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Thursday, March 18, 2010

VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960)


Simple, but highly effective low-budget horror film about a small British town that collectively sinks into a coma for half a day. Seven months later, all the fertile women deliver weirdly beautiful blonde kids who rapidly grow into brilliant, emotionless children. A local outbreak of Asperger’s Syndrome or an alien invasion via stealth conception? George Sanders, in remarkably sobersided form, is the local scientist (and ‘father’ to one of the boys) who thinks he can teach the little heathens humanity as one might teach table manners. His optimism will be sorely tried. Helmer Wolf Rilla avoids shocks tactics & showy effects, but his homely blandness gets under your skin in its own way, turning the ordinary into a cudgel of terror. The end product is creepier than scores of better known fright flicks.


SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Young Martin Stephens followed up his demonic child in this film with another off-kilter kid in THE INNOCENTS/’61, based on the Henry James classic THE TURN OF THE SCREW. In that film, he uses his own voice, but he sounds dubbed in this one. And by a young woman. Creepier & creepier.

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