It’s not something that is widely known about me but I am a big fan of stories with a religious plot. I don’t mind if its an action/thriller type story, like The Messiah Code (Formerly known as The Miracle Strain) by Michael Cordy or a detective/murder mystery like Messiah by Boris Starling which subsequently became a TV series.
But my favourite of all-time has to be the horror series, The Omen.
Before I go any further I should make it known that I’m not a Satanist of any kind. I was, along with a couple of school-friends, accused of being one whilst at secondary school as we enjoyed talking about the story and the way that the author had cleverly woven information from The Bible to make it more real. In reality, I have a deep belief in God and am interested by many of the messages in The Bible, though I am very aware that in my opinion it is a very flawed document, written by men with their own agenda in mind. I also applied to be a priest at one point but after a couple of years changed my mind. I do have a problem with organised religion due to some of the people I have met, which is a shame as my childhood was spent in a very caring parish.
Anyway, the original story was written by David Seltzer and his book was turned into the successful film starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick amongst others. After the first book, Seltzer chose not to return to the franchise and the final four (Yes, there are 5 books in the series) were written by other people. Full list below:-
- The Omen, written in 1976 by David Seltzer
- Damien: Omen II, written in 1978 by Joseph Howard
- Omen III: The Final Conflict, written in 1980 by Gordon McGill
- Omen IV: Armageddon 2000, written in 1983 by Gordon McGill
- Omen V: The Abomination, written in 1985 by Gordon McGill
I enjoy the battle of good versus evil. The fact that we, through The Bible, learned of Jesus’ time on earth (if you view The Bible as a historical document) but in this franchise we see the rise of the son of Satan- The Antichrist! I like the way that Judeo-Christian lore, mythology and ritual are deeply embedded in the story and that anyone could be a disciple of Satan!
The short-lived TV show was excellent but unfortunately ignored the goings on of every film after the original. This was a disappointment as I enjoy all three of the films; seeing Damien grow older, finding out who he is, his rise to power and eventual downfall. I don’t include the made for TV movie Omen IV as quite honestly it was awful, even if it did pick up after Omen III. The 2006 remake of The Omen was a waste of money in my opinion.
I’ve met a number of the cast over the years (see below) and, as the title of this post goes, have met two Damiens.
I met Harvey Stephens at an Autographica event in London many years ago. It was his first event and he had no idea what to expect. He wasn’t particularly busy so I got to have a good long chat with him. He had lots of stories to tell about things like the kindness of his on-screen parents Lee Remick and Gregory Peck- they were both amazing and treated him well.
The one story that stuck in my mind was his audition story. The producer and director had seen many children and no one had managed to deliver what was needed for the part so Harvey was instructed by someone on the audition panel to attack the director who had knelt down in front of him. Harvey did this by running up to him and kicking him squarely in the nuts! The job was his!
Harvey also had the original bike which he had been given after filming end.
I have yet to meet Jonathan Scott-Taylor who played teenage Damien in Damien: Omen II. I hope to one day!
I’ve been a big fan of Sam Neill for years. His work in Jurassic Park is well known but I also thought he was great in The Hunt for Red October. Sam played adult Damien who has been appointed to his father’s old job as Ambassador to the Court of St James (UK) and is on his rise to power. Sam was announced as a last-minute guest for the London Film & Comic Con in July 2018. I quickly bought a photo shoot with him before they sold out!
When the event came I noticed a plethora of Dr Alan Grants from Jurassic Park and loads of inflatable dinosaurs of various types! I quickly decided to do something different so I grabbed some paper, wrote #DamienThorn4President on it and headed off for the shoot. When my turn came I walked up, showed him the sheet and asked if he would hold it. He looked at it, laughed and asked me if I was serious. I replied that he couldn’t be any worse than Trump. He laughed some more, we had the photo and I left.
I tried to get his autograph but, as I was helping on a charity stall, it proved difficult. When I went to his area near the end of the event they had closed the queue. I’ve been a bit cheeky and written to him to see if I can get an autograph that way!
I’ve met a few other cast members as you can see below:-
David Warner who played photographer Keith Jennings in The Omen
Lance Henriksen who played Sergeant Daniel Neff
Tina Simmons who was Lee Remick’s stand-in and body-double in The Omen
I really hope they never try to remake films II & III but would be happy if they converted the books of IV and V into film.