When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline.
Synopsis: Damien Thorn’s dad is the ultimate helicopter parent. An influential guy, his dad’s always been there, pulling strings to get him into the best schools and keep him on the path to success. Trouble is, Damien’s dad happens to be Satan. This explains why people who threaten or just annoy Damien have a tendency to die excruciating and mysterious deaths. In the second installment of the Omen series, 12-year-old Damien has been adopted by his wealthy (human) aunt and uncle. He enrolls in a military academy with his best friend and cousin, Mark. It’s here where Damien discovers his true bloodline, and must accept his diabolical fate.
Killer Scene: The kills in Omen II are numerous and varied, ranging from a simple heart attack to my absolute favorite – death by elevator. A doctor who’s run some revealing tests on Damien gets into an elevator, only to have it fall 23 stories, stunning and paralyzing him. Seconds later, he’s sliced in half by a wild elevator cable. Somebody better call OSHA.
Violence: Compared to say, a Fulci movie, the level of gore here is fairly light. But there’s enough to satisfy a casual gorehound. Some of the deaths could’ve been more graphic. When a guy gets squashed between two boxcars, you’d expect a much bigger mess. Perhaps because the previous film starred the uber classy Gregory Peck, the filmmakers felt the need to maintain a degree of restraint and decorum.
Sex: Pretty slim pickings on this front. There’s a parallel drawn between Damien’s aunt and the biblical Whore of Babylon. But she doesn’t engage in any whoredom onscreen. Damien is seen chatting it up with a trio of teenage girls, but he gets called away on other business before he can get busy. And there’s the perhaps unintended pun where Sgt. Neff, a drill instructor at the military academy, tells his cadets that they’re the “little unit” that he’s going polish to a shine.
Scares: There aren’t many jump-scares in this movie, by virtue of the fact that most of the deaths are telegraphed way in advance. The victim crosses Damien, Jerry Goldsmith’s spooky score kicks in and you watch the invisible hand of Beezlebub work its magic.
Final Thoughts: Damien: Omen II is a criminally overlooked classic. The first Omen is beloved by many, but I find the second movie’s plot more engaging. The worldwide conspiracy of Satanists helping Damien along is further revealed, there’s some corporate intrigue and Damien himself is a more fully realized character. Instead of just being a creepy, silent kid, he’s a witty and precocious adolescent tormented by a moral dilemma. Will he choose to live virtuously or will he give himself wholeheartedly to the forces of evil? I bet you can guess his answer.