Monday, March 21, 2011

Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments:#92-Village of the Damned(1960)

By Eric Polk-
Evil children have long been a staple of the horror genre. You have films such as The Bad Seed, The Omen,Carrie(though she was pushed into her wickedness),and The Orphan. Then there is the 1960 film Village of the Damned directed by Wolf Rilla and filmed in England.

All of the inhabitants (including the animals) of the British village of Midwich suddenly fall unconscious, and anyone entering the village also loses consciousness. The military arrives and establishes a cordon. The pilot of an observation aircraft goes below 5,000 feet, loses consciousness, and the plane crashes. A five mile exclusion zone around the village is established for all aircraft. The military send in a man wearing a gas mask, but he too falls unconscious and is pulled back by a safety rope. The man awakens, reporting a cold sensation just before passing out. At nearly that very moment, the villagers regain consciousness, seeming otherwise unaffected. The incident is referred to as a "time-out," and no cause is determined.

Later, the women of the village become pregnant and eventually give birth to cold, calculated children with psionic(mind reading/mind controlling) abilities along with blond hair.There have been a number of villagers' deaths since they were born, many of which considered unusual (such as the drowning of an expert child swimmer), and it is the opinion of some that the children are responsible. This is later confirmed when they are shown making a man crash his car into a wall, killing him and then forcing his suspicious brother to shoot himself.

One Professor Gordon whose son David is one of the children, at first is eager to work with the children. With government agreement, he attempts to teach the children while hoping to learn from them, and the children are all placed in a separate building where they will learn and live. While the children continue to exert their will, Gordon learns that the Soviet government has used an atomic cannon to destroy their village containing the mutant children in their country.

Perhaps the eeriest moment of this film comes when the children compel one of the villagers to kill himself with his shotgun. The children are genuinely creepy which bodes well considering the slow pace of the film. It does deserve its spot in Bravo's top 100 and worth the view.

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