Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Damien: Omen II (1978)

...aka: Omen II

Directed by:
Don Taylor

Follow-up to the hugely successful 1976 film, set seven years after, finds twelve year old Damien Thorn (Jonathan Scott-Taylor) now living with his aunt (Lee Grant) and uncle (William Holden), progressing at an elite military academy and learning to cope with the fact that he's the anti-Christ (Or as he eventually shrieks... "Why me?!"). As in the original, anyone who threatens Damien's eventual reign must pay in gruesome ways like getting their eyes pecked out by a crow, smashed by a semi, trapped under a frozen lake or cut in half with an elevator cable. There's a higher body count this time around and arguably more colorful death scenes, but it isn't nearly as scary, provocative, well-paced, well-written or entertaining, and it wastes Oscar-winners Holden and Grant, who have very little to do as Damien's new guardians. Still watchable, though.
Jerry Goldsmith's commanding score is a plus. The top notch supporting cast is another and includes Robert Foxworth, Nicholas Pryor as a museum curator, Lew Ayres, Sylvia Sidney as Damien's suspicious great aunt, Lance Henriksen as a military sergeant (and Damien's protector), Elizabeth Shepherd (from TOMB OF LIGEIA) as a reporter, Allan Arbus, Meshach Taylor as a doctor and, in uncredited parts, Leo McKern (reprising his role from the first movie) as Bugenhagen and Ian Hendry as an archeologist. Scriptwriter Mike Hodges (THE TERMINAL MAN) was also slated to direct this, but was replaced by the guy who had just made a PLANET OF THE APES sequel. THE FINAL TERROR brought the series to a limp conclusion in 1981, and there was also the cable TV movie OMEN IV: THE AWAKENING (1991), which featured a demonic little girl, as well as that terrible 2006 remake.

Score: 5 out of 10

1 comment:

Cal said...

I am a huge fan of this film but you've picked up on what are admittidly very noticable problems, I still love it though! I guess it's just my guilty pleasure! Great review :)

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