Village of the Damned/Children of the Damned
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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!]]>
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
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Stephen C. Bird, Author of "Any Resemblance To A Coincidence Is Accidental"