Paranormal & Supernatural in Review: Village of the Damned (1995)
Village of the Damned (1995)
A Review by: Feind Gottes
Directed by: John Carpenter
Written by: David Himmelstein (adapted from the book by John Wyndham and the 1960 screenplay by Sterling Silliphant, Wolf Rilla and Ronald “George Barclay” Kinnoch)
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Michael Paré and Mark Hamill
The Gist: All the women in a small town become pregnant at the same time (YIKES!) giving birth to children who turn out to be as weird as the pregnancies themselves.
Feind’s Review (ish): Spoilers Ahead, DUH! This review is going to be difficult to get through without making too many Christopher Reeve jokes but I’ll try to let it stand on its own two feet… shit… so it begins! Thankfully there isn’t a horse riding scene or I’d never be able to get through it! So this review is on the 1995 remake by living legend John Carpenter but I would highly recommend you check out the 1960 original film since, while dated, is an excellent film. I would say check out the book by John Wyndham also but that would be advice to myself since I haven’t read it either. Speaking of ‘50s & ‘60s sci-fi horror I also highly recommend the 1953 film Invaders From Mars (there was a remake in 1986 but I like the original better) which is in a similar vein as Village of the Damned but I suppose I should get on with it.
The premise of Village of the Damned is pretty simple right from the beginning. One night in the village of Midwich (a village in England in both the book & 1960 movie but set in northern California by Carpenter) everything living thing – people, animals, birds – falls unconscious at exactly 10am for a total of 6 hours. When they wake up ten females are mysteriously pregnant including a virgin and a married woman who hasn’t had sex in months (a condition commonly referred to as marriage). So you know right from the get go that either we’re about to get a horde of alien babies or demon babies as if normal, average everyday babies weren’t bad enough! Now if that’s not bad enough all the women also go into labor at the exact same time! Nine babies survive, one is stillborn leaving a final tally of 5 boys and 4 girls and, in case you hadn’t figured out this is some weird ass shit, the stillborn baby girl is carted off so no one can see it. Not weird enough for ya yet? The little brats all appear to be of some weird demonic Aryan race with platinum blond hair and bright cobalt blue eyes (you can assume correctly this was a, not at all subtle, metaphor for the pure Arayan race Hitler was attempting to create). Yes, nine creepy little fuckers running around a small village as if their very existence wasn’t creepy enough for ya!
Hey, look at that, I’ve come this far with only one Christopher Reeve can’t walk joke… well, he’s also dead… I sense more bad puns coming… or will they? Guess you’ll have to read on…
So shortly after the group of freaky Alien Aryans are born we skip ahead a few years. The children have paired up except the sniveling little wimp David whose partner was the girl who was stillborn… Poor David. This makes David an outcast but is it making him more human? Who knows he’s still a freaky little alien! It doesn’t take long for the whacko kids to exhibit psychic abilities which, of course, they don’t use for the betterment of mankind but to exhibit childish cruelty like making your mother put her arm in boiling soup or commit suicide, hell maybe both! Little freakazoid Mara shows herself to be the leader ordering her tiny psychic gang to do whatever she says or thinks, I mean the little bitch has psychic powers! This includes moving the whole gang to an abandoned barn where fortunately for Christopher Reeve there are no horses! They also force David’s mother, Jill (Kozlowski), to teach them though she about craps her pants at the sight of the nearly albino Aryan gang.
Meanwhile Mara’s “father” David Chaffee (Reeve) runs around (not anymore!) trying to figure out how to stop the Aryan… I mean alien menace. He gets help from Dr. Susan Verner (Kirstie Alley) until she gets the bright idea to take the whole gang on a field trip where she shows them the stillborn baby which definitely ain’t human! Well this just pisses Mara (female Hitler) off and she forces the good doctor to stab herself but, hey, kids will be kids! If you still want to be a parent after watching this movie you seriously need to find a good psychiatrist. Prior to Verner’s suicide she lets David in on the secret that Midwich wasn’t the only town to play host to an alien invasion but the other towns around the world were smart enough to kill the invading children sometimes at the expense of the whole town. Is this foreshadowing that Superman soon wouldn’t be able to fly away? Only Carpenter knows, LOL. Anyway when the other citizenry find out they’re none too fuckin’ happy but instead of fleeing for their lives they form a mob, you can probably guess how well that goes over. Chaos and mayhem rule but Reeve is unable to run away, it’s like Carpenter just knew!
In Conclusion: My apologies (not really) for the Christopher Reeve jokes but that aside Village of the Damned is a pretty good movie. It is one of the best creepy kid movies ever made mainly because these kids are pretty stiff and rigid. They have to act like they don’t care, y’know like real kids only ones with no emotion at all. It is better than the 1960 original though not by leaps and bounds since it’s a movie that’s more story and character driven than SFX driven. Carpenter once again delivers a very good movie and one that doesn’t get a whole lot of credit for being in the upper echelon of Carpenter’s movies. I guess when you’ve made such iconic movies as Halloween, The Thing, They Live, In The Mouth of Madness and Escape From New York – it’s easy to have a more subtle character driven story get lost in the shuffle.
I highly recommend Village of the Damned and I’d give it about 6.5 stars out of 10. Definitely a pleasure to watch anytime I have the opportunity but not one I generally go out of my way to see otherwise I’d rate it higher. So walk, don’t run (Superman can’t do either one) to your local video store to rent it – I have no clue if it’s available on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu or any of the other 5 million streaming services. Until next time (June 28th) when I’ll be reviewing the first horror movie to make me shit my pants as a lad, Amityville Horror (1979)… Feind OUT!
Feind Gottes [Fee-nd Gotz] is a horror nut, metal lover and an award winning horror author. Feind currently resides near Omaha, NE with his girlfriend, son, and two crazy cats.
Feind has short stories and flash fiction appearing in eight anthologies with several more scheduled for release in 2019 including his first ever published poem. Feind recently finished co-editing an anthology for his first editing credit.
The first draft of Feind’s debut novel won the 2016 Dark Chapter Press Prize followed in 2017 by a Top Ten finish in The Next Great Horror Writer Contest sponsored by HorrorAddicts.net and winning the Vincent Price Scariest Writer Award from Tell-Tale Publishing.
2018 marked a milestone for Feind with the publication of his first solo work with the unleashing of his novella, Essence Asunder, by Hellbound Books. Feind’s debut novel, Piece It All Back Together, is currently being edited for a 2019 release from Stitched Smile Publications.
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