Adamantium Bullet
13Oct/18

31 Days Of Horror: THE FINAL CONFLICT

For the next 31 days, we here at Adamantium Bullet will be reviewing one horror film a day leading up to Halloween. Each film will be horrific, terrifying, chilling, pulse-pounding, or flat-out awful. All will be endured in honor of the season. Expect SPOILERS. Welcome to Adamantium Bullet’s “All 80s” edition of 31 DAYS OF HORROR.

In this episode, J Bryant and AngieBee discuss the eerie 1981 epic THE FINAL CONFLICT starring Sam Neill, Lisa Harrow, Mason Adams, and Jeremy Bulloch.

In this second sequel to THE OMEN, Antichrist Damien Thorn (Sam Neill) is now a successful 32-year-old businessman ready to fulfill his destiny. As Damien is appointed United States ambassador to Britain, priests led by Father DeCarlo (Rossano Brazzi) try to kill him. While Damien prepares for the return of Jesus Christ, he takes advantage of his relationship with journalist Kate Reynolds (Lisa Harrow) to recruit her son, Peter (Barnaby Holm), as his follower.

Sixteen on-screen kills …but it’s worth noting a plot point features thirty-five babies (!!!) being killed off-screen.

Speaking of dead babies, the MOST MEMORABLE KILL in THE FINAL CONFLICT involves a baby and a hot laundry iron. Neither the kill or its aftermath is shown explicitly, but there is a brief dream sequence type glimpse of the ironed baby and it is profoundly f*cked up. Easily one of the most awful images ever shown in a mainstream horror film.

Both Damien (Sam Neill) and Kate (Lisa Harrow) get fully nude. Ave Satani!

While this category could’ve easily gone to any of number of demented bits and moments from THE FINAL CONFLICT – the "Fox Hunt", the journey of the Meggido daggers from rubble in Chicago into the hands of Father DeCarlo (Rossano Brazzi), Damien’s speech to his followers, the MOST MEMORABLE KILL, Damien’s Black Mass sanctuary room – we think the final moment is the real deal SIGNATURE MOMENT. After all, how many movies can you name end with a resurrected Jesus Christ making a quick cameo, just long enough to metaphorically rub salt into the Antichrist’s gaping back wound, all to the tune of a kick-ass Jerry Goldsmith score?

During the “Fox Hunt” sequence, one of the priests rides a horse into battle, knowing full well that Damien has the ability to control animals and make them do his bidding. There’s a life lesson to be learned here: Always know the rules and think ahead when dealing with the son of Satan.

The timeline for the OMEN franchise is a complete mess. It makes no sense. In THE OMEN, which was released and set in the year 1976, Damien is six years old, establishing his year of birth as 1970. In DAMIEN: OMEN II, which was released and set in the year 1978, Damien is twelve years old. Yes, you heard that right, little D aged six years in the space of two since the events of the first film, and twelve in the eight since his fictional birth. But wait, it gets worse! In THE FINAL CONFLICT, which is set in 1982, despite being filmed in 1979 and released in 1981, Damien is thirty two years old. He has now aged twenty years in the space of the four since the previous film, and thirty two in twelve since his birth! If a single character had said “Boy, that young man seems to age really fast!” or something along those lines, this kind of timeline f*ckery MIGHT have been okay, but no one does that. No mention is made of how he was able to go from zero to thirty two in the space of twelve on-screen years. Did the filmmakers just think audiences wouldn’t notice?

What’s hilarious is all of that just pertains to the first three OMEN films, not the spin-offs and other sequels. Per usual for the time, there were novelizations to go along with the first three OMEN films, but did you know that those novelizations spawned their own sequels? That’s right, there were sequel novels to the novelizations of the first three OMEN films. Two, to be exact: OMEN IV: ARMAGEDDON 2000 and OMEN V: THE ABOMINATION. Both dealt with Damien’s son, the product of his affair with Kate in THE FINAL CONFLICT, and both were batsh*t crazy. I’m talking “Damien’s son was born via anal birth” crazy. I’m talking “a full-on nuclear apocalypse occurs at the end of ARMAGEDDON 2000 and is promptly ignored at the beginning of THE ABOMINATION” crazy. I’m talking about …well, you get the point. They’re crazy.

Almost as crazy as OMEN IV: THE AWAKENING which was a made-for-TV sequel that should’ve just been a reboot of THE OMEN considering how the previous one ended and kind of is until it isn’t when they reveal that the Damien-esque evil little girl is actually the spawn of Damien and her new baby brother is the new Antichrist thanks to a series of events far too convoluted to detail here. Oh and THE AWAKENING totally ignores the events of ARMAGEDDON 2000, THE ABOMINATION, and kind of THE FINAL CONFLICT considering Jesus isn’t running about performing miracles and whatnot.

And what about the 1995 TV pilot for an OMEN series that didn’t get picked up and has nothing to do with the films and is mostly just a X-FILES knock-off about an evil spirit? Yeah, it’s probably best not to talk about that. It’s there, it exists, let’s move on to the 2006 reboot/remake of THE OMEN which did completely reset the timeline of the franchise …up until 2014 when it was promptly re-reset(?). Hopped up by the success of their PSYCHO reboot series BATES MOTEL, A&E decided to give the same treatment to the OMEN franchise by creating a horror drama that would ignore not only the events of the 2006 reboot, but also the events of the ALL of the other OMEN films, spin-offs, novelizations, and TV projects. The DAMIEN series was a direct sequel to the first OMEN, set in 2016, featuring a hunky twenty-something lead who should be, in logic, in his forties because of the use of flashbacks to six year old Damien in the original OMEN which was set …in 1976! WTF?!?

> According to director Graham Baker on his audio-commentary, the camera jammed whilst shooting slate 666 [the same digit as the number of the beast which appears as a birthmark on the head of Damien Thorn], filming the scene where Barbara sees a vision of her dead burnt baby.

> First international starring role in a Hollywood / American movie for New Zealand actor Sam Neill.

> Actor James Mason acted as a sponsor to the production for actor Sam Neill. Mason originally suggested to the film's producers that they should check out Neill. Producer Harvey Bernhard had Neill flown in to London for an audition, paid for by Mason. Neill later reimbursed Mason for the airfare. Neill drew on some of Mason's mannerisms for his performance and characterization.

> At the time of filming, Sam Neill and Lisa Harrow developed an off-camera relationship that produced son Tim Neill.

> The sequence where Damien Thorn speaks to a crowd of his followers was filmed in a Yorkshire quarry with around 450 extras. The scenes were shot with a very low level of available light.

> The USELESS KNOWLEDGE portion of this review was sourced from IMDB.

Posted by J. Bryant

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