Damien the Antichrist, now thirteen years old, finally learns of his destiny under the guidance of an unholy disciple of Satan. Meanwhile dark forces begin to eliminate all those who suspect the child's true identity.
A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.
There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these bloodthirsty, flesh-eating monsters.
Robert and Katherine Thorn seem to have it all. They are happily married and he is the US Ambassador to Great Britain, but they want nothing more than to have children. When Katharine has a stillborn child, Robert is approached by a priest at the hospital who suggests that they take a healthy newborn whose mother has just died in childbirth. Without telling his wife he agrees. After relocating to London, strange events - and the ominous warnings of a priest - lead him to believe that the child he took from that Italian hospital is evil incarnate.Written by
Damien was originally going to be called Domlin until writer David Seltzer's wife suggested a name change. See more »
In the first scene when Robert Thorne is being driven through Rome, the time is specified as 6.00AM and the date is June 6th. The sun rises in Rome at 5.30am at that time of year, which would mean it was reasonably light outside, but Robert is being driven in the dark. See more »
The child is dead. He breathed for a moment. Then he breathed no more. The child is dead. Dead. The child is dead.
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Closing credits epilogue: "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666."
A film that polarises opinion irrespective of its religious incantations, some unimpressed by its comic-book style hokum, others like myself willing to be immersed in the tale of the anti-Christ (Stephens) born into a wealthy American family living abroad, setting a course for Satan's second coming. Peck, playing American Ambassador to the UK and his wife Lee Remick lose their child during birth, but with the assistance of corrupt clergyman Martin Benson, Peck manages to procure a replacement child of shady origins. In the history of bad decisions, this is right up there with the most catastrophic, as the baby Damien wields his unassuming temperament against those conspiring to subdue the rise of the devil on earth.
David Warner co-stars as the intrepid photo journalist who's bitten off more than he can chew investigating a series of strange events surrounding the family, former "Doctor Who" incarnation Patrick Troughton has a memorable supporting role as a doom-saying priest, and other notable roles are played with aplomb by Martin Benson, Leo McKern, Bruce Boa, John Stride and Anthony Nicholls to name a few. Jack's daughter, Holly Palance has a great cameo in one of the film's many penultimate moments, early on at the birthday party.
Billie Whitelaw's inspired performance as the sinister house-keeper is perhaps the template that would be emulated many times over (e.g. Dimitra Arliss in "Bless the Child" for example), and in my opinion, the real sleeper in this film. Her measured performance is one of the key aspects that elevates this tale beyond the comic-book hokum for which some reviewers hold contempt, notwithstanding the fuzzy logic on the religious overtures, which to be honest, who really cares. It's only a movie, and a chilling one at that, director Richard Donner immortalising himself with this effort, which in my opinion is easily in the top ten horror films ever made for its imagery, atmosphere, visual effects and of course, "Ave Satani" soundtrack.
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