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Damien: Omen II (1978) Poster

Trivia

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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.
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.
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.
Lee Grant had been a big fan of The Omen (1976) and enthusiastically jumped at the chance to appear in the sequel.
Richard Donner was supposed to return as director, but he was busy with Superman (1978).
William Holden's only horror film.
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.
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.
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.
The cadets at the military academy were real students at St. John's Northwestern military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin.
The film's budget was $5.2 million, twice that of The Omen (1976).
Jonathan Scott-Taylor 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 altogether. Now he's an attorney.
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.
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 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 theme song is a very fast paced version of the Oscar winning "Ave Satani", the theme song from the original.
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Lance Henriksen (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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The popularity of the name Damien plummeted as a result of this movie and its predecessor.
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The final cinema film of Lew Ayres.
Damien's animal sidekick/helper in this movie is a raven. In The Omen (1976) and The Final Conflict (1981) it's a Rottweiler.
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Lance Henriksen (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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Director Don Taylor was a former actor and had indeed acted alongside his good friend William Holden in Stalag 17 (1953).
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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Joan Hart's murder by a vicious eye-pecking raven was an homage to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963).
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Leo McKern reprises his role as Carl Bugenhagen, the archaeologist and exorcist in The Omen (1976). He is the only actor that is in more than one film in the Omen series.
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Film debut of Meshach Taylor.
At 59 William Holden was only eight years younger than Sylvia Sidney who played Aunt Marion.
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The disappointing box office returns from this movie, and the failure of Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) and Holocaust 2000 (1977) signaled 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 the release of Halloween (1978), was now slasher movies.
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Lucas Donat who played Mark was The Waltons' Michael Learned's son.
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The scene that's supposed to take place in New York is still actually Chicago. It's filmed in Chicago, southeastern Wisconsin and Eagle River, Wisconsin, which is in the northern part of the state.
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Teddy is the only person Damien attacks but doesn't kill in this movie.
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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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The tagline for this movie was "The First One Was Only A Warning". That's what all the posters for the movie say. But the second one is only a warning too, and so is the third as Armageddon never actually comes in these movies.
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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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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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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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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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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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Damien never calls Richard "Uncle Richard" or Ann "Aunt Ann". The only one who gets an Aunt or Uncle moniker is Aunt Marion.
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Lee Grant was blacklisted by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Unamerican Activities Committee 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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The raven kills three people in this movie.
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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 II came out: Grease (1978).
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Lance Henriksen 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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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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Ironically, Sylvia 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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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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Mike Hodges the original director was fired; he was replaced by Don Taylor.
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William Holden was best man in Ronald Reagan's marriage to Nancy.
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A heavy drinker most of his life, William Holden descended into alcoholism in the 60s and the 70s when this movie was made.
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William Holden and Lee Grant both starred in Irwin Allen disaster movies before this: William Holden in The Towering Inferno (1974), and Lee Grant in The Swarm (1978).
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This is the only Omen movie that takes place in the U.S.; The Omen (1976) and The Final Conflict (1981) both take place in London.
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Allan 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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Lance Henriksen (Sergeant Neff) played another sergeant in The Terminator (1984), Sergeant Half Vukovich, and he played an android that was in the military as well in Aliens (1986), Bishop.
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Damien "breaks the fourth wall" and smiles viciously at the audience in the last shot just like he does in the last shot of the first movie.
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Lee Grant followed this up with Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981), 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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Damien Omen 2 is a bit of an Avengers reunion: Ian Hendry plays Michael, Bugenhagen's colleague that he shows Yggail's wall to at the beginning. He was on the British 1960s TV series The Avengers, along with fellow Damien Omen cast member Elizabeth Shepherd (Joan Hart). Where Elizabeth Shepherd played Emma Peel on The Avengers, Ian Hendry played David Keel.
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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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Damien in The Omen (1976) and this film is played by British actors; in The Final Conflict (1981) he's played by an actor from New Zealand.
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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 after his father just died from getting brutally shot. At he beginning of Part 2 atleast, Damien's an innocent. He's actually a good person for awhile, forgetful of his vicious past. We don't know why exactly, and that's a far cry from the sinister character we see at the beginning of Omens 1 and 3.
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Meshach Taylor, Anthony from Designing Women, plays one of the doctors in this movie. He plays Dr. Kane, the doctor 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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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 The Omen (1976) and Damien: Omen II (1978), but not part The Final Conflict (1981), which also takes place in London ironically enough.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

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.
For the Joan Hart death scene, food was placed in the stunt woman's wig to attract the bird.
After setting The Field Museum (not 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.
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When it's 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.
While The Omen (1976) was pretty discreet in terms of gore, trying to separate itself from and distinguish itself from The Exorcist (1973), part 2 is much gorier, featuring the bloody Joan Hart eye pecking scene and Meshach Taylor's guillotine by elevator cable.
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