Ed. note- I’ve interviewed a number of horror people over the last eight years as a horror blogger. My very first was with Harvey Stephens. This was a great way to start, at the apex, because THE OMEN is my favorite horror film, and Harvey played the Anti-Christ himself, Damien. I met him at Texas Frightmare Weekend, and had to snatch this one, because I’d never seen him on a convention guest list before. And I haven’t since. As a topper is my original intro to the interview. This was my first time conducting an interview, so my questions aren’t great. But I like it. I hope you enjoy reading this conversation as much as I enjoyed conducting it.- P.F.
I’ve been frightened by Damien Thorn for the last 25 years. THE OMENis one of those rare flicks that continues to scare me every time I watch, even though I know what’s going to happen. And Damien is at the black heart of that. Over the years, every time I have a discussion about THE OMEN, people say the same thing I’ve always said: Man, that kid was creepy!
So what is the son of Satan like in real life? Astonishingly, a rather nice guy. I met Harvey Stephens this weekend, and he was gracious enough not only to sign a few things and take some pics with me, but to grant me an interview. And don’t let his kindness fool you: Damien Thorn is still looking to overthrow God, even if he likes my OMEN shirt!
Fasso: So how does it feel to be recognized as the face of evil to so many horror fans all around the world?
Harvey Stephens: Yeah, you know, it’s pretty cool, but I don’t get recognized unless they’re looking at me like here. They won’t see me down the street and go “Oh look, there’s this…” you know, I’ve changed too much.
Fasso: How’d you get involved in THE OMEN in the first place?
Harvey: My sister used to do modeling, and basically went to an audition and they said they were looking for people my age. So off we went and, it went from there, really. Two auditions, a quick right hook later and the job was mine!
Phil: Do you have any memorable moments from the film?
Harvey: Basically the best one that sticks in my mind is the baboons. The baboons stink. They had one in the car, it was disgusting. So that’s probably the biggest… Yeah yeah, then you get a mouth of baboon in the back of the car with a guy with a gun. You get scared at times.
Phil: So what exactly does frighten you in real life?
Harvey: Real life interviews.
Phil: Do you have any memories of working with Gregory Peck or Lee Remick?
Harvey: Not really rock solid ones. All I can say is she was really nice. Nice people.
Phil: So you didn’t really return to acting after THE OMEN. Why was that?
Harvey: It just wasn’t something I was overly interested in doing, to be honest. It was a case of, that’s about it, I’m young, I’m gonna go to school, and that was it.
Phil: So what have you been doing for a profession?
Harvey: I was trading in the city for 12 years. I still do a little bit of trading, but I’ve got a chauffeur company with two partners and that’s it really. We do that.
Phil: But obviously you’re on the convention circuit now. How is that going for you?
Harvey: Yeah, this is good. This is my first one, I’ve enjoyed it, in America. But I, you know, could have a couple more. They’ve all made it painless.
Phil: What did you think of THE OMEN remake? You were part of that, right?
Harvey: Yeah, very shortly I was out there. I thought it was okay. They were up against it, really. I think they struggle to do remakes. I don’t know why they do them, but I just think they really haven’t got much upside. Not many people, especially horror fans, come out saying “Oh, that was much better than the original.” You know, they’re just not gonna say that.
Phil: They’re really looking for name recognition from the older fans and get in the younger fans who don’t know anything about the original.
Harvey: Yeah, yeah, it’s good they updated it, if you look at the old, but that was what, sort of, people liked about the movie, I suppose, but difficult, isn’t it?
Phil: I heard you had an interesting interview process with Richard Donner.
Harvey: Yeah, Richard sort of got a right hook. And that was my interview process. Once he learned the pain of Stephens, he was okay. I got the job.
Phil: Thank you very much, Harvey.
Harvey: No worries. Cheers, mate!