The Duke On Damien – Omen II
Back in the 1970’s, a fella by the name of Richard Donner made a film regarding a child of supernatural origin, a child that had frightening powers, and who was the subject of an unsuccessful assassination attempt perpetrated by a leading politician.
That film was Superman, and it was quite well regarded.
But he made another film which followed the same plot, give or take a decapitation or two, or a jackal here and there. That film was known as The Omen Part I – My Son, The Antichrist. It was incredibly successful, and so in 1978, Omen II – I Was A Teenage Antichrist was released, directed not by Donner, but by TV-Veteran Don Taylor.
Sadly, it didn’t live up to its predecessor, but was still far from an embarrassment to the Omen franchise. That embarrassment would arrive a few years later, in the form of Omen IV, as prophesised in The Book Of Forbidden Sequels;
“And Lo, From the world of television,
Will arise a fourth where there should only be three,
And a little girl will be an evil motherfucker,
But will be defeated by crushing mediocrity.”
The Omen succeeded on a number of levels, and very few of them had anything to do with the old scary-type shenanigans. For one thing, it was more a detective story than a horror film, focussing mainly on the efforts of Gregory Peck and David Warner as they trekked across Europe in order to find out if Peck’s adopted youngster, Damien, is indeed The Devil and so on.
Also, Donner’s film enjoyed indulging in a bit of the old intellectual tomfoolery. There were serious questions at stake, like how sure one needs to be that Satan himself has manifested via your son, before you start flinging knives about, even if they do have very impressive crucifixes on the end.
Like the old puzzler about how if you could go back in time, would you shoot Hitler’s great grandmother? All that theological and speculative hoo-hah.
In addition to all this, even though the character’s harped on about the New Testament Book Of Relaxation or some such, the writer’s realised fairly quickly that The Bible said very little about this whole antichrist malarkey, and that most of it was either metaphor or poetic wordplay. Thus, they invented their own little shanty, about The Jews Returning To Zion and so on, and just pretended it was in the Bible. Maybe in that Apocrypha that the Catholics are so fond of.
So Peck goes a bit mad and tries to off the child with some elaborate cutlery. Funny how most of these folks what might agree with Mr. Peck are also Pro-Life and all that. A child has a right to life, and so on. Unless he’s the Antichrist, of course. That goes without saying.
Anyhow, this Omen II – I Was A Teenage Antichrist doesn’t bother with much of the globe-trotting or detecting or any of that malarkey, and instead concerns itself with a bit of the old political intrigue and conspiracies and something to do with an archaeology expedition and some graffiti.
Gregory Peck’s character was killed at the end of the first one, and died as a result, and so instead we get this William Holden cat, himself no stranger to old Diablo, having hitherto starred in not only The Devil’s Brigade, but also Satan Never Sleeps. You’d think with all this history in demonology he wouldn’t have a bit of trouble identifying this Damien youngster as The Son Of Satan What Will Kill The World, but no, it takes folks being cut in half with elevator cables and other folks being rammed with trains before he catches on.
Lance Hendrickson, so memorable in Almost Dark and Alien Part 2 – The Pluralizing, here shows up as a shady military type who seems to know all about Damien’s goat-headed ancestry. Other folks seem to know all about it too, and tell Damien that now he’s hit puberty, it’s time to put away childish things and all that stuff. You’d imagine this meant he was going to start listening to Nick Drake and reading books about Collective Apathy, but no, instead he gets all uppity and starts killing folks what refuse to bow down to his maniacal notions.
And really, why shouldn’t he?
As Penn And Teller recently pointed out in their ever-delightful Bullshit!, if God has said that these things are to happen and an antichrist is to rise and so on and so forth, then who the hell are you to try and fuck up his plans? That’s the kinda thinkin’ what leads to folks gettin’ hit by trucks on account of crow’s picking their eyes out.
The old crows show up quite a bit in the first half, actually, but seem to bugger off completely around the 40 minute mark. Maybe they went off to resurrect Brandon Lee. What’s the deal with crows anyway? Why are they so evil all of a sudden? Maybe it’s on account of God showing himself here and there as a white dove, and so obviously the Antichrist would be the opposite of that. A very black crow you would imagine.
By that reckoning Dumbo was the fucking antiest Christ you ever seen.
Walt Disney you motherfucker.
This here Omen Part 2 is one of the better antichrist flicks, although to be honest, there’s not that many of them that offer any serious competition. The death scenes, with the exception of an especially unpleasant drowning in a frozen lake, are fairly unspectacular. The dialogue sounds like the actors mistakenly read the stage directions. Everybody goes on about “So and so just entered the building” and “such and such has just been killed”. What we need is one of them to talk about the cultural influence of The Exorcist, but no-one even mentions it.
If nothing else, though, Omen Part 2 adds conclusive evidence in support of The Duke’s hypothesis that children are evil murdering motherfuckers, and my campaign to raise the age of birth continues apace.
Thanks for the support, Satan and so on.
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