Village of the Damned/Children of the Damned
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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!]]>
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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...
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It WAS 1960!!! This was a really scary time, for very real reasons. Cold War politics made us dream of some kind of Monster From Space that would unite all the peoples of the... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Rebecca Morgan
Really provides a feel for post-war England, small town, social mores....and weird kids. Great Saturday afternoon movie -- lotsa popcorn!Published 1 month ago by Bailey
I watched these movies on TV as a kid and even got to see them in the movies. The quality is excellent on DVD. I was very happy to find them both in one set. Read morePublished 1 month ago by CarlitosInPR
Arrive in excellent condition and played perfectly. Thanks!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
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