Damien--Omen II (1978)

R | 110 mins | Horror | 9 June 1978

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HISTORY

       The film is a sequel to The Omen (1976, see entry), which grossed $40 million in domestic box office, according to a 26 Aug 1976 DV article that announced Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.’s plans for three sequels. Since the first sequel takes place several years in the future, Twentieth Century-Fox had begun the search for an older actor to play the main character, “Damien Thorn.” At that time, David Seltzer, who wrote the first Omen screenplay, declined to work on the sequel.
       A 17 Nov 1976 DV news brief reported that writers Al Ramrus and John Herman Shaner had been hired to write the sequel, but they did not remain with the project. Referring to the picture by its working title, The Inheritance, the 1 Jun 1977 HR reported that production would begin in Sep 1977. However, a report in the 1 Aug 1977 Box stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 12 Oct 1977 in Chicago, IL, for eight weeks of filming.
       A 19 Jul 1977 DV article announced fourteen-year-old Jonathan Scott-Taylor, a member of England’s Royal Shakespeare Company, was cast as Damien Thorn in his feature film debut. The budget was estimated at $5.1 million, nearly double the $2.8 million budget of the original. At that time, Richard Donner, director of the first Omen, was preoccupied with directing Superman (1978, see entry), so Mike Hodges was hired as a replacement. However, the 22 Nov 1977 LAHExam reported that Hodges left the project after four weeks of filming due ... More Less

       The film is a sequel to The Omen (1976, see entry), which grossed $40 million in domestic box office, according to a 26 Aug 1976 DV article that announced Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.’s plans for three sequels. Since the first sequel takes place several years in the future, Twentieth Century-Fox had begun the search for an older actor to play the main character, “Damien Thorn.” At that time, David Seltzer, who wrote the first Omen screenplay, declined to work on the sequel.
       A 17 Nov 1976 DV news brief reported that writers Al Ramrus and John Herman Shaner had been hired to write the sequel, but they did not remain with the project. Referring to the picture by its working title, The Inheritance, the 1 Jun 1977 HR reported that production would begin in Sep 1977. However, a report in the 1 Aug 1977 Box stated that principal photography was scheduled to begin 12 Oct 1977 in Chicago, IL, for eight weeks of filming.
       A 19 Jul 1977 DV article announced fourteen-year-old Jonathan Scott-Taylor, a member of England’s Royal Shakespeare Company, was cast as Damien Thorn in his feature film debut. The budget was estimated at $5.1 million, nearly double the $2.8 million budget of the original. At that time, Richard Donner, director of the first Omen, was preoccupied with directing Superman (1978, see entry), so Mike Hodges was hired as a replacement. However, the 22 Nov 1977 LAHExam reported that Hodges left the project after four weeks of filming due to “artistic differences,” and Don Taylor took his place. The change resulted in eight-days of reshoots.
       The 14 Dec 1977 Var stated that filming in Chicago, IL, had ended and the production had moved to Eagle River, WI, where ten days of shooting was planned. A 23 Jan 1978 Box article noted that the budget had increased to $6.5 million, and that filming in Eagle River grossed $300,000 for the local economy. Northwestern Military and Naval Academy in Lake Geneva, WI, represented the fictional “Davidson Military Academy.” The production used 150 of the school’s cadets and hired seventy local extras. For the scenes involving a deadly hockey game, the production filmed on Catfish Lake. The production was scheduled to move to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel, after a Christmas break.
       A 6 Jan 1978 HR news brief announced that principal photography in the U.S. was complete, and two weeks of filming in Israel was scheduled to begin 17 Jan 1978.
       Box-office grosses for the opening weekend was $3,880,880 on 524 screens, as reported in the 14 Jun 1978 Var.

      End credits begin with the following prologue: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (II Cor. 11:13).” End credits include the following acknowledgements: “Special Thanks to the Mayor and Staff of The City Hall, Chicago; Lucy Salenger, State of Illinois Film Office; Northwestern Military and Naval Academy; Chicago Motion Picture Services; Sergeant Cornelius Morgan, Chicago Police Department,” and the statement, “Produced by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation in Los Angeles and on location in Chicago, Illinois; Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; Eagle River, Wisconsin and Israel.”
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Aug 1977.
---
Box Office
23 Jan 1978.
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Daily Variety
26 Aug 1976.
---
Daily Variety
17 Nov 1976.
---
Daily Variety
19 Jul 1977.
---
Daily Variety
19 Sep 1977.
---
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1977.
---
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1978
p. 3.
LAHExam
22 Nov 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Jun 1978
p. 1.
Millimeter
Jan 1978.
---
New York Times
9 Jun 1978
p. 6.
Variety
23 Nov 1977.
---
Variety
14 Dec 1977.
---
Variety
31 May 1978.
---
Variety
7 Jun 1978
p. 28.
Variety
14 Jun 1978.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Harvey Bernhard Production
In Association With Mace Neufeld
Released by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mrg, Los Angeles crew
1st asst dir, Los Angeles crew
1st asst dir, Los Angeles crew
2d asst dir, Los Angeles crew
2d asst dir, Chicago crew
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op, Los Angeles crew
Key grip, Los Angeles crew
Gaffer, Los Angeles crew
Underwater photog, Los Angeles crew
Process coord, Los Angeles crew
Cam op, Chicago crew
Asst cam, Chicago crew
Stillman, Chicago crew
Gaffer, Chicago crew
Key grip, Chicago crew
Photog, Israfilm Motion Picture Services
Asst by, Israfilm Motion Picture Services
Asst by, Israfilm Motion Picture Services
Miniatures photographed by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed, Los Angeles crew
Asst ed, Los Angeles crew
SET DECORATORS
Set dec, Los Angeles crew
Prop master, Los Angeles crew
Const coord, Los Angeles crew
Assoc set dec, Chicago crew
COSTUMES
Ward, Los Angeles crew
Miss Grant's clothes
MUSIC
Mus ed, Los Angeles crew
SOUND
Prod mixer, Los Angeles crew
Re-rec mixer, Los Angeles crew
Re-rec mixer, Los Angeles crew
Re-rec mixer, Los Angeles crew
Dial ed, Los Angeles crew
Sd ed, Los Angeles crew
Sd ed, Los Angeles crew
Sd ed, Los Angeles crew
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff, Los Angeles crew
Miniatures
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup, Los Angeles crew
Make-up/Hairdressing, Chicago crew
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv, Los Angeles crew
Raven trainer, Los Angeles crew
Transportation capt, Chicago crew
Prod asst, Chicago crew
Prod asst, Chicago crew
Prod asst, Chicago crew
Israel sequences serviced by
Snowmobiles and winter clothing by courtesy of
STAND INS
Stunt coord, Los Angeles crew
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by David Seltzer.
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Omen II
The Inheritance
Release Date:
9 June 1978
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 9 June 1978
New York opening: week of 9 June 1978
Production Date:
17 October 1977--late January 1978 in Chicago, IL, Eagle River, WI and Israel.
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
26 June 1978
Copyright Number:
PA17996
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
110
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25201
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Archaeologist Carl Bugenhagen tries to convince his colleague, Michael, that young Damien Thorn is the Antichrist and must be killed; the boy’s parents, Robert and Katherine Thorn, have recently died under mysterious conditions. To prove his point, Carl takes Michael to see Yigael’s Wall, which features drawings of Lucifer’s son, but the site caves in on Carl and Michael, killing both. Seven years later, Damien resides in Chicago, Illinois, with his uncle and aunt, Richard and Ann Thorn, and his cousin, Mark. After Damien and Mark return to military school, their great-aunt Marion, owner of the family business, Thorn Industries, threatens to leave her inheritance to charity if Richard does not intervene in the friendship between his son, Mark, and Damien. Richard and Ann dismiss the old woman’s rant against Damien, chalking it up to senility. Later, Charles Warren, curator of the Thorn Museum, shows Richard and Ann photographs of the ancient artifacts the museum recently acquired. The items were discovered at the same location of Carl Bugenhagen’s death. Charles mentions that journalist Joan Hart is writing a biography about Carl and wants to interview Richard as a financial supporter of his research. Meanwhile, Marion is visited by a black raven and dies of a heart attack. The next day, at Davidson’s Military Academy, Damien and Mark’s platoon meet their new leader, Sergeant Daniel Neff. Back in Chicago, at Thorn Industries, Richard meets with the company president, Bill Atherton, and discusses a controversial business proposal from colleague Paul Buher. Paul wants the company to buy land in third world countries and grow “high yield, disease resistant crops.” ... +


Archaeologist Carl Bugenhagen tries to convince his colleague, Michael, that young Damien Thorn is the Antichrist and must be killed; the boy’s parents, Robert and Katherine Thorn, have recently died under mysterious conditions. To prove his point, Carl takes Michael to see Yigael’s Wall, which features drawings of Lucifer’s son, but the site caves in on Carl and Michael, killing both. Seven years later, Damien resides in Chicago, Illinois, with his uncle and aunt, Richard and Ann Thorn, and his cousin, Mark. After Damien and Mark return to military school, their great-aunt Marion, owner of the family business, Thorn Industries, threatens to leave her inheritance to charity if Richard does not intervene in the friendship between his son, Mark, and Damien. Richard and Ann dismiss the old woman’s rant against Damien, chalking it up to senility. Later, Charles Warren, curator of the Thorn Museum, shows Richard and Ann photographs of the ancient artifacts the museum recently acquired. The items were discovered at the same location of Carl Bugenhagen’s death. Charles mentions that journalist Joan Hart is writing a biography about Carl and wants to interview Richard as a financial supporter of his research. Meanwhile, Marion is visited by a black raven and dies of a heart attack. The next day, at Davidson’s Military Academy, Damien and Mark’s platoon meet their new leader, Sergeant Daniel Neff. Back in Chicago, at Thorn Industries, Richard meets with the company president, Bill Atherton, and discusses a controversial business proposal from colleague Paul Buher. Paul wants the company to buy land in third world countries and grow “high yield, disease resistant crops.” Bill believes attempting to control a country’s food supply is unethical. Back at the military academy, Neff meets with each student in his platoon. As the boys wait their turn, Mark argues with a cadet named Teddy who insults the Thorn family. Using telekinesis, Damien throws Teddy across the room. Moments later, Mark asks Damien about the supernatural event, but Damien seems equally surprised. The next day, at Thorn Industries, Richard rejects Paul’s crop proposal and suggests they revisit it at a later date. Paul thinks he should resign, but Richard assures Paul that his time will come. As Richard leaves, journalist Joan Hart demands to speak with him about Carl Bugenhagen, noting Carl’s belief that Damien is the Antichrist, and suggesting that Richard’s life is in danger. Richard kicks her out of the limousine. Meanwhile, at the Thorn Museum, Charles tells Ann about his recent acquisition of Yigael’s Wall. The artist Yigael reportedly drew apocalyptic visions on the wall after he was visited by Satan, and went insane. After a confrontation with Charles and Ann, Joan drives to the academy to see Damien and his face confirms her suspicions. Terrified, she drives away, but her car breaks down on a deserted road. When she leaves the vehicle, the black raven attacks and claws her eyes out, causing her to stumble in front of a truck and die. Several days later, Richard throws a weekend long birthday party for his son, Mark. Hinting at Damien’s great destiny, Paul encourages Damien to become more involved in Thorn Industries. The next day, during a hockey game on a frozen lake, the black raven appears and Bill Atherton drowns. With Bill’s death, Richard puts Paul in charge of Thorn Industries before leaving for an extended vacation. Upon returning to work, Richard is furious to discover that Paul put his crop proposal in motion without consulting him first. Paul sent company scientist Pasarian to India to buy large quantities of land. At school, Sergeant Neff tells Damien it is time to discover his true identity and instructs him to read the Bible’s Book of Revelations. Reading that the Antichrist has “666, the mark of the beast,” Damien checks his scalp in the mirror and finds the mark. He then runs away, crying. Later that evening, Damien accepts his fate. A few days later, Pasarian returns from India and fails to reach Richard. At a meeting with Paul, Pasarian reports that landowners who refused to sell their land to Thorn Industries suddenly died. Pasarian fears that someone in the company murdered the individuals to acquire the land. The next day, Damien and his classmates visit the Thorn Industries fertilizer and pesticide plant where Pasarian works. As the students tour the facility, a vat explodes, releasing toxic chemicals. The boys make it outside safely, but Pasarian dies. At the hospital, Dr. Kane informs Richard that all of the boys will recover, but he finds it strange that the toxins did not affect Damien. Dr. Kane asks to perform more tests, but Damien refuses. Late that evening, Dr. Kane looks at Damien’s blood work, realizes the boy’s cell structure matches that of a jackal and then dies in an elevator accident. The next day, as Richard and Ann discuss Dr. Kane’s death, Richard wonders if the accusations against Damien are true. Richard then learns of Dr. Kane’s discovery. At the Thorn Museum, Charles receives a mysterious package from the deceased Carl Bugenhagen. Inside is a letter, warning about Damien and giving instructions to kill him with the enclosed daggers. Locking the package in his desk, Charles visits Richard and attempts to convince his friend that the others were right about Damien. Charles reports that Yigael’s Wall will arrive in New York City the following day, and insists they view it to confirm the prophecy. As the men argue, Mark overhears the conversation. He later reads the Bible and believes Charles’s story. The next morning, Mark walks in the woods and Damien follows. Meanwhile, Ann begs Richard not to go to New York. In the woods, Damien confesses that he is the Antichrist and asks his friend to join him. When Mark refuses, Damien causes Mark to die of a brain aneurysm. Damien cries out for Richard and Ann, claiming that he found Mark dead. After Mark’s funeral, Richard goes to New York City and finds Charles hiding in a Catholic church. They go to a rail yard to view Yigael’s Wall, which is still in a cargo train, but Charles waits outside as Richard looks at the artifact. Richard finally sees the image of Damien on the wall. However, a runaway train crushes Charles, and the collision causes the wall to crumble. The next day at military school, the cadets attend a cotillion. Richard returns to Chicago and orders his security guards to bring Damien to the museum. As Richard finds the daggers that Charles locked in his desk, Ann arrives and begs her husband not to hurt Damien. When Damien appears, Ann grabs the daggers and impales Richard. Ann calls out for Damien, but he causes an explosion that burns her to death. Damien leaves the museum as the fire department and police arrive on the scene. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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