The Best of the Bad Guys: Damien Thorn from The Omen

The Best of the Bad Guys takes a look at the best (and worst) moments involving Damien Thorn from the Omen franchise

Last Updated on May 14, 2024

The episode of The Best of the Bad Guys focuses on Damien Thorn, who was written, narrated, and edited by Mike Holtz.

The Prince of Darkness. Heir to both Hell and Thorn Industries. The antichrist himself and guy who gets his haircut at Great Clips, Damien Thorn. The titular character of The Omen franchise will be praised not by his usual followers but by us as we dive into the second edition of THE BEST OF THE BAD GUYS, where we rank the best work of cinema’s most evil villains. 

Damien Thorn’s run of evil has spanned five films including an utterly pointless shot-for-shot remake and a TV series with another prequel on the way in The First Omen. And though The Omen IV: The Awakening doesn’t follow Damien himself; his presence is felt. The franchise started in 1976 with legendary director Richard Donner giving us the first version of the little guy who we’d soon discover was born of a jackal (and no, we’re not talking about his mother disparagingly. She is literally an animal) who is about to begin a quest to inherit the throne of his father… Satan himself. They say that Satan’s best trick was convincing the world that he didn’t exist. Well, today is all about what Satan Jr. did well.

Starting with THE BEST VERSION OF DAMIEN throughout the films. Satan’s Little Legion (and no I’m not talking about that kid from the Babadook who will NOT stop screaming though he might be even worse) has been played by two kids, a teenager, and two adults amidst the movies and 2016 requel TV series where Bradley James played the handsome CW version of the character (looks-wise, of course, the actual show was on A&E for one season) trying to come to terms with the fact that he’s the Antichrist. Many people’s minds go straight to 1976 and little Damien played by Harvey Stephens for obvious reasons. He may be the most well-known of all the portrayals of Damien and was in the best film to boot.  But today that distinction goes to acting great Sam Neill for his grown-up portrayal of the dark one.

The Best of the Bad Guys: Damien Thorn

When we find Damien in the third film of the franchise, 1981’s The Final Conflict (which unlike, many other franchises the “final” part actually ended up being true… at least in the sense that this particular version of the character has yet to resurface) we finally get the payoff of Damien’s character we’ve all been waiting for. Fully grown, totally aware of his abilities, and embracing his evil. The Omen is a rare franchise because, in a weird, kind of Richard Linklater Boyhood way, although not played by the same actor,  we really track the bad guy from creepy-ass child to sassy teenager and finally see him as an ambitious adult who has many leatherbound books and an apartment that smells of rich mahogany.

It sure as Hell doesn’t hurt that he’s played by Sam Neill, dipping his toes into the horror genre for the first time before he would later go on to rock the Hell out of roles in movies like Event Horizon and John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness. The Final Conflict was quite early in the illustrious career of Neill but you couldn’t tell as we watch Men’s Warehouse Damien Thorn maneuver through running both Thorn Industries and a rise in politics in a very House of Cards-type manner. Only instead of playing Call of Duty to blow off steam afterward like Kevin Spacey, he’d disappear into the darkness to verbally beat the bejesus out of a statue of Christ. Be honest and tell me you couldn’t picture any one of our famous billionaires doing weird stuff like this in their basement.

Watching a fully grown Damien Thorn may not have had the creepy kid factor that our first film had but having a Damien so fully aware and in control of what a dark future lay before him felt very earned. Had we not received a version of full-grown Damien, we would have always been left to wonder what could have been.

Even if the ending of The Final Conflict left us kind of feeling unfulfilled regardless. I mean, seriously? Who just ends a movie like that? Trumpets and bible quotes? And don’t forget to eat your vegetables! Total bummer of an ending. Regardless, the character himself was not to blame for such Buttercream Gang-level choices and I maintain Sam Neill’s iteration of the character was the best.

Though I understand if you want to stick with young Damian as your personal correct choice here, or as I like to call him… Satan, We’re Going Down Swingin’  Because you cannot tell me he doesn’t look like the singer from Fall Out Boy.

The Best of the Bad Guys: Damien Thorn


Now, here’s a tough one to make a choice on. Damien may have been a child of few words, opting instead for a blank expression that makes Michael Myers look thoughtful or at other times going for an “I’m so cute there’s no way I killed all those cats in a satanic ritual in the parking lot of a 7-11!” type of vibe. But to be honest, Damien had no idea he was the son of Satan in the first film. So, he was probably just being a kid who just so happened to look like you might want to consider dropping him off at a Fire Station. 

We all know the best quote of the franchise, or at least the most popular one. But that doesn’t come from Damien himself. Rather from the party pooper at his fifth birthday party. And if we wanted to? We could easily go back to The Final Conflict as Damien lets loose on his life-sized Jesus statue in the dark (one that can probably be found at any antique sale in the South if you’re interested) “Show man instead the raptures of Thy kingdom. Infuse in him the grandeur of melancholy, the divinity of loneliness, the purity of evil, the paradise of pain. What perverted imagination has fed man the lie that Hell festers in the bowels of the Earth? There is only one Hell, the leaden monotony of human existence. There is only one Heaven, the ecstasy of my Father’s kingdom.” 

For the best quote, however, I’m going to go with a moment in 1978’s Damien: The Omen II. Specifically, when Damien decides to break a guy named Mark’s heart in a way that hasn’t been done since Tom Delonge left Blink-182 for the second time.

Right after Mark discovers Damien is the antichrist in the woods he bellows out this “Maybe I am the bad guy, so what?” gem: “Yes. Born in the image of the greatest power in the world! The desolate one! But he has risen Mark, in me!”  Jonathan Scott-Taylor acted the hell out of this uber-tense moment in the film where his best friend and person you could tell he truly cared about, finds out he is indeed the wicked one. It’s a moment where you could tell all Damien wants to do is go play some Goldeneye and eat some Cheetos with his best friend but that’s no longer a possibility and he’s going to have to force choke his best friend to death instead. 

Damien: Omen II

Speaking of which, let’s move on to Damien’s best kill. 

This is a category that is a little tough for us to sort our way through, as many of the kills that take place in The Omen franchise don’t come from Damien himself. He didn’t even realize he had the power of Satan within him until halfway through his second movie. So, most of his bidding was done by the evil forces protecting him. A dog will show up and as they do completely possess us to forget who and what we are at that moment until we have sufficiently pet the animal. In this case, though, they usually possess folks to jump off a building or commit murder because these dogs are hellhounds sent to protect Damien. I still want to pet them. Later, we’ll have a section solely for the kills of those doing Damien’s bidding but for now, let us focus on Damien’s personal treasure trove of terror…

Starting with an honorable mention to an amazing scene (although it probably doesn’t count) when Damien straight-up verbally murdered that military teacher in The Omen II who tried to challenge him with knowledge. You know that still keeps that guy awake some nights in a cold sweat of embarrassment. We all have those moments, don’t we? Ugh. Then there’s the death of Ann Thorn which takes place at the end of Damien: The Omen II. As Damien looks on, Ann really M Night Shyamalan’s us all by declaring she’s “always belonged to him” before plunging the daggers of Christ into Richard and screaming Damien’s name like she was in Rocky IV. You would think Damien would be pleased by this but he shows us just how depraved he is as he decides to become that Sid kid from Toy Story and burn her alive just for funsies. He uses his demonic abilities to blow up the boiler room with her inside of it and just walks away smiling as she burns. A kill that shows just what kind of evil we’re in store for now that Damien’s ready to get down with the sickness. Then he just nonchalantly has the driver pick him up, probably having him stop by McDonald’s for a chicken nugget Happy Meal with zero remorse. We’re all in deep sh*t.  

The Final Conflict featured most of Damien’s personal murder spree as he willfully caused a man trying to assassinate him to burn to death while swinging from a rope the way the guy from Taking Back Sunday swings microphones, used a small child as a human shield, and once again used animals at his disposal to take out a few guys who were really bad at doing murder. The best and my official choice for Damien’s best kill comes from this film as well… the death of the US Ambassador played by Robert Arden.

The Ambassador is walking peacefully around a park when suddenly, as if the Taco Bell from last night just kicked in, straightens up and begins walking briskly to his office on a mission (you know the walk).  He requests a press conference before John Kramer-style rigging a gun to his desk. He sits calmly at his desk as the press make their way to his office. Then, as they open the door the gun goes off, killing him in front of everyone in a very grisly fashion. Even with this gnarly-ness, it’s arguable whether this was a full-on Damien kill but it’s tough with this franchise. We know for a fact it was sanctioned and done by his will. So that’s good enough for me.

The Omen remake

The Best Kill In Damien’s Name

Now we get to have some real fun. The deaths committed in Damien’s name! I should work on my definition of fun. But you’re here too, so stop judging me. Immediately what comes to mind and what I will also give this award to, has to be the opening kill of the franchise which is as creepy and ominous as they come. Everyone knows the scene when the nanny is possessed by the dog and announces herself to the entire party before jumping to her death and setting the mood that would last the entire film. The mood honestly promised something far more messed up than anything the franchise could live up to afterward. It’s one thing to have a moment like this happen in a film but another entirely to have it be the tone setter for the franchise in the same way Michael’s opening kill of Judith was in Halloween or Casey Becker’s death in Scream. 

I can’t choose anything over it HOWEVER I will give several honorable mentions to some great death scenes throughout The Omen Franchise. A personal favorite for just how gruesome and insane it is… the reporter’s death in Damien: The Omen II. This lady ends up stranded on a road in the middle of nowhere before a gaggle of crows literally eat her face, causing her to be hit by a truck and thrown into the air Meet Joe Black style in a kill that will have you just as guffawed as Jason’s sleeping bag smackdown in The New Blood. Who can forget the train sequence in the same film where Dr. Charles Warren gets picked up by a train and smashed into another one right in his Bugenhagen’s? 

My official runner-up, however, belongs to the extremely overbearing nanny, Mrs. Blaylock, in the original film. I mean, seriously if this lady had tried to tell me what to do with my kids the way she did? I would have stone-cold stunned her into a different franchise. Or just fired her, probably. But I would have wanted to. In the scene, the camera zooms into her face as she gets a lightbulb above her head watching Damien ride his tricycle around the halls on one of the upper floors like he was Mario Kart racing Danny from The Shining. She then somehow puts his mind into a trance and sends him and his tricycle banging into his mother as she tries to hang a plant over the balcony. He bumps into her and in maybe the meanest “Oh my God I’m about to fall from an extremely high place and there’s nothing I can do to stop it” moments ever, his mother slowly slips as Damien stares at her, completely indifferent. Richard Donner does us no favors in this moment by showing us the entire fall in excruciating detail. The mother survives but neither the goldfish nor her unborn child do. Adding this to one of the meanest deaths attributed to Damien’s Mon-star squad. 

The Final Conflict

Damien’s Most Messed Up Moment:

In a world where this guy is the actual antichrist and trying to kill Jesus and take over the world, you could argue that his entire existence is as messed up as could be. And you’d be right. However, if we had to attribute it to one storyline in the franchise it’d have to be the whole “I want to murder every newborn baby born on March 24th, 1981” thing in The Final Conflict. You see, Damien has realized that the second coming is born during a lineup of a specific constellation of stars and can feel that his new adversary had been born on that date. So, he orders his followers to seek out and murder every newborn baby born on that day. And these sick bastards do it.

In a scene that feels all too much like “homework day” in David Fincher’s Fight Club, we watch in horror as his disciples take out newborn babies. They hit a baby buggy with a car, nurses turn off their oxygen in the hospital and even priests choke them to death while baptizing them right in front of their families. Damien eventually even orders his own right-hand man to go home and murder his baby boy who was born on that date. The man refuses and Damien possesses the wife to take an iron to them both. That’s right. An iron. Makes you wonder if it’s this lady from Halloween Kills’ origin story. She looks like she’s been through some stuff. Even for a guy who uses kids as a human shield and wants to break Satan out of jail to rule over all of us, this one felt extra twisted. 

Damien had more help than likely any other bad guy we’ll end up talking about in this series as he had the wind of hell at his back from Rottweilers to powerful businessmen. With power like that he kind of just does what he wants to throughout his films, only being stopped in The Final Conflict. Which brings to question what was Damien’s best walk-off ending? There are only two choices that make sense here. The previously discussed twisted Firestarter ending of Damien: The Omen II or in the first film.

As much as I love the coolness of the ending of the second film, today we’re going with the original ending that would have suited the franchise well even if it had never made a follow-up. Not only has Damien at this point managed to make even the ever-cool Gregory Peck completely lose his mind but (whether you believe he knew what he was doing or not) manages to let his innocence take the steering wheel right at the moment the cops show up and see a grown man trying to stab a small child in a church with a dagger. They do what any of us would in that situation and shoot the guy, leading to a shot of young Damien at his funeral, having been presumably adopted by the gosh darn President of the United States of America. He smiles at the camera and we all know we’re screwed.

Well, with that shiny, happy thought to leave you with, we’re off to the city of Megiddo to see a man named Bugenhagen. I hope you enjoyed this edition of The Best of The Bad Guys. We’ll likely all have different favorite kills, quotes, and moments so please share yours with us below and remember…when a priest tries to pass off a newborn baby to you just say no. Just as a general rule of thumb. One of the rules I try and live by. Right up there with wearing your seatbelt and not ever, ever buying a used copy of The Exorcist from a sketchy yard sale. That thing is haunted. Have a great day everyone!

The previous episode of The Best of the Bad Guys can be seen below, along with a sample episode of one of our other shows. To see more, click over to the JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.