Village of the Damned (1960)

Village of the Damned (1960), directed by Wolf Rilla.

A sturdy, effective Quatermass-genre plot only 71 minutes long. Everyone in an English village drops unconscious for several hours and no one can get in without also fainting. Afterwards their recovery seems without incident until they find that all women of childbearing age are now pregnant. This obviously causes much consternation, even more so when the implications become clear. Alien force? Mutation? It turns out the same thing has happened elsewhere.

The children, creepy blonde Aryans, are all healthy but grow abnormally quickly, are emotionless and intelligent and reveal dangerous psychic powers. What to do about them, given they can read and control minds and have a lively survival response?

We're still in the classic science fiction era: the heroes are stalwart and the alien menace must be eliminated. The military is smart and efficient. That the menace are children...it gives one pause, but not a lot.

The film largely avoids the complication that parents will naturally feel affection towards the children, no matter how strangely born. With one exception: George Sanders is an older man with a younger wife, and his joy at having a son is mixed with the understanding that he is not the biological father, as well as the fear that the boy is entirely alien and perhaps dangerous.

Many familiar faces from later British film and TV; look for Peter Vaughn as the policeman on a bicycle.

Adapted from John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos. He was a prolific SF author whose work could be mined for more screenplays. And his Day of the Triffids (1962) exists only in miserable DVD versions and needs a good upgrade.

The DVD has commentary track with production details. He points out that it is easy to think of the children as little Nazi supermen infiltrators.

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