If you enjoyed seeing people's brains splatered all over the street in "The Godfather," or Carrie's mother getting stabbed to death, or people getting their legs bit off by sharks in "Jaws," you'll love "Damien: Omen II."
This bloody sequel to "The Omen" reaches new glory depths. It makes its gruesome predecessor seem positively uplifting. And the worst thing about it is that your friends and neighbors loved it.
For those lucky enough to have missed the first installment, cuddly little Damien Thorn is the son of the devil, born of a jackal - the Antichrist prophesied in the Book of Revelations. He has little red sixes tattooed on his scalp to prove it.
In Part I, the toddler Damien killed his mother and father. In part II, the adolescent Damien, played by the young British actor Jonathan Scott Taylor, comes back to polish off his foster parents - and anybody else who interferes with his plans for taking over the world.
But forget all this Antichrist stuff. It's nonsense - an excuse to portary violence. Lots of bloody, glory, senseless, gratuitous violence.
You really can't blame the filmmakers: The first "Omen" was 20th Century Fox's biggest money-maker of 1976. And judging from the audience's reactions to "Omen II," there's still nothing more relaxing on a hot summer's evening than sitting in a theater watching people getting disembowled.
They giggled when a reporter gets run over by tractor trailer after having her eyes pecked out by a giant crow. They laughed when a doctor gets cut in half by a live electrical wire. Near the end, when an earnest young museum curator gets squashed between two colliding trains, they were positively rolling in the aisles. That's the true horror of this horror movie.
None of these charming little scenes, mind you, leaves anything to the imagination. Anything. Director Don Taylor seems to be afraid that regular run-of-the-mill violence won't be gripping enough for his jaded 1978 audience, so he hits you over the head with it. You see it all, in living color, with no entrails spared.
Nor were any of these events suspenseful. The audience - perhaps because each killings was preceded by a handy little Greek chorus singing pseudo-Latin chants - knew beforehand each time someone was going to get squished. The result is that the violence doesn't even have the element of shock.
But "Omen II" doesn't have any "dirty" words, or any nudity, or, horror of horrors, any sex. So this movie, an "X" candidate if there ever was one is rated "R."
Come to think of it, the worst thing about "Damien: Omen II" isn't the slick violence. It isn't even knowing that the audience enjoyed the violence. It's the drawing realization, as little Damien systematically kills off all his enemies and gets away with it, that there's going to be an "Omen III."