When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline.
Synopsis: Based on John Wyndham’s book The Midwich Cuckoos, this film tells the story of a small village in England in which everyone in town mysteriously blacks out. When they wake up, all the women of childbearing years discover they are pregnant. When the children are born, they are immediately seen as different.
Each one has blonde hair and disturbing eyes. The kids grow at an accelerated rate, and they seem to have a psychic bond with each other. As the children get older, a professor in town becomes their sole teacher, and the town is acutely aware of their emotionless nature. Soon, they start to develop strange powers, including the ability to control the actions of others and bore into other people’s minds. After a series of deaths, the people in the village try to find a way to get rid of the children.
Killer Scene: When the children start to really assert their power, we are treated to some pretty impressive scenes of evil, 1960s-style. In one scene, they force a man to crash his truck, but even more disturbing is a moment where they compel a farmer to stuck a double-barreled shotgun under his chin and blow his head off. The gore is off-screen, of course. After all, it is the 60s, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.
Violence: Like I said, this was made in the 60s, before horror movies experienced the violent revolution they did in the 70s. So expect PG-rated kills in this movie. But violence does happen, and with the backdrop of evil kids with the ability to control one’s actions, there’s an extra level of creepiness to it. But if you want blood and gore, check out the truly awful John Carpenter remake from the 90s, though I don’t recommend it.
Sex: Are you kidding me? It was 1960, and British, no less. I suppose if you’re into the whole Donna Reed look with sensible shoes and house dresses, this flick will make you moist. But your only naughty moments are when people are accused of having affairs. And since they get pregnant by some unseen force, you don’t even get a hint of a sex scene.
Scares: Like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the scares in Village of the Dammed is all of a psychological nature, but it works perfectly in the film. The movie gets in your head, especially when you see the otherwise angelic-looking children forcing people to kill themselves. Like any good psychological horror, Village of the Dammed gets you thinking what it would be like if this happened to you, and that’s a fantastic alternative to a movie loaded with blood, gore and nothing else.
Final Thoughts: Village of the Damned is an often overlooked movie when it comes to horror fans. Be it the black-and-white production or the 60s sanitation, it’s a little too late for the atomic horror of the 50s and too early for the video nasties of the 70s. But it’s a damned good film, if you’ll pardon the pun. There was a crappy sequel made a four years later, and that John Carpenter abortion in 1995, but neither one managed to live up to the disturbing level of creepiness of this original.