My Films: Day 8

Village of the Damned, 1960

Now, this one I did see on release at the local picture house. The Lyric, in Darnall (Sheffield) would have been the place, I think. Not sure that a 7 year old should have been viewing but an A certificate allowed for children accompanied by an Adult, in some Council areas.

My first Horror/SciFi. A formative experience.

Based on the Midwich Cuckoos, a novel by John Wyndham (which I read later) this film chilled me to the bone at such a tender age. I think that it also formed the foundation for a lifetime of SciFi reading/watching. It fascinated me, especially with regard to the telepathic elements. The one scene that I retained most vividly in my head was where the puzzle box was solved by one child and then all of the others were able to solve it too.

Boxing clever

(This is the image that I wanted to use at FB for the meme but it wasn’t really big enough to use.)

The NYT said:

as a quietly civilized exercise in the fear and power of the unknown this picture is one of the trimmest, most original and serenely unnerving little chillers in a long time

Thompson, Howard (8 December 1960). “Screen: Little Monsters in ‘Village of the Damned’; M-G-M Film Opens at Neighborhood Houses”. The New York Times. The New York Times Company.

Scoring only 7.3 at IMDB but very highly rated at Rotten Tomatoes with 92%, this film remains highly regarded after so many years. Little wonder that it burned its way into my mind back then.

Rotten Tomatoes says:
Chilling performances and a restrained, eerie atmosphere make this British horror both an unnerving parable of its era and a timeless classic.

“Village of the Damned (1960)”. Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media

I have said that I do not do “Horror” and that is I think because modern Horror films go for shock value and visuals rather than playing to the mind or senses. Having been brought up on the subtleties of the flaxen-haired cuckoos in the Midwich nest, I always hope for better, not often finding it.

Village of the Damned may appear a little dated in this day and age but it remains a cracking good chiller.

I haven’t seen the 1995 re-make by John Carpenter.

Wikipedia | IMDB

Directed byWolf Rilla
Produced byRonald Kinnoch
Screenplay byStirling Silliphant
Wolf Rilla
Ronald Kinnoch
Based onThe Midwich Cuckoos
by John Wyndham
StarringGeorge Sanders
Barbara Shelley 
Martin Stephens
Michael Gwynn
Music byRon Goodwin
CinematographyGeoffrey Faithfull

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