Space Children, The (1958)

The Space Children (1958), directed by Jack Arnold.

Minor -- very minor -- 1950s SF effort, 69 minutes long. For dedicated fans only; everyone else can safely skip it.

A pack of wholesome clean-scrubbed kids living near a missile base are controlled by a glowing alien brain. It's mission: prevent the launch of H-bombs into space. It's also willing to kill abusive alcoholic dads.

You could shelve it with Village of the Damned (1960) and Children of the Damned (1963), both much better pictures.

I wouldn't have reviewed this but (a) it's on Blu-ray with a rather fine image in spots, (b) I'd never seen it and it was on my want-list for a long time, and (c) despite the excruciating acting, it pushes into a (probably unintentional) surrealism that made me think of JG Ballard's SF stories of the 1960s.

The missile base families live in mobile homes on the beach. The rocky shores (both real and soundstage) are starkly beautiful. The 1950s Twilight Zone ambience gives a sense of unreality and suggests stage plays, but we keep getting back to the real beach. Infusing children with strange knowledge and powers is always disturbing.

Available on Blu-ray from Olive Films. ClassicFlix has it for rent. Bare bones disc, no subtitles. Only 14GB of data, but it still looks pretty good.