Children of the Damned (1964) [review]

Do not let the fact that this is a sequel put you in the mindset that it is a lesser film than the original. This is a rare occasion which we find a follow up just as entertaining and thought provoking as the previous film.

In an odd way there is coldness to this film, not to say that it is off putting, maybe it is the fact that this is set in a big city rather than a small village, and the characters are less warm towards each other. These characters only know each other because they have been brought together due to the situation, rather than being part of a community who already knew each other before hand.

When it comes to mothers and their child in this film, we’re not given much time with the parent, and therefore we feel very little for the mother. The one family member we do get to spend any significant time with is a aunt who, whiling being a caring type, is not; obviously a parent and does not have the bond with any of the children.

This film also does not give us time to see the children from birth, but, from school going age. All schools being tested for any children who may be gifted, which lead those looking, finding children similar to those in the first film. This of course does not let us see the children grow and developed, throwing us in at the deep end with the characters that discover them.

This film nicely builds on that which the first film offered us, what we thought we knew and understood of the children. We already have our thoughts and theories on what we may think of this group of children, therefore, this film deals with the deceit, greed, religion, politics and the idea that governments would rather have the wealth of war than peace; than people and countries connecting with one another; learning and appreciating what the other has to offer.  Those in government do not seem to be able to understand what they are dealing with or cannot look beyond their own selfish ways.

The children; when asked what they want answer with the simplest of ideas, maybe the most obvious but wisest… of not knowing what they want. The children do not care which country they are from, what colour, class, and sex or sexuality of the other children. They simply treat each other with respect … Something which those studying and wanting to control or deal with them, cannot and do not seem to comprehend.

Village of the Damned (1960) [review]

What we have here is a masterpiece that at times feels low key while having the weight of the world upon it shoulders… the idea of the unknown, the fear and all the different theories of how to deal with what has thrust itself up what seems like a small country village.

The unexplained moment in which the people of a small part of England find themselves unconscious and the aftermath of discovering that many of the local women are pregnant, which just so happened that they became so on the same day.

This is a perfect example of how a film can build the tension with very little violence and what we do see, is more to do with suggestion and the viewer’s imagination than what is shown on screen in some brutality fashion. The emotion and intention of the action of moments is the style of this film. The relationships between the village people, their neighbours, husbands and wives and their children who we’re offered the chance to consider who or what they are … if they’re alien on their fathers’ side or if human evolution has jumped thousands and millions of years ahead of itself.

This film’s characters have their opinions on what is happening, but ultimately the film allows the audience to come to their own thoughts and theories, giving us the chance us come to our own conclusion. All the while we consider the consequences of which character is in the right or how much we side with any one person.

What makes this film enthralling is that is set in a village, away from the big city and therefore it would take time for anybody with any major weaponry to get there, leaving it up to the locals to deal with the situation. Going back and forth on who and what is to be dealt with.

Being a film released in 1960, there is still the feeling of 1950s England, a certain stiff upper lip of that decade; of a country with the Second World War not being such a distant memory. Maybe even fuelling the nerves of what could possibly be going on.

Like any good sci-fi, this asks the questions of what it is to be human; nothing is ever black and white, even if we would like to think so. We see how different people react to the situation, to the children; to the people who have known each other for years. Proving there is never one way or attitude.