark (Lucas Donat) are attending a prestigious military school and getting the best education.  As Damien learns the truth about himself from those sent to protect him, others are discovering the terror that has arrived with his birth.  As the deaths begin to mount, Richard starts to understand what his nephew is…but can he stop the horror before the son of the Devil is too powerful?

Directed by Don Taylor, Damien:  Omen II is the follow-up to hit horror film The Omen of 1976.  Richard Donner was originally replaced by Mike Hodges, but then Hodges was replaced by Don Taylor (but some of Hodges scenes still remained in the final cut).  The film was met with mixed reviews and much less favorable than the original.

damien omen eyes pecked out

A “come to Jesus” moment…or at least “come to semi”

After the success of The Omen, it seemed pretty obvious that a sequel would develop, especially with the opening ending.  Damien:  Omen II doesn’t have the smarts of the first Omen film, but holds a soft spot in my horror memories due to seeing it pretty early (and freaking me out).

The story of Damien:  Omen II isn’t very interesting.  The movie basically involves three steps.  1st—Someone finding out that Damien is the Devil’s son.  2nd—That person trying to stop Damien or warn Thorn.  3rd—The person dying a horrible death or being killed by one of Damien’s followers.  It almost becomes pointless and repetitive because the evil’s power is so reaching that it seems rather helpless.  I never felt that Thorn had a chance.

damien omen ii lew ayres death river drowning ice

…and now I’m forever scarred about falling through ice

The original film writer David Seltzer abandoned the series (but said if he had written a sequel that it would be set immediately after the first film).  The only interesting writing aspect of this film is that Damien learns his true powers and chooses to follow a dark path instead of a good path.  It becomes a story of choice or destiny.

With almost everyone in the first film dying, all new characters (besides Damien) had to be created.  William Holden and Lee Grant as Damien’s new adopted parents are good and the new Damien Thorn, Jonathan Scott-Taylor, is also quite strong.  The movie has a young Lance Henriksen as one of Damien’s followers and M*A*S*H shrink Allan Arbus as a victim.  The movie marks the first film role for Meshach Taylor as a victim of an elevator accident and the last film role of Lew Ayres as the unfortunate drowning victim.

damien omen ii elevator death meshach taylor

Meshach Taylor with the best “I’m dead” face

The Omen films are really about crazy deaths.  Here we have bird eating the eyes of women, people being buried alive, and runaway elevators that cut people in half.  What scared me as a kid was the scene where Lew Ayres died.  He falls through the ice on the river and can see everyone just inches away but still drowns.  I hadn’t thought about dying like this before the movie, and now it terrifies me.

Damien:  Omen II isn’t very good, but I do still like it since I liked it as a kid.  It still has a nice creepy factor to it, and Jonathan Scott-Taylor helps with an occasionally sympathetic Damien as he completes his path to the dark side.  The movie (despite being reviewed much lower) still was a success and was followed by Omen III:  The Final Conflict in 1981 with Sam Neill as Damien Thorn.

Related Links:

The Omen (1976)

Omen III:  The Final Conflict (1981)

Omen IV:  The Awakening (1991)

The Omen (2006)


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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