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Village of the Damned/Children of the Damned

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Damned: a Bizarre and Spooky Thriller

    ¿Village of the Damned¿ is the 60s sci-fi classic steeped in paranoia and set in England¿s Midwich. It seems that this picturesque district was visited by aliens who secretly impregnated the town¿s human women. Suddenly, blonde haired clone like boys and girls begin to pop up all over the countryside. These glowing-eyed humanoids have but one purpose ¿ to use their intellectual superiority as mind-control over the adults in order to conquer the world. Top billed are George Sanders and Barbara Shelley as Gordon and Anthea Zellaby. Gordon is first to recognize that the town¿s children are not what they seem. But will he be in time and of enough strong will to stop this slow plague of brainwashing? The chilling screenplay by Stirling Siliphant (based on the novel, ¿The Midwich Cuckoos¿) and nimble direction by Wolf Rilla builds to a climax of unsettling terror that even today holds audiences spellbound. This classic film comes as a double feature with its sequel ¿Children of the Damned.¿ Moving the location from countryside to a London school for the gifted, a professor (Alan Badel) assembles high I.Q. moppets from around the world for an intellectual experiment that goes horribly awry. The sequel has its merits but it lacks in the visceral and unsettling terror associated with the original. In 1995 ¿Village of the Damned¿ was remade by scare-master, John Carpenter with Kristie Alley and Christopher Reeve ¿ but with decidedly predictable and less than stellar rewards. Warner¿s DVD is outstanding. The image is remarkably clean, with a very solid and beautifully rendered gray scale, deep blacks and excellent contrast levels. Fine details are fully realized. There is a total lack of edge effects and other digital anomalies for an exceptionally smooth visual presentation. The audio is mono but with a considerable punch to it. For ¿Village of the Damned¿ there is a thoughtful and thorough audio commentary by author, Steve Haberman. On ¿Children of the Damned¿ we get a fairly thorough reading by the sequel¿s screenwriter, John Briley.

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