In the small English village of Midwich everybody and everything falls into a deep, mysterious sleep for several hours in the middle of the day. Some months later every woman capable of child-bearing is pregnant and the children that are born out of these pregnancies seem to grow very fast and they all have the same blond hair and strange, penetrating eyes that make people do things they don't want to do.
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And the children shall lead.
“Today’s children are tomorrow’s great leaders.” That is what is usually said about the children of today – ‘The Next Generation.’ Except if you leave in the village of Midwich where ‘The Next Generation’ must be stopped, before they destroy the world.
Of course if you live in the village of Midwich, you are already damned.
On a typical English afternoon the entire village of Midwich losses consciousness – for which there is no explanation. The military quickly investigates and sets up a safety zone around the village. The investigation is lead by Major Alan Barnard, who discovered the strange happening while trying to visit his sister Anthea Zellaby and his brother-in-law Professor Gordon Zellaby in Midwich.
As mysteriously as the unconsciousness happened, it fades and no one remembers anything. Any further investigation comes to naught – until weeks later. All able-bodied women in the village are discovered to be pregnant, including Anthea Zellaby.
The pregnancies move forward at an alarming rate, within months – far less than nine – all the women in the village give birth on the same day. The children all share the same traits, blond hair, pale skin and striking eyes. None resemble their mothers.
The leader of the children is David, the “son” of Professor Gordon Zellaby. Zellaby believes that the children’s powers have developed faster than their moral centers. He believes they can be taught to use their powers for the betterment of mankind in general all they need is the proper guidance.
The military, other scientists and the government believe the children should be under lock and key. Studied and monitored until they know the truth about them. However, they give in to Zellaby, and allow him to have one year to try and control the children.
A series of disturbing events, including David forcing his father to watch as they use their powers to force a man to shoot himself, leads Professor Zellaby to an undeniable conclusion: The children must be stop - At any cost.
Village of the Damned doesn’t scare you with gore or titillate with naked bodies. It doesn’t horrify in the terms of modern horror films. There are no gruesome deaths, no limbs severed or bones splintered. And there isn’t one drop of blood.
It does far worse than any of that. It chills one on a physiological level. It burrows deep into the mind of the viewer and stays there by poising a chilling thought – what if our children could kill us with but a thought?
What if the one thing we are supposed to cherish the most is the thing we should fear above all else?
No parent who watches this film will ever look at their child the same again, especially if they have blond hair and pale skin.
With an intelligent script, chilling plot and actual acting, Village of the Damn is an old school horror film that relies on writing and intelligence to tell is story and chill its viewer – not blood and guts. It never takes short cuts, and doesn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence.
It is more than just a horror film, it is a work of art that will keep you thinking and will stay with you for the rest of your life. In that is its true horror.
Village of the Damned was filmed in England, directed by Wolf Rilla and starring George Sanders, Barbara Shelley and Michael Gynn. It was adapted from the novel The Midwich Cockoos by John Wyndham.