Village of the Damned (1960 MGM film)
In 1960, director Wolf Rilla, decided to scare the living shit out of parents everywhere with his film Village of the Damned. Parents had to watch in horror as their perfect little angles turned out to be homicidal super beings with an agenda. It’s spooky overtones, silent demeanor, all lead up to a absolutely terrifying vision of a parents worst nightmare. This film was based on the book The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham and spawned a sequel and later a remake in 1995.
Imagine a village (Midwich) where everyone falls asleep doing whatever it was they were doing at the time. Anyone who enters the town also falls under the creepy spell of unconsciousness. Eventually the military puts boots on the ground and quarantine the town. Even guys in gas masks and suits fall unconscious. Even a spy plane tries to fly over and the pilot passes out and crashes his damn plane! What the hell is going on man?!
Then as time goes by, all the women of child bearing age are pregnant and with rapidly growing fetuses. All the women give birth on the same day and all the children have platinum blond hair and creepy eyes. The shit gets crazier from here on out as they develop uber powerful telepathic powers and a hive learning mind.
Oh shit! Watch out! You have got to check out this terrifying masterpiece!
The history of the film is just as fascinating. MGM had to put the movie on hold due to overwhelming religious pressure from religious organizations screaming over the movies sinister symbolism of virgin birth. Instead the MGM decided to film the movie in Britain since American audiences were in such uproar. The film was shot on location in Letchmore Heath and used local buildings during the filming.
The children in the movie were given large blond wings and were padded to leave you with the impression that the children had abnormally enlarged craniums. The director took special care of lightning effects around the children as well. He intentionally darkened the lights to keep the children’s pupils undialated so you could see a large black iris and the whites of their eyes. Absolutely creepy.
Strangely in the UK, the children’s eyes would glow when they used their mental powers. In America, the children’s eyes would simply widen their eyes to let you know they’re using their powers. At that time with special effects when they did any kind of eye-glowing thingy they had to freeze the frame.
So whatever you do, don’t pass out! Hide the pregnancy tests! And whatever you do…do not enter…The Village of the Damned! mwahahahahaha!
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Great post. I never knew all this background info on the production of the film.
I like your analysis: “Parents had to watch in horror as their perfect little angles turned out to be homicidal super beings with an agenda.”
I wrote a short essay on Village of the Damned called “Demon-Human Hybrids.” If you would like to read it, I am open to any feedback: https://christopherjohnlindsay.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/village-of-the-damned/