Village of the Damned (1960)

Village of the Damned PosterWhen British novelist John Wyndham wasn’t busy crafting stories about killer plants taking over the world (The Day Of The Triffids), he was busy crafting stories about killer brats taking over the world. Village of the Damned is the movie version of his novel The Midwich Cuckoos and an interesting premise is let down by an abrupt and unsatisfying ending.

The small British town of Midwich is the center for a host of bizarre events. First of all, all their cows have fainted. All the people have fainted as well, but I thought seeing a bunch of cows lying down in the fields was more entertaining than seeing people laying all over the town like they were sleeping off a weekend drunk.

A military man named Alan, whose sister lives in the town, takes off from work early to go visit her and her hubby and sees a cop pedaling toward Midwich. He tells Alan that he has jumped on his 10 speed Schwinn to go find out what’s happened to the bus that was supposed to be coming from Midwich.

Alan watches as the cop pedals down the road to check out the wrecked bus. The cop then suddenly faints, does an endo with his bike like he was trying out for the X-Games and eats blacktop into unconsciousness.

Village of the Damned 1Alan turns his car around and heads back to HQ. But what about Alan’s sister who lives in Midwich? You could tell by the exhaust he left in Midwich’s direction that Al decided his sister has got a husband who can take care of her and that he probably shouldn’t butt in on them.

Soon everyone including the cows wake up. The government types swarm into the town with their Geiger Counters, metal detectors, and fuzz busters to see if they can dig up any dirt on this unexplained happening, but to no avail.

Thereafter, life in Midwich returns to normal, at least for about a month when suddenly every woman of child bearing age is pregnant.

Alan’s sister Anthea and her professor husband Gordon are excited about the prospect of having an alien baby. Of course at this point they still think the kid is going to look more like Gordon rather than one of those slimy hand puppets with fangs and claws that would probably rape its own mother if it didn’t already kill her by ripping its way out of her womb!

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I think they were really excited because this is one of those marriages where the woman has married her dad. This is the science fiction part of the movie. You’ve got this hot woman who seems fairly intelligent hooked up with this old fart played by George Sanders.

Once Althea figures out that everybody in town is pregnant she kind of gets depressed about her unborn child. She lays around a lot, frowning and pouting that Professor Gordon probably isn’t the father and scared that she’s got some alien spawn running around in her innards. Interestingly enough, this doesn’t seem to phase Gordon who remains excited about the prospect of raising Damien or whatever is in the womb.

Once the children are born they’re pretty much like us, except for some minor details. They all have peroxide blonde hair, they’ve got different fingernails from us, they grow really fast, and if one of these kids learns something, they all know it. They also have this annoying tendency to control people’s minds when they get mad.

Althea is forced to boil her hand in scalding water after she gives the baby milk that was too warm, a guy drives himself into a wall when he accidentally runs over a kid, and another guy blows his head off after trying to shoot some of the kids. It’s understandable why these kids have this persecution complex. What kind of town are they running there in Midwich? It sure doesn’t seem very kid friendly.

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The kids are genuinely creepy and it was a neat idea to use what are normally thought of as cute little boogers as cold, calculating invaders. You really get a good sense of unease whenever these kids gather in their little group and just stare at you with their glowing eyes.

Nothing as to their origin is really explained, but that isn’t as irritating as the bogus finish. I don’t want to ruin it for any of you, but what sort of professor pulls a time bomb made out of dynamite sticks from his desk drawer?

I also didn’t really understand the motivation of Gordon when he agreed to teach these kids when it was obvious that they had evil intentions. He knew the kid his wife had wasn’t his, yet he still babbled about how he wanted the kid to exceed Einstein. Well, sure he’ll exceed Einstein because he isn’t human! I also didn’t understand why he suddenly switched from wanting to teach them to deciding to do away with them.

An interesting attempt to do something a bit different with some atmospheric moments whenever the kids get cranky, but a cheap ending and weak main character ultimately do it in.

© 2016 MonsterHunter

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