Directed by Wolf Rilla [Other horror films: N/A]
This is a classic that I’ve never loved. Now to be honest, “never” entails a whole of now two full viewings, but that aside, the story isn’t really my cup of tea. It’s not the movie’s fault – I also didn’t much care for The Gamma People (1956) for similar reasons. That said, I maybe enjoyed the film a bit more this time around, but it’s still not a movie that I’d consider a go-to for the 1960’s.
The first twenty minutes are all on point, though, when a mysterious blackout occurs affecting everyone in a small village (and by blackout, I mean everyone blacks out, not that there’s some concerns of an electrical nature) and in a sequence reminiscence of the The Stand mini-series, we see multiple downed people which was pretty ominous. Once they come to, all of the women who were able were pregnant, and here’s where my interest waned.
I don’t know what the state of abortions were in the United Kingdom in 1960. I know that in 1967, abortions became legal, so if they had just been more progressively-minded, there may not have been a problem here at all. Surely the women who hadn’t even have had sex would have probably taken care of the problem, and many of the other women too, who had husbands that thought they were cheating on them, would have also terminated the pregnancies.
Regardless, it was a backwards time then, and the children are born, and they’re all Aryan. There are some interesting conversations about other places in the world where this has happened, along with the aftermath, but a group of emotionless kids with psychic powers isn’t really my idea of a fun time.
It’s not something that anyone in the cast (George Sanders, Michael Gwynn, or Barbara Shelley) could have fixed, because they all did fine (especially Sanders and Martin Stephens, who played one of the kids, and who was also in The Innocents), and I even found the ending to be decent (although not altogether surprising), but it’s a well-made movie with a story I don’t love, and that’s something that I can’t lie about.
Village of the Damned is a decent movie. It looks nice, there are some good actors in it, and there are occasionally some decent scenes here. It’s also not all that long, even if you are not having the best time with it. For classic horror, it’s a lesser movie for me, but it’s still around average prolly.
6 thoughts on “Village of the Damned (1960)”
To me, Village Of The Damned, its sequel, remake by John Carpenter and current miniseries version signify how a species defines itself by the ways that it deals with its enemies for the sake of survival. It feels rewarding enough, even with the sacrifice of our hero in the brick wall sequence, to have an ultimate reassurance that the human spirit can finally prevail. When we comprehend how an alien species devoid of emotion can be doomed in that sense, we can certainly appreciate how emotion is a traditional strength in science fiction. As for the forced pregnancy issues for women paralleling a great deal for its time and obviously today, John Wyndham’s classic is certainly worth revisiting. So I can recommend The Midwich Cuckoos which has excellent drama, heartfelt acting and impressive twists. Thank you for your review of the original movie.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I’ve not heard of The Midwich Cuckoos – might be worth checking out depending on availability here. I’m not too big on TV series, but occasionally they’re a good way to spend the time, and seeing another adaptation of this could be fun.
I will say, in regards to the 1995 remake, I don’t remember a ton about it, but I am quite interested in seeing that one again once time allows.
Thanks for the comment.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The Midwich Cuckoos is airing on Showcase, which I currently can’t get. So a friend helped me out. I just binge-watched all seven episodes on the weekend. I’m not as big on TV series either nowadays as I used to be when I was younger. There are still some shows that intrigue me enough, certainly in the sci-fi universe.
LikeLiked by 1 person