Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Village of the Damned (1960)

Running Time: 77 minutes
Directed By: Wolf Rilla
Written By: Stirling Silliphant, Wolf Rilla, Ronald Kinnoch, from novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
Main Cast: George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Martin Stephens, Michael Gwynn, Laurence Naismith
Click here to view the trailer


Arriving at the oldest film contained in this year's FRIGHTFEST festivities, we come to the 1960 film "Village of the Damned", which was renamed to lesser avail in 1995, by John Carpenter. I hadn't seen either version and was excited to check this one out.

The film begins interestingly enough with all the citizens of the small, British town of Midwich fainting at exactly the same time, one afternoon. The main character, Gordon Zellaby (Sanders), happens to be on the phone with his brother-in-law when he suddenly drops the receiver and falls to the ground. His brother-in-law, alarmed at Gordon's sudden disappearance, heads to Midwich and, through a series of discoveries, realizes that whenever anyone crosses the line into Midwich, they faint. A few hours later, however, everyone wakes up, just assuming they've fallen suddenly fallen asleep for some strange reason. After about two months, another strange occurrence happens, as all the women suddenly become pregnant. Some women, like Gordon's wife Anthea (Shelley) is ecstatic about the impending birth of her and Gordon's first child. Others, like a married woman who's husband has just returned home after twelve months, are accused of infidelity and are shamed. When the children are born, it is discovered that they all weigh just over ten pounds, they were all born with strange eyes and that they're all a little more advanced than they should be. It is also discovered later, that the children seem to have some sort of link, whereas when one of them learns something, they all do. After a while, the children grow to a walking age and it also becomes apparent that their glowing eyes can control the will of grown men. If they want something to happen, all they need do is stare at you, with their shiny, glowing eyes and they will get what they desire. It later becomes apparent that the children must be destroyed.

I didn't have too many problems with this movie, but I didn't go crazy for it either. In my opinion, the film had a lot of potential early on, with the fainting residents of Midwich and even the plot twist of all the women in town becoming pregnant. But I'd seen advertisements for this movie before and even the 1995 version and I knew that the film had something to do with children as the villains and their glowing eyes. In a perfect world (for my money anyway) we'd have just kept the town of Midwich fainted and rode that train to the end. What made everyone faint? How can we get people in there to get them awake, without the people we send in fainting? This could've been very interesting, sort of like "Under the Dome" but without the dome. I've always said that I don't like films with children in the main roles and this is really no exception, however, I didn't loathe the film or anything. It's just that it didn't seem to have enough high points and featured too much talking from the main characters. If you think about it, the only real shocking moments in this movie are the two occasions where the children use their glowing stare for evil: 1) when they force a man to wreck his car and 2) when they force a man to shoot himself. That's really it. Add in maybe three or four more of these moments and spread them out a little and I think we have a winner. As it is, I'll keep this review short and call it a mediocre time at the movies.

RATING: 6/10  Remember, tomorrow is not only the conclusion of FRIGHTFEST, but will also be the very first SIN OF OMISSION film. What is a Sin of Omission film? Well, there will be a hefty paragraph tomorrow explaining all the details, as I unveil the conclusion to the FRIGHTFEST festivities and I'll go ahead and tell you now that the film is a '10/10'!

October 30, 2013  1:44pm


  1. Hi Andrew..
    I think this one of mine wasn't it? Sorry you were not over impressed, but 6 is over half way, so lets settle for that.

    1. Yeah, it was good enough and I'm glad I saw it. No need for apologies...

  2. I either forgot or never realized that the Village of the Damned in 1995 was a remake. That's the one I always think of. Interesting! I may have to check this one out now to compare.

    1. I've never seen the 1995 one, so I'm no help there. Glad I got you inspired to see it though!


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