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Damien: Omen II (1978) Poster

Trivia

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William Holden was the original choice to star in the first film, The Omen (1976), but turned it down as he did not want to star in a picture about the devil. Gregory Peck was selected as his replacement. "The Omen" went on to become a huge hit and Holden made sure he did not turn down the part in this sequel.
William Holden's only horror film.
When Harvey Bernhard had finished writing the script and was given the green light to start the production, the first person he contacted was Jerry Goldsmith because of the composer's busy schedule. Bernhard also felt that Goldsmith's music for The Omen (1976) was the highest point of that movie, and that without Goldsmith's music this sequel would never be successful.
Richard Donner was supposed to return as director, but he was busy with Superman (1978)
Lee Grant had been a big fan of The Omen (1976) and enthusiastically jumped at the chance to appear in the sequel.
Don Taylor replaced director Mike Hodges as a result of creative differences. However, the few scenes Hodges directed were kept, like the scenes at the factory and at the military school, and also the dinner where Aunt Marion shows her concern about Damien.
There had been plans to film a third Omen movie starring Jonathan Scott-Taylor in 1979. However it was canceled after this film did less well than expected at the box office.
Iron Maiden's Steve Harris was inspired to make the song "The Number of the Beast" after getting a nightmare from watching Damien: Omen II.
David Seltzer was approached to write the screenplay but refused as he had no interest in writing sequels. Years later, he commented that if he had written it, he would have set it the day after the first The Omen (1976) film ended, with Damien living in the White House.
The film's budget was $5.2 million, twice that of The Omen (1976).
The Thorn Mansion is the Lake Forest Academy (formerly the Armour Estate) in Lake Forest, Illinois. All exteriors had to be shot in the back garden of the academy/estate because the school had erected a very modern structure in front of the old estate.
The cadets at the military academy were real students at the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin military academy the film was shooting at.
The skating scene was filmed on Catfish Lake in Eagle River, Wisconsin using local children as the skaters. The local paramedics were standing by in case any of the children fell through the ice.
The final cinema film of Lew Ayres.
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Film debut of Meshach Taylor
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At 59 William Holden was only eight years younger than Sylvia Sidney who played Aunt Marion.
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Much of the film takes place at Davidson Military Academy which was started by the fictitious Harlan Page Davidson. The appellation "David's Son" is frequently used in the Bible to denote Jesus Christ, Damien's polar opposite.
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Director Don Taylor was a former actor and had indeed acted alongside his good friend William Holden in Stalag 17 (1953).
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"Davidson Military Academy" is really Northwestern Military and Naval Academy in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and has the same insignia. This school merged with St. John's Military Academy in 1995 to be St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin.
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Lee Grant was blacklisted by Senator McCarthy and the House for Unamerican Activities and didn't work for years. Then according to her autobiography, "I Said Yes To Everything" she purposely took as many b movie type jobs to get back into the swing of things, which is why this academy award winning actress accepted the Anne Thorn role in Damien Omen 2.
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Holden had been approached to play Robert Thorn in Omen I but he turned Donner down.
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Allen Arbus, who plays one of the Thorn Industry employees who gets asphyxiated by fumes at the plant, was also the recurring character Sidney Friedman on MASH when this film was released ( 1978).
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Joan Hart's murder by a vicious eye-pecking raven was an homage to Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds"
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Lucas Donat who played Mark was The Waltons' Michael Learned's son
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Lance Henrickson has a tendency to play military characters in action type movies and horror movies : He played Damien's drill sergeant at the academy, Sergeant Neff, in Damien Omen 2. He would star in a number of James Cameron movies also playing military characters, including The Terminator, where he played Seargent Vukovich and in Aliens he played Executive Officer Bishop the droid.
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The scene that's supposed to take place in New York is still actually Chicago, just like the rest of the movie.
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Jonathan Taylor Scott appeared in Bugsy Malone (1976) before this, with Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. After that he appeared in a string of movies, and then retired from acting all together. Now he's an attorney.
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Damien in Omen 1 and 2 is played by British actors, in part 3 he's played by an Australian.
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Mesach Taylor is the only African American character in any of the Omen movies
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The dissapointing box office returns from this movie, and the failure of Exorcist 2 and Holocaust 2000 signalled the end of Hollywood's 70s demon child fad. Though demon child movies still get made from time to time the fad would never again be at its zenith as it was in the 70s. The dominant trend, starting with 1978s release of Halloween, was now slasher movies.
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Damien's animal sidekick/helper in this movie is a raven. In part I and III it's a Rottweiler.
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The theme song is a very fast paced version of the Oscar winning "Ave Santani", the theme song from the original.
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Amazingly, just 7 years after she appeared in this movie Lee Grant would be offered Dorothy Zbornak in The Golden Girls. She turned it down because she said she was too young to play anyone's Grandma.
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Why don't Christ, God, and the powers of good react against these demonic attacks? If the Devil is killing all these people, and these people are praying for help, many of them, why doesn't he help them?
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According to the novelization and the Wikipedia the raven is actually Damien's subconscious. The murders it carries out are the actions of Damien's ID.
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Damien doesn't seem to physically kill anyone in this movie. We see a series of bizarre accidents which kill off the devil's enemies, and this seems to be engineered by the Devil himself, or demonic forces, not Damien. Only at the ending, when the room at the museum blows up and Anne gets incinerated shouting "Damien!", and when Mark has his aneurism, do we suspect foul play.
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When Damien screams after killing Mark you can see his dental work. If the son of the Devil "never gets sick", and is invulnerable to any kind of bacteria, bug or physical malady, (as they keep saying in these movies), why is he getting cavites?
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If Damien can induce an aneurism like he does to kill Mark, why does he knock his mother off the balcony in Part I? And why does Mrs. Baylock throw Kathy out of the hospital window, if they can just induce an aneurism, or a heart attack, like with Aunt Marion in Part 2? Why don't they just induce a heart attack with the nanny who hangs herself in Part 1? Why don't they just induce a heart attack with Robert at the end of Part 1, rather than having Mrs. Baylock brutally attack him (which doesn't work anyway). Why don't they induce heart attacks with all the babies in Part 3? Why don't they just induce anuerisms or heart attacks with all the victims, as opposed to all the violent executions that take place? And all these crazy Rube Goldberg/Final Destination type accidents? Wouldn't killing them all with a heart attack have been a smarter, subtler, less attention-grabbing way of dispatching the enemies? Rather than bifurcating them with rogue elevator cables, decapitating them with plane glass windows slipped out from the back of a truck, violently throwing them off buildings, blowing them up in hotel rooms, pecking their eyes out and smashing them in the face with irons?
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The ending was shot at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
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Though Scotty Bowers does mention William Holden a few times in his autobiography "Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars", he just talks about him as a platonic friend and drinking buddy. (Many other Hollywood stars get outted as clients and Johns in this book, though). Bill Holden's affair with Audrey Hepburn while on the set of Sabrina is also detailed in the Hollywood bio "Audrey and Bill" by Edward Epstein.
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After setting The Museum of Science and Industry ablaze, killing his aunt, Damien turns and marches back to the limousine and smiles maliciously and knowingly at the chauffeur, Murray. This is the same limo driver we saw Damien and Mark palling around with at the beginning, trading jokes about Aunt Marion, asking him for cigarettes, etc. Does the chauffeur know? Is Murray in on the conspiracy? We're not sure. But given the smirk Damien extends to him that seems to be the case.
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Aunt Marion confronts Richard about Damien. She says her brother tried to kill him, and she says he's a bad influence, but she never actually says he's the Anti-Christ. Does she know? It doesn't appear to be the case, or she would have explicitly brought this up. (She brings up everything else in a very brash and unpleasant way). But she does have a vaguely bad feeling though, which is threatening enough to Damien and his kin to send their deadly raven into her room and kill her.
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Although Aunt Marion is an unpleasant character everything she says is correct. Her hostility to Damien is totally understandable and justifiable. Even her hostility to Anne is, in retrospect, given what we learn about Anne at the ending, completely justifiable. Does Marion know Anne's in on the conspiracy? Probably not completely. But she senses something's wrong about her, and her instincts are right on, as they were with Damien. Marion's attitude towards Anne can also be seen as a clue that sets up the shock twist at the ending.
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Mike Hodges the original director was fired; he was replaced by Don Taylor.
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Lance Hendrickson (Sergeant Neff) did not get along with Don Taylor and found the shoot very miserable as a result. (He was hired by the original director Mike Hodges who got fired).
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Lance Henricksen ( Sergeant Neff) didn't like the final film at all, and he said it didn't help his career much either.
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Why does Damien wait 7 years to strike again?
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Mark's voice has changed but Damien's hasn't. They're clearly at different stages of puberty. But Damien's presented as the ominous, threatening one, not Mark.
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Lance Henrickson (Sergeant Neff) played another sergeant in The Terminator, Sergeant Half Vukovich, and he played an android that was in the military as well in Aliens, Bishop.
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Why is Paul Buher introducing all these ambitious new business plans for Thorn Industries when he knows that Damien will take over soon and try to destroy the world?
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A heavy drinker most of his life, Holden descended into alcoholism in the 60s and the 70s when this movie was made.
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William Holden was a Republican, rare in Hollywood
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William Holden appeared as 25th on the American Film Institute's list of 25 greatest male stars of classic Hollywood Cinema
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William Holden was best man in Ronald Reagan's marriage to Nancy.
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On November 12th, 1981, three years after this movie came out, Holden slipped and fell in his home, lacerating his head on a teak bedside table, and bled to death. It is estimated he may have been conscious up to a half an hour after the accident happened, and his body was discovered 4 days later.
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The beginning of the movie where Damien seems all innocent, and then Sergeant Neff tells him he's the Anti-Christ, and then suddenly he becomes all vicious and homicidal, doesn't make sense. So learning you're the Anti-Christ makes you evil? And if he hadn't learned that information he would have turned out good? Why doesn't he just forget it? Or ignore it? The character would have been stronger if they had provided him with stronger motivation; i.e. he's angry and hurt that his father was thrown out of heaven; he resented his adoptive parents for trying to kill him before he knew what was going on; he started to realize how powerful he was and got drunk on the power; or maybe all of the above. But just learning you're supposed to be evil isn't enough to make you evil.
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Didn't Damien notice the 666 formation on his head before age 13?
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Didn't Damien notice his own supernatural powers? That he never got sick? That he had telekinetic powers?
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Teddy, the bully who antogonizes Damien into using his telekinetic powers, is Damien's first victim. Up to that point all of the killing had been done by Damien's acolytes and the Devil himself. After that point it's mostly Damien.
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Why don't the other boys react in any way when Damien starts to telekinetically attack Teddy? They don't even seem shocked! And the only one who seems to remember it is Mark, who, inexplicably, never tells his parents.
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It's odd that Anne is so affectionate to Mark when she's in on the Satanic Cabal and knows that Mark has to be sacrificed. That was all an act? For 13 years?
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Why doesn't Anne kill Richard at the beginning, if she's part of the conspiracy? Why does she wait till Richard finds the daggers? Why doesn't she kill Mark? And why does she shout "Damien" in such an over the top, passionate, frenzied way at the end? Who is she talking to? And what purpose does that serve other than making her freakishly strange and even more villainous to the audience?
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William Holden and Gregory Peck were about the same age but William Holden died in 1981 and Gregory Peck died in 2003. (Holden probably died young due in part to an accident that was brought on by his alcoholism).
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Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, William Holden and Lee Grant have all been nominated for Oscars; only Lee Remick hasn't won one.
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Couldn't Damien have saved Bill Atherton from drowning since he's telekinetic? This ice rink scene is after the telekinetic showdown with Teddy, and before Damien saw the 666 on his forehead, so he knew he had special powers at that point and had no allegiance to the dark side. And he watched him drown in a sad, concerned fashion. Why didn't he just save him?
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Maybe playing ice hockey like that on a frozen lake wasn't the smartest thing in the world to do, with or without the anti-christ!
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Lew Ayres (Bill Atherton) played Mary's date and Murray's dad on an episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show the year before.
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If Anne's in on the Satanic Cabal, and if Paul's in on the Satanic Cabal, why don't they communicate that to eachother? How come when they see each other they act like pleasant and banal acquaintances, unaware that the other is a Satanist?
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It's hard to believe that Jerry Goldsmith wrote this score and the score to Poltergeist! The two are as different as night and day!
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Damien could have just telekinetically destroyed his blood sample so that it couldn't be studied, or telekinetically substituted his blood sample with someone else's. He didn't have to bifurcate Dr. Kane ( Mesach Taylor) like that. And if he's going to be this psychotic and overeactive about his own little security leaks, how great of a president is he going to be? Don't presidents have to deal with security leaks all the time?
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If Damien is so impervious to human pain; so invulnerable to disease or damage or any kind of malady as they keep saying in these movies, if the only thing that can stop him are the daggers, then why does he flip out when they're driving to the church in part 1? Obviously churches cause him some sourt of pain. Also why don't you see him flip out at the end of part 1 when they're at the funeral? Aren't funerals usually in and around churches? Why doesn't he flip out at all at the beginning of part 2? What has he seen an Anti-Christ whisperer? Or gone to obedience school, or a Scared Straight program or something?
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Who are those two girls Damien has on his arms at the dance? Are they his girlfriends? Why does Damien not seem to be into girls the rest of the time? He's supposed to be a "normal" healthy boy at the beginning, but no conversations about women? Is he gay? He doesn't seem to have boyfriends either, or any romantic inclinations. Not typical for a teenager.
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Damien's supposed to be this handsome, popular student at the academy. In this and the other Omen movies he's supposed to be this really charismatic person, a natural people-person and a demagogue, always growing his ranks and attracting followers without trying. But he looks creepy, (pale and zombie like), and acts sinister, even getting violent in public on several occasions, in all three movies. People like that aren't popular, they're outcasts.
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If Damien hates churches and everything Christian, to the point where he beats up his Mom in part 1 so that he won't have to go to a church wedding, why does he take to the Bible in part 2 so quickly and readily when Sergeant Neff tells him to read his Book of Revelations? You'd think a Bible would make him flinch or something.
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Neither Harvey Stephens nor Jonathan Scott- Taylor continued acting into adulthood. (Whereas Linda Blair did continue into adolescence and young adulthood, still making cameos here and there. She makes one in the movie Scream as a reporter).
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Why doesn't Damien ever talk about missing his parents at the beginning of Part 2? If he' s supposed to be " normal" at this point? Wouldn't he miss his Mom and Dad who just died a few years before?
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Leo McKern reprises his role as Carl Bugenhagen the archeologist and exorcist who was featured in part 1, in part 2. He is the only actor that is in more than one installment of the Omen series.
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Ironically, Silvia Sidney, who played Aunt Marion, outlived William Holden by almost 20 years: Holden died in 1981, shortly after this movie came out, from a tragic accident where he tripped and hit his head on an end table in his room. (Rumor has it his heavy drinking contributed to his accident and early death). Conversely, Silvia Sydney died in 1999 from natural causes.
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Richard (William Holden) is extremely stupid not to pick up on the truth about Damien after three people warn him that he's the anti-christ, and after his brother Robert also dies trying to kill his son. He should have put two and two together.
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The raven kills three people in this movie.
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It seems pretty outrageous that the satanists would kill Bill just because he disagrees with their business plans. If the satanists are so well-connected they could have just arranged for a transfer or something. It also seems outrageous that Damien would try to kill Teddy just because he's teasing him about being a Thorn.
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It's not clear why there's all these Satanists surfacing at Thorn Companies. Robert was not a Satanist. Damien will not take control for another ten years or so, so it's a while before they will be able to control the company.
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Lee Grant followed this up with Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen, which she describes as "awful".
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This is actually Lee Grant's second thriller in 1978; the first was Irwin Allen's "The Swarm".
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William Holden and Lee Grant both starred in Irwin Allen disaster movies before this: William Holden in Towering Inferno, and Lee Grant in The Swarm.
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Richard must be mad at himself for remarrying during that final scene in the museum!
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It's not clear why Damien kills Ann at the ending simply for knowing his identity since Seargent Neff and Paul Buher both know his identity and he does not kill them.
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Even though the original "Omen'' star Gregory Peck and "Damien: Omen II" star William Holden never acted together, they still portrayed brothers in "The Omen" series.
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This is the movie the new Damien series is based on
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Lee Grant's daughter Dinah Manoff was starring in the #1 movie in the country for the year when Damien Omen 2 came out: Grease.
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Even though the events in Omen 2 are 8 years after the events in Omen 1 it's clearly only 2 years later
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This movie did respectabley at the box office and got mediocre reviews; it was a bit of a letdown for 20th Century Fox that was trying to build a franchise on the shoulders of Omen 1, which was a huge critical and box office success. But the disappointment suffered by the studio here was not as intense as what Warner Brothers felt when it released Exorcist 2, one of the biggest bombs of all time. Omen 2 was a hit by comparison. It's no wonder that 20th Century Fox would release it's next Omen movie, The Final Conflict, just 3 years later in 1981, while Warner Brothers would not release another Exorcist movie for 13 years till 1990, still smarting from the failure of Exorcist 2.
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Why does Mark confront Damien about his identity when he already knows Damien can kill people telepathically? Wouldn't it have been smarter to tell his parents first?
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If Damien has the cell structure and the blood of a jackal, wouldn't doctors have picked up on this sooner than this? (Sooner than age 13?). Particularly since they've already figured out he's invulnerable and never gets sick, wouldn't this whole thing have come to a head a lot sooner?
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Why does Richard want Damien to be brought to a museum when he needs to be killed at an altar at a church? (According to Bugenhagen in the first movie).
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If Anne was in on the conspiracy, why didn't she tell Damien? All of Damien's other followers who were in on it told him; Mrs. Baylock/Billie Whitelaw, Sergeant Neff/Lance Hendrickson and Paul Buher/Robert Foxworth. Why would they all tell him but not her?
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Richard doesn't seem very sad when Mark gets killed. Only slightly nonplused. Is it bad acting, bad character development, or just old school stoic machismo on William Holden's part? Never let the audience see you cry if you're a matinee idol always trying to be tough, never vulnerable? Wouldn't this still be a point in the movie where Holden should have cried? Because Ann seems sadder about it, and she was in on the conspiracy! Damien even seems sadder about it, (he cries), and he killed Mark!
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Didn't Robert communicate to his brother Richard about what was happening to him during Omen I? About his adoptive son? And his wife? And his family being under attack?
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Why was there no mention of Richard in Omen I? Richard never comes to any of Damien's birthday parties. He doesn't call to wish Damien happy birthday or check in on the family. When Kathy is hospitalized and almost dies, falling off a ledge, Richard doesn't call, doesn't visit, doesn't check in, doesn't do anything. Robert doesn't call him after he gets viciously attacked by a pack of hellhound Rottweilers and almost dies. We don't see Richard at the end of Omen I either, at Robert's funeral. And Damien is seen holding the president's hand at the ending, not Richard's. So we're led to believe the president adopts him. Although he doesn't of course, according to Omen 2 anyway, Richard does. And if Richard was running Thorn Industries while Robert was an Ambassador, wouldn't the two have regular communication with each other? Why does Richard seem to learn everything about his brother and Damien through the newspaper and not through his brother? Were they estranged? Did they hate eachother? When Ann says Robert was crazy, why doesn't Richard defend him? Richard himself says Robert was crazy a couple times. Why is he so dismissive and disrepectful towards Robert, his own flesh and blood, and yet he is ridiculously protective of Damien right up until the ending, even after he's heard the accusations about Damien and it's pretty clear he killed Mark, he still protects him. It doesn't make sense. Everything about these movies makes it seem like Richard was an afterthought, conveniently dropped into the second movie to move the plot along, but it's pretty clear David Seltzer did not envision Robert having a brother when he wrote Omen I.
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Why does Anne act surprised and shocked when she finds Marion dead, when she was in on the conspiracy in the first place? She should have known that was coming.
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The leading ladies in the first two movies were both named Lee; Remick and Grant.
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Damien has an English accent in Omen 1 and 2, but not part 3, which also takes place in London ironically enough.
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Mesach Taylor, Anthony from Designing Women, plays one of the doctors in this movie; the one who discovers Damien has jackal blood and cells in his body, and then tries to investigate this only to get sliced in half literally by a demonically manipulated runaway elevator cable.
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Amazingly, David Seltzer, the screenwriter of both Omen 1 and 2 denies that Damien was named after the lead character in the Exorcist, Damien Karras, even though the Exorcist was one of the highest grossing movies of all time in 1973, and the Omen, another very similar demon child flick, came out just a couple years later, and the lead character in both movies is named Damien!
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For some reason Damien seems to forget that he tried to kill his mother Kathy Thorn (Lee Remick) by knocking her off a step ladder and over a balcony with his tricycle in Omen 1. He seems to forget that he viciously attacked his mother while they were driving to the wedding at the Episcopal church at the beginning of that movie. He also forgets that he tried to electrocute his father Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) at the end of Omen I when Robert was trying to bring him to the church to sacrifice and execute him. And he forgets that he sat around happily and malevolently watching all this evil and destruction around him in the first movie, like when he smiled maliciously when Mrs. Baylock, the demon Nanny, introduced herself, or when he looked into the camera and grinned viciously at the audience at the end of the Omen. In this movie, at the beginning of the movie at least, he's an innocent; he's actually a good person for awhile, forgetful of his vicious past. That's a far cry from the sinister character we see at the beginning of Omens 1 and 3.
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Elizabeth Shepherd, who plays the ill-fated Joan Hart in Damien Omen 2, also played Emma Peel on the Avengers, before Dianna Rigg took over the role.
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This is clearly, as with the first movie, just a series of grisly set pieces strung together by a very thinly constructed plot.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

For the Joan Hart death scene, food was placed in the stunt woman's wig to attract the bird.
Lew Ayres performed most of the stunt of his watery death himself up until the point where his character disappears under the ice. Lee Grant tried to persuade the veteran actor not to do it but he was determined to give it a shot.
After the doctor discovers Damien's blood sample to be the same as a jackal, he asks for the opinion of a colleague on a lower floor. There are a number of coincidences that spookily foretell of his death in this scene. As he walks to the elevator, it is shown that he is on floor 23. These digits can be multiplied to make 6. He presses the button for floor 16. These digits can also be multiplied to get 6. Ultimately, he ends up on floor 3 cut in 2. 3x2 equals a third 6. The number of the beast is 6-6-6.
When its Mark's birthday and he cuts the cake he cuts into the lake on the birthday cake which foreshadows what happens to bill in the next scene when he drowns in a frozen lake
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While Omen I was pretty discrete in terms of gore, trying to separate itself from and distiunguish itself from The Exorcist, part 2 is much gorier, featuring the bloody Joan Hart eye pecking scene and Mesach Taylor's guillotine by elevator cable.
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After Mark's death scene, we see Anne and Richard at the funeral, both looking disturbed and confused. The camera focuses on Anne specifically, grimacing in a concerned fashion, and then there's an audio flashback to a doctor saying that Mark had a weak blood vessel in his brain from birth which was ruptured. If Anne was in on the demonic conspiracy from the get go why would she be acting this way? She wouldn't be flashing back to a conversation she had with a doctor when she knows that Damien killed Mark, and the doctor's theories are incorrect. And she wouldn't be grimacing and acting concerned when she's trying to enable Damien's victory in the first place.
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If the overall point to this demonic conspiracy is for Damien to rise to power and bring about Armageddon by being elected president and causing an Apocalyptic nuclear war, why is he killing all these people in public? Why does he use telekinetic powers to strangle that bully Teddy in front of all the other male students at the academy in Damien 2? (Indeed it's this fight that tips Mark off that Damien is the Antichrist, further showing that this was a stupid move). And he beats his mother while on the way to the church in Omen I in full view of many people; the chauffer for the lumousine, the people outside the lumousine watching, etc. By engaging in all this blatantly psychopathic behavior in public, isn't he basically ensuring that he won't get elected president? Wouldn't it be smarter to dispatch these people subtly in ways that look like accidents, as opposed to brutally executing them in front of everyone else?
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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