Damien Thorn

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Damien Thorn
Damien Thorn
Date of Birth: June 6, 1971 (original film)
June 6, 1966 (Damien: Omen II)
June 6, 1950 (Omen III: The Final Conflict)
June 6, 2001 (Remake)
Gender: Male
Race Caucasian
Appears in The Omen series
Location Fulham, England
Weapons of Choice: Satanic Powers
Family Satan (father)
Female jackal (mother, deceased)
Kathy Thorn (adoptive mother, deceased)
Robert Thorn (adoptive father, deceased)
Richard Thorn (adoptive uncle, deceased)
Ann Thorn (adoptive aunt, deceased)
Mark Thorn (adoptive cousin, deceased)
Delia York (daughter)
Alexander York (son)
Enemies Jesus Christ
God the father
All pure souls
Portrayed by: Harvey Spencer Stephens (The Omen)
Jonathan Scott-Taylor (Damien: Omen II)
Sam Neill (Omen III: The Final Conflict)
Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick (remake)

Damien Thorn is a fictional character and the primary antagonist of The Omen series. He is the Antichrist and the son of the Devil. The character has been portrayed by Harvey Spencer Stephens, Jonathan Scott-Taylor, Sam Neill, and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick. All previous actors to play Damien Thorn had their hair dyed jet black for the role.

Appearances[edit]

Name etymology[edit]

Main article: Damien

The name "Damien" sounds vaguely like the English "demon", but is not at all etymologically related (meaning "he subdues").[1] Damien is the French form of the English name Damian (Greek Damao, meaning "to tame"), popular as the name of a martyred Christian saint of the third century (see Saints Cosmas and Damian). Another prominent Damien was Father Damien of Hawaii, who died while establishing leper colonies there. Damien is also the first name of Father Karras in The Exorcist.

Character[edit]

Damien was born in Rome at 06:00 a.m. on June 6 in various years of the original series due to continuity changes to the first three films having a "present day" setting (2006 in the most recent remake). His birthday (the sixth hour of the sixth day of the sixth month) constitutes the number 666. The number also appears on his body as a birthmark, and it is discovered in the novelization of the first film that he has no fingerprints. Though he is originally unaware of his parentage, he gradually comes to understand and accept his identity as the Antichrist as he grows older.

Biography[edit]

Beginning[edit]

In the first film, Damien is adopted by American ambassador to Great Britain Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) and wife Katherine (Lee Remick) at their hospital after they lose their son in what Robert believes is stillbirth, while his wife Katherine is unaware of the replacement. At the age of five, Damien's nanny is hypnotized by a demonic dog and mysteriously hangs herself at his birthday party, claiming to have done it for him.

Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton), a priest from Italy who was present at Damien's birth, warns Robert about his son and quotes an old prophecy about the Antichrist that Damien allegedly fills, but Robert will have none of it. Damien's new nanny Ms. Baylock, a demon from Hell, helps to guard him, along with the black dog. Soon, things begin to come together; Damien begins to tremble with terror when his parents attempt to take him to a wedding in a church. It is then said that he has never been sick in his life.

When Katherine becomes pregnant with another child, Damien knocks her off a balcony with his tricycle and the unborn baby is killed. With the help of photojournalist Keith Jennings, who is eventually killed in a freak accident, Robert investigates Brennan's own mysterious death and accepts that Damien is the Antichrist, born from a jackal and placed in his care so that he would rise up through the world of politics. An exorcist in Megiddo, Israel named Carl Bugenhagen (Leo McKern) gives Robert seven ancient daggers he had inherited that could kill the Antichrist; Thorn brings Damien to a church to lower his influence, but police catch and kill him before Damien is harmed. Damien's enemies are dead and he's left in the company of the President of the United States.

Rise to power[edit]

In the second film, set seven years after the first movie, Damien is twelve years old and living with his uncle Richard Thorn (William Holden), his uncle's second wife Ann (Lee Grant), and his cousin and Richard's son from his first marriage, Mark (Lucas Donat) after a temporary stay with the US President.

The young Damien does not understand his true potential. When he learns the truth of his lineage he is at first horrified and does not wish to accept his evil destiny. However, others begin to suspect that he is not the sweet young boy that he appears to be. Within his life there are many Satanic acolytes working to help him ascend to his rightful place as the Antichrist, but at the same time, lone journalists, doctors, and scientists who try to stop him and warn his foster parents. Mark sees and hears things he shouldn't; although Damien is fond of his cousin, he kills Mark when he refuses to join him.

After Mark's death, Richard starts to believe the warnings about Damien and tries to kill him with the Daggers of Megiddo, but Ann refuses to let harm come to him, instead killing Richard with them before Damien sets both of them on fire.

The Final Conflict[edit]

In the third film, Damien is appointed Ambassador to the Court of St. James's, the same position his adoptive father held in the first film. Unlike the two incarnations of Damien portrayed in previous Omen films, the adult Damien is entirely aware of his unholy lineage and his destiny.

An alignment of the stars in the Cassiopeia region of the night sky (the traditional location of the stellar signal of the Second Coming) causes the creation of a super "star", described in the film as a second Star of Bethlehem. Damien realizes it is a sign of the Second Coming of Christ and he orders all male children in England born on the morning of March 24 (the morning when, in the story, the Cassiopeia alignment occurred) to be killed in order to prevent the Christ-child's return to power, as predicted in the Book of Revelation (see Massacre of the Innocents).

Thorn has also become involved with journalist Kate Reynolds (Lisa Harrow), who interviews him for the BBC. Their complex relationship complicates his plans to dominate the world. In the interview, Damien mentions he captained the Oxford polo and rugby teams. Damien also focuses his attention on her pre-teenaged son Peter whom he takes as a disciple. Ultimately, the relationship is his undoing.

Meanwhile, Father DeCarlo (Rossano Brazzi) and six other priests, armed with the ancient daggers, hunt Thorn in the hope of killing him before he can destroy the "Christ child". However, one by one all the priests die until only DeCarlo survives.

Finally, in spite of Thorn's efforts, DeCarlo informs Reynolds that the Christ-child is "out of his reach" but that nonetheless, the task still remains to destroy Damien. In a final act of evil, Damien uses Reynolds' son Peter (Barnaby Holm) — now slavishly devoted to Damien — as a human shield against DeCarlo's dagger. As Peter lies dying, Damien tries to strangle Father DeCarlo to death. In a desperate bid to salvage his waning power, Damien calls out for Christ to appear before him. As he does this, Kate Reynolds sneaks behind Damien, stabbing him in the back with the dagger. Christ appears in a flash before a dying Damien and peace reigns over the Earth. Damien's last words are, "Nazarene.. you have won... nothing...".

Legacy[edit]

Damien's daughter, Delia York, appears in Omen IV: The Awakening as the series' new antagonist, replacing Damien. Damien would however be reborn as his own son Alexander York (bearing the Mark of the Devil on his hand) who was a twin embryo in Delia that was later removed from her to be carried and delivered by Karen York, Delia's adoptive mother.

The Omen remakes[edit]

Main article: The Omen (2006 film)

A Hollywood remake was made in 2006 starring Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick. The plot of the remake closely follows that of the original film.

The Omen was also remade in Tamil in 1991 under the title Jenma Natchathiram.

Analysis[edit]

George Ochoa in his book Deformed and Destructive Beings: The Purpose of Horror Films, identifies Damien Thorn from The Omen films as a "deformed and destructive being". Ochoa writes that horror film audiences possess an ambivalence of horror and delight over the continued existence of the film's "monster". He says of Damien, "It is horrifying to realize that the boy survived the final battle with his adoptive father... but it is also pleasing, because Damien—in company with... [the] ever-present Satan—is a well-realized DDB." He says the presentation of Damien as a character in the original The Omen is accentuated his defeating of the adoptive father, who is played by Gregory Peck, known for leading man and heroic roles. In the remake, however, Damien defeats his adoptive father, played by Liev Schreiber, who is "not associated with playing heroes". Ochoa concludes, "The result was that [Schreiber's character's] defeat by the little boy was neither exceptional nor horrifying, just forgettable."[2]

James F. Iaccino analyzed Damien in The Omen with Jungian psychology, "To paraphrase Jung, his psyche is animalistic, primordial, and monstrous to behold. It further contains within its very core an awesome supernatural element, setting the bearer apart from all others." Since Damien is an orphan on Earth, his survival means he has "accomplished something truly godlike". When Damien uses his powers, Iaccino says "they are typically accompanied by a fierceness and rage" that reflects the Jungian interpretation of "the primordial child's being depicted as an inhuman". Damien has a relationship with wild dogs that indicates "his mystical link with the barbaric world of the primitive". Iaccino says that Damien's life (in the original film) is spared because Damien "can appear angelic and pure to those around him while concealing his depraved nature", which is why his adoptive father hesitates to kill him. In Omen II, Iaccino notes Damien's relationship with the raven, which "is one of the devil's common guises" in fairy tales. When satanists help educate Damien "in the ways of evil", the growing boy becomes fully conscious of his true nature. Iaccino explains, "He is able to detach himself somewhat from the instinctual sphere of the beast (as well as the innocence of the child) in order to develop a stronger, more liberating identity." After Damien's realization, the raven no longer appears in the film, indicating that it has been "integrated into Damien's conscience". In The Omen III: The Final Conflict, Damien is an adult with an empire that thrives "on the misfortunes of others". He lacks faith or trust in others and does not want to admit needing anyone to survive. When he questions the Christ replica, he is "the Jungian image of archaic man" who believes that any action "must produce a significant reaction in the world", which is why he forces the crown of thorns on the replica's head.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mike Campbell. "Meaning, Origin and History of the Name Damian". Behind the Name. Retrieved 2013-06-21. 
  2. ^ Ochoa, George (2011). Deformed and Destructive Beings: The Purpose of Horror Films. McFarland. pp. 49–52. ISBN 978-0-7864-6307-7. 
  3. ^ Iaccino, James F. (1998). "The Omen Trilogy: The Growth of the Demon Child Archetype". Jungian Reflections within the Cinema: A Psychological Analysis of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Archetypes. Praeger. pp. 147–165. ISBN 978-0-275-95048-4. 

External links[edit]