Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Village of the Damned

Wolf Rilla's Village of the Damned starts off normally. The residents of Midwich go about with their day, expecting nothing out of the ordinary. But at the stroke of eleven o'clock, they all go unconscious. Nearly four hours later, they wake up unharmed...or are they?

A few months pass and several of the village's women have given birth to blonde-haired children.(The news of these simultaneous pregnancies sparked some rumors throughout town.) These children develop faster, much to the amazement of Prof. Gordon Zellaby (George Sanders), whose "son" David (Martin Stephens) is amongst this group. But soon things take a dark turn...

Usually when people think of British horror films, more often than not their first thoughts are towards those made by Hammer Film Productions and/or ones where Christopher Lee is involved. But with Village of the Damned, it has an Oscar winner as its lead. (And in a bit of playing against type too!)

Speaking of which, this was clearly a change of pace for Sanders. Here's a performer whose roles usually consisted of his character his utter disdain for humanity, so to see Sanders as a more kindly figure is something of a shock. But surprisingly, it's a casting decision that's an inspired one.

Village of the Damned was amongst the coming decade's many films wrought with paranoia. (Hey, it was during the Cold War.) It may not have the blood and gore usually found in the horror genre but this is the kind of picture even the squeamish can enjoy. (Oh, and it predates Rosemary's Baby in convincing the viewer to never have children ever.)

My Rating: ****

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