I wanted to watch the original version of this horror classic, not the recent remake, because I believe if it was good enough to want to remake it, it’s pretty good to begin with.
Gregory Peck stars as Robert Thorn, who’s wife has (unbeknownst to her) supposedly just given birth to a stillborn son. A priest shows Thorn another newborn boy who’s mother has just died, and offers him as a replacement saying, “She never has to know.” Let’s see how well that works out for him…
First, we see lovely scenes of the boy, whom they’ve named Damien, growing up a mostly normal child, that is until his fifth birthday party. At this event, Damien’s nanny calls out to him as he plays in the backyard with all the other children at his party, then commits suicide right in front of them all. As Thorn is the American Ambassador to Great Britain, this children’s party is being recorded by various photographers. One, Jennings, starts following Thorn after this incident, taking photos of various priests who seem to always be around Thorn, warning him of his son’s evil-ness, which he doesn’t believe…at first! Meanwhile, a new nanny, Mrs. Baylock, has taken charge of young Damien and vowed to him to keep him safe!
Finally, Jennings convinces Thorn that the devil is involved. Thorn is more sure than ever when his wife miscarries a baby and breaks numerous bones after Damien runs into her with his tricycle as she stands on a ladder to water a plant, causing her to topple two stories down over the bannister. Why does this cause him to believe? Because one of the cuckoo priests had warned him of just such a thing!
Thorn and Jennings head to Rome to look for the priest (different priest, not the cuckoo one) who gave him the newborn Damien that fateful day. When he discovers the grave of Damien’s real mother and sees she was not human, he calls the hospital and tells his wife to leave London immediately. As she already seems to know Damien is evil incarnate, she readies herself to go, but the new nanny, Mrs. Baylock, throws her over the balcony instead.
Still with me? Good. Now, Jennings and Thorn discover a still-different priest who says he can help them – Thorn must kill Damien using these special daggers he provides. Thorn says he cannot do it, Damien is just a child. Jennings says, then I will. But, that doesn’t work out so well for Jennings (don’t want to spoil it here). Thorn changes his mind and heads off to kill his evil son. But will he succeed?
- Top Scare: Evil dogs
- Heartbeats: 2 3/4 out of 5
- Gore Factor: 3 out of 5
- Suspense Factor: 3 1/2 out of 5
- Recommended for: 14 and up, mainly due to suicide scene and other death scenes
Next up: Psycho