takes his throne as crown prince
of the Hell of Fame
hailed by Phil Fasso
When the Jews return to Zion
And a comet rips the sky,
And the Holy Roman Empire rises,
Then you and I must die.
From the eternal sea he rises,
Creating armies on either shore,
Turning man against his brother,
‘Til man exists no more.
He is the crown prince of Evil in all the world of horror, the son of Satan, the Hell-spawned Antichrist come to take his throne on Earth, and in turn enslave all of us under his Satanic rule. False son of a politician, his name is Damien Thorn. In 1976 he was born among us in THE OMEN, and since then Lucifer has never been the same.
The Devil’s been with us almost as long as literature has. Go back 4,000 years and he’s snaking around Eden, later to tempt Christ for 40 days in the desert. Since then he’s pressed forward in Dante’s tour with Virgil of the circles of Hell, and Milton’s lost paradise. The creation of motion pictures gave him a whole new venue, giving birth to him in ROSEMARY’S BABY and then letting him run amok inside of a little girl in THE EXORCIST. I’ve always taken it that all these developments were merely priming him for his greatest appearance of all, as little Damien. In THE OMEN, Satan wears the face of a child, come to create his counterfeit kingdom on earth. Beautiful and seemingly innocent, the Prince of Darkness deceives us all with Damien’s sweet appearance. If only it weren’t a facade for the foulest creature ever let loose from behind the gates of Hell.
Damien goes beyond merely being the silver screen’s greatest devil, though. For my money, Damien Thorn has always been the greatest horror character of all. All your werewolves, vampires, slashers, sea monsters, Kongs, even my beloved zombies—they all bow to him as his emissaries. In the monster hierarchy, he takes his throne at the top; all other beasts of Hell, whatever form they choose to take, answer to the crowned Prince of Darkness. Fundamentally, there’s no foul creature more evil than Satan, a force so powerful he once did battle with God. His legions are in every horror movie we’ve ever watched, every Stephen King novel and short story, doing his dark bidding.
The essential beauty in Damien is that he’s sweetly innocent of all the sinister power he holds. THE OMEN presents us with a rather average 5-year-old boy, not exactly the portrait of evil incarnate. That this boy can stir up an enclave of baboons into attacking a car, send dogs frothing at the mouth into chase, convince an apostate to hang herself, and persuade another to throw a woman out a hospital window several stories high; to orchestrate all this evil and more, unknowingly, now that’s impressive. In the two sequels he’ll grow aware of his power, but he’s at his prime when he’s pulling the strings on pure instinct.
I’ve always considered THE OMEN to be the perfect horror flick. At its core is the greatest of Evils, as Damien gives the film a terrifying antagonist. Hell awaits you at Death Ensemble, and the Hell of Fame is the black heart of the Inferno. It’s only natural, then, to invite in its young prince with cheers of Ave Satani, as he takes his unholy throne. You have been warned.