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25. Damien: Omen II (1978)

Director: Don Taylor
Stars: William Holden, Lee Grant, Jonathan Scott-Taylor, Robert Foxworth

Director Richard Donner’s 1976 classic The Omen is one of horror’s bleakest and coldest crowd-pleasers, with nary a laugh in it and scares rooted in realism, aside from that glorious plate-glass decapitation. For the unnecessary sequel, Damien: Omen II, the filmmakers wisely exaggerated the tone in an effort to give the follow-up its own identity, a move that, while giving the film a goofier aesthetic, makes Omen II more fun to watch.

Picking up seven years after Satan spawn Damien survived the first film’s events, Don Taylor’s sequel centers on a much more tactful kid, now 13 years old and able to implode enemies’ brains with self-inflicted aneurysms. There’s also a killer scene in which a guy is split in half by elevator cables, and another where a woman’s eyes get picked apart by a raven before she’s flattened by a truck. Not exactly the slow-burning tension of Donner’s flick, but you’ve got to appreciate Taylor’s willingness to go the extra mile.

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