Once you have seen "Village of the Damned" it is pretty much inevitable that you will check out "Children of the Damned," although you will find it impossible to avoid being less impressed with the sequel. Written by John Briley ("Invasion Quartet" and "Ghandi"), this 1963 film makes more sense if you think of it as a re-imagining of John Wyndham’s original concept. Instead of all these children being born in one place looking the same, this time we have children born all over the place who look different. They still stare and they still control your minds, but now they are not children from a damned village but children from around the world.
Paul (Clive Powell) is from the United Kingdom, Mi Ling (Yoke-Moon Lee) is from China), Nina (Roberta Rex) is from the Soviet Union, Aga Nagolo (Gerald Delsol) is from an African nation, Rashid (Mahdu Mathen) is from India, and Mark (Frank Summerscale) is from the United States. So while there is East and West tensions here there is also a Third World element to the Cold War sub-text, although really it is each nation for itself because allies do not trust each other. Debating the pros and cons are Dr. David Neville (Alan Badle) and Colonel Tom Lewellin (Ian Hendry) while Paul stares in a manner that is either threatening or unthreatening depending on what you end up thinking about the children.
Are these children still the progeny of alien visitors? Apparently not this time around, because although their births cannot be dismissed as mere coincidence, it could just as likely be that they are the result of mutation. At least I could make such a reading based on what happens in the film, which goes for a more of a sense of ambiguity regarding why the children are here: are they evil or our saviors? Good question. Just plan on looking into your own heart and mind to find the answer because the film wants to have it both ways (or as many different ways to explain what is going on as you can come up with here). In the end what this film most has in common with "Village of the Damned" is the conclusion.
"Children of the Damned" is not even close to being a great science fiction film, but if you could forget the inevitable comparisons to "Village of the Damned" it is at least interesting on its own terms and apparently much more worth watching that John Carpenter‘s remake of "Village of the Damned" from what I hear. Still, if what you are interested in is a science fiction film that functions as a Cold War allegory, skip this one and go directly to "Invasion of the Body Snatches" and "The Thing From Another World." If you want children who are damned, then just go back to the original.
About Children of the Damned (1995)
Starring: George 'Buck' Flower, Michael Paré, Peter Jason, John Carpenter, Mark Hamill, Thomas Dekker, Christopher Reeve, Meredith Salenger, Ed Corbett, Robert Lewis Bush, Michael Halton, Lois Saunders, Jeff Scott, Ralph Miller, Roy Conrad, Danielle Keaton, Pippa Pearthree, Jennifer Wilheim, Abigail Van Alyn, Squire Fridell, Dan Belzer, Kirstie Alley, Darryl Jones, Dena Martinez, Linda Kozlowski, Ross Martineau, Alice Barden, Constance Forslund, Skip Richardson, John Brebner
Director: John Carpenter
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