This Child Actor Had No Idea They Were In A Horror Movie

Horror movies cover a wide spectrum of the things that scare us, and creepy kids are responsible for some of the most haunting and iconic moments in movie history. Linda Blair terrified audiences as Regan MacNeil in "The Exorcist," Lisa and Louise Burns as The Grady Sisters in "The Shining" are so recognizable, even people who have never seen the movie are afraid of them, and most people can't look at Haley Joel Osment without thinking of his memorable line, "I see dead people," from "The Sixth Sense." Plenty of parents are hesitant to expose their children to horror films out of concern that it may give them nightmares or cause them to develop a lifelong phobia, so the idea of willingly allowing a child to star in a horror film may sound like a step too far for many.

Fortunately, thanks to the magic of editing and solid directing advice, many children happily perform in horror films without ever fully realizing what's really happening in the movie around them. Danny Lloyd, who played young Danny Torrance in "The Shining," famously had no idea he was in a horror movie, believing to be in a family drama set in a hotel. Danny has his fair share of creepy moments in the film, but he isn't the source of the horror, which made it a bit easier for Kubrick to protect him. But what happens when the villain of a horror movie is a child? Enter: The 2006 remake of "The Omen" starring seven-year-old Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.

Damien, the son of the Devil

Based on the 1976 film of the same name, "The Omen" is about Robert Thorn, an American diplomat stationed in Italy whose wife unfortunately endures a stillborn. With Katherine Thorn still unconscious after the traumatic birth, the hospital's chaplain Catholic priest, Father Spiletto, suggests that Robert adopt a newly orphaned newborn. Robert agrees and claims the baby as his own, unbeknownst to his wife. The duo name the child Damien, and do their best to raise him in a loving home. In the years that follow, Robert's career skyrockets, becoming the Deputy Ambassador to the Court of St. James in the United Kingdom, moving his family to a beautiful estate. Unfortunately, as Damien grows older, suspicious events begin to unfold around the family, including the horrific death of Damien's first nanny during his birthday party.

Damien later attacks Katherine, zoo animals react violently at the sight of Damien, he gains a Satanic nanny and a fiercely defensive rottweiler, and carnage seems to follow the family everywhere they go. A clergyman involved in Damien's birth approaches Robert to tell him the truth about his son and as it turns out, Damien's mother is a jackal, and he is the son of the Devil–the Antichrist incarnate. As Robert and Katherine have both bonded with Damien and view him as their son, they struggle to accept the truth of his lineage which eventually leads to their demise. Everything bad that happens in "The Omen" is because of Damien, but director John Moore managed to keep young Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick from learning the truth of his character, fearing that it would be too much to handle.

Moore never told Davey-Fitzpatrick the truth

According to a report from World Entertainment News Network, Davey-Fitzpatrick was merely told that he was playing "Damien" and that Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles were playing his parents, Robert and Katherine. Moore and the rest of the cast and crew never told him the truth of his character, fearing "the realization he was Satan's son would freak him out." As Julia Stiles tells it, "They didn't get into telling him he would be playing the devil ...they spared him that because he was too young to understand it." She did mention that Moore would refer to Davey-Fitzpatrick's terrifying look to the camera as "the Damien face," and that Davey-Fitzpatrick was "really obedient" whenever Moore needed him to make the thousand-yard stare directly into the audience's souls.

With the original version of "The Omen" being largely considered as a classic horror film, any remake is going to have some pretty big shoes to fill. While 2006's "The Omen" earned mostly negative reviews from critics, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick was praised for his performance, even earning the Fangoria Chainsaw Award for "Creepiest Kid." Moore knew that they had found their Damien in Davey-Fitzpatrick during his screen-test, which was so unsettling it was later used for the film's teaser trailer. In the years since, Davey-Fitzpatrick has continued acting, appearing as Hank in "Before Midnight," Roosevelt in "Moonrise Kingdom," teenage Bobby Fischer in "Pawn Sacrifice," and a handful of short films as recently as 2020. He may not have known he was supposed to be the most feared presence on earth, but somehow, Davey-Fitzpatrick managed to pull it off, and scare audiences senseless.