This film from Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon films), which was released in 1976, is a no brainer for my halloween pick. Evil children films are a dime a dozen starting way back with Wolf Rilla’s masterpiece of sci fi horror, Village of the Damned. Others are not so noteworthy, though.
What sets this horror film apart is a few things. You actually care for the characters. Gregory Peck turns in a stoic performance as Robert Thorn who takes in the orphaned Damien after he loses his real son in childbirth. Lee Remick is perfect as Kathy Thorn who throughout the film carries a burden of dread as she starts to learn that her son may not hers. But it’s Billie Whitelaw as Mrs Blaylock who turns in the best and scariest performance. As Damien’s nanny she protects Damien and sees that no harm comes to him. The final confrontation between her and Peck is iconic.
The kills are very inventive and shocking. Especially for 1976.The biggest plus is Jerry Goldsmith’s creepy, choral score. Nothing before it has ever been composed and turned into an immediate iconic score. Much like Herrmann’s “Psycho” score.
There is much to love in this frightening horror film like the scariest kid ever put on celluloid, Damien Thorn, played eerily by the cherubic looking Harvey Stephens. Enjoy. Highly recommened!