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Village of the Damned/Children of the Damned

4.2 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Village of the Damned/Children of the Damned (DVD) (Multi-Title)

We have met the enemies and they are our children. Well, perhaps not OUR children, and that's the problem: they are the offspring of aliens who secretly impregnated human women. That's the riveting premise of Village of the Damned, a science-fiction classic rife with paranoia and set in England's Midwich. There, the glow-eyed humanoids develop at an alarming rate and use astonishing powers of mind to assert their supremacy. Woe to parents or anyone who defies them. Yet one intrepid soul (George Sanders) does. It's "yesterday Midwich, tomorrow the world" in the sequel Children of the Damned. Unusually gifted youngsters who might be a leap forward in human evolution are brought from around the globe to England for scientific study - and then the terror hits with full force. Children, behave!

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What's scarier than scary kids? Village of the Damned is the definitive scary-kid classic, a truly unsettling film drawn from John Wyndham's novel The Midwich Cuckoos. The brilliant opening sequence depicts the sudden and temporary paralysis of a small English hamlet, which is followed by the town's women becoming mysteriously pregnant. The spawn of this occurrence are a dozen eerie, blond-headed children, who are either gifted, evil, or "the world's new people." A splendid outing, not least in the way it catches parental anxiety about this small new stranger in one's home. (It was remade by John Carpenter in 1995.)

Children of the Damned follows up with a story about six more creepy kids, brought from all over the globe to huddle in a old church in London. An excellent opening half-hour gets bogged down in the movie's global-political ambitions (it's very much a cold war offering), but it has its share of shivery moments--the sight of the six youngsters striding down a London street as though they controlled the world is a chiller. But where's the blond hair? The two films are different in tone; Village feels like a fifties sci-fi offering, with an old-school star (George Sanders) and classical style; Children is a film of the sixties, with hipper techniques, urban setting, and young actors Ian Hendry and Alan Badel. But both have those damned kids. --Robert Horton


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen, Dolby
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 13, 2005
  • Run Time: 167 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00027JYMG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,469 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Village of the Damned/Children of the Damned" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A cool double-feature DVD from Warner Home Video.

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED:

As with INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) before it, 1960's VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED is a cold-war allegory that uses extraterrestrial infiltration to represent Western fears of Communist invasion. Even so, this flick is still one of the best SF thrillers ever made, and it has become one of the SF cinema classics.

When a group of albino children born under mysterious circumstances begin to demonstrate superhuman mental prowess, they come to be viewed by their community and the military as a threat to the survival of mankind. Though faithful to the novel on which it is based--THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS by Brit SF author John Wyndham--the film is in many ways more frightening, mainly due to simple but effective special FX and outstanding performances from adult leads George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, and Michael Gwynn and from child actor Martin Stephens. Indeed, the unusually reserved and sympathetic performance from Sanders--well known in England at the time for his over-the-top portrayals of villains or cynical antiheroes--makes the film's climax extremely dramatic and affecting.

Caveat: Avoid John Carpenter's far inferior 1995 remake.

CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED:

1963's CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED was originally marketed and is still often regarded today as the sequel to the 1960 classic VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. However, the second film's script diverges so drastically from the characters and premise of the first that it is not, in actuality, a continuation of or branch-off from the same narrative--super-intelligent children are the only common story element.
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Format: DVD
"Village of the Damned" is the 60s sci-fi classic steeped in paranoia and set in England's Midwich. It seems that this picturesque district was visited by aliens who secretly impregnated the town's human women. Suddenly, blonde haired clone like boys and girls begin to pop up all over the countryside. These glowing-eyed humanoids have but one purpose - to use their intellectual superiority as mind-control over the adults in order to conquer the world. Top billed are George Sanders and Barbara Shelley as Gordon and Anthea Zellaby. Gordon is first to recognize that the town's children are not what they seem. But will he be in time and of enough strong will to stop this slow plague of brainwashing? The chilling screenplay by Stirling Siliphant (based on the novel, "The Midwich Cuckoos") and nimble direction by Wolf Rilla builds to a climax of unsettling terror that even today holds audiences spellbound. This classic film comes as a double feature with its sequel "Children of the Damned." Moving the location from countryside to a London school for the gifted, a professor (Alan Badel) assembles high I.Q. moppets from around the world for an intellectual experiment that goes horribly awry. The sequel has its merits but it lacks in the visceral and unsettling terror associated with the original. In 1995 "Village of the Damned" was remade by scare-master, John Carpenter with Kristie Alley and Christopher Reeve - but with decidedly predictable and less than stellar rewards.

Warner's DVD is outstanding. The image is remarkably clean, with a very solid and beautifully rendered gray scale, deep blacks and excellent contrast levels. Fine details are fully realized. There is a total lack of edge effects and other digital anomalies for an exceptionally smooth visual presentation.
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Format: VHS Tape
The best-known horror movie from 1960 is probably Alfred Hitchcock's `Psycho'. But a number of other very good movies were made that year. One of them is `The Time Machine', and also this one, `The Village of the Damned'. I very much like the opening scenes where everybody falls asleep and the policeman falls to the ground when walking into the village. The sleeping man on the tractor and the phonograph adds to the `spooky' feeling of the movie. The rest of the movie is very good too, but not quite as good as the opening. The ending is a little abrupt and sudden and I would have liked to know a little more of what happened afterwards, maybe. The children look very weird and funny, with their white hair and big, hypnotic eyes and give the movie an eerie feeling.
Overall, this is a very good movie. I gave it a four, but if I could, I would have given it four and a half. I really recommend you to see this movie. It is a classic. Maybe I should read the book and go see the sequel (`Children of the Damned') and John Carpenter's remake now...
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Format: VHS Tape
John Wyndham is today remembered primarily for his two excellent English Sci-fi classics THE MIDWICH CUCKOOS and THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS. Both were made into enduring Sci-fi films, but VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED is by far the better of the two (as well as the better of the two film versions of Wyndham's books). There are several reasons this movie stands out.
First, there is the incredible contrast between the everyday, matter-of-fact attitude of all the village's inhabitants and the rather amazing children who are born to its female residents. The village is so utterly average and unspectacular. The matter-of-factness extends to the visual style of the film as well. Some of the more compelling scenes occur early on when no one is able to enter the village without passing out. There is no milking the scenes for effect, such as when an airplane flies over the village, and slowly plunges to earth, the pilot having apparently fallen into a trance. The way several people experimentally explore the edges of the village serves to intensify the mystery.
A second reason the film stands out are the way in which the children themselves are conceived. They are genuinely creepy, with their vacant expressions, blonde, Nazi-like demeanor, and strikingly clear eyes.
Finally, the movie succeeds because George Sanders does his usual magnificent turn as the lone person the children seem to trust, and the one person who does not seem to fear them. Both his character, and the manner in which he interrelates with the children are crucial the overall success of the film.
Although more Sci-fi was produced in Great Britain in the 1950s and early 1960s than many might realize, this is probably the finest of the bunch. Not merely that, it is one of the finest Sci-fi films of the era.
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Village of the Damned/Children of the Damned
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