Scientists discovers that there are six children who each have an enormous intelligence. The children are flown to London to be studied, but they each escape their embassy and gather in a church.
Ian Hendry ... Col Tom Lewellin
Alan Badel ... Dr. David Neville
Barbara Ferris ... Susan Eliot
Alfred Burke ... Colin Webster
Sheila Allen ... Diana Looran
Ralph Michael ... Defense Minister
Patrick Wymark ... Commander
Martin Miller ... Prof. Gruber
Harold Goldblatt ... Harib
Patrick White ... Mr. Davidson
Andr? Mikhelson ... Russian official
Bessie Love ... Mrs. Robbins, Mark's Grandmother
Clive Powell ... Paul
Yoke-Moon Lee ... Mi Ling
Roberta Rex ... Nina
Children of the Damned has generally been considered grossly inferior to Village of the Damned. I beg to differ as the point of both movies is quite different. In Village of the Damned the children were the result of alien insemination (presumably) and were simply evil. In Children of the Damned they are the result of a jump in evolution and they, themselves, are unsure of who they are and why they are here. The mystery is cleared up however when Paul makes a very eloquent speech near the end of the movie where he states that they have realized that they are here to help mankind. This speech no longer exists on the video version. It apparently was edited out at some point. However without it the ending makes no sense. The dropped screwdriver is played as a tragedy in the movie which contradicts the impression that the children are evil. In fact what the movie is about is a religious theme about how mankind kills its saviors.
This is a rare instance of a sequel being better than the original. The 1960 adaptation of John Wyndham's Midwich Cuckoos, filmed as Village Of The Damned, was a highly memorable and influential movie in its own right. However, it was also a product of post-war British film making complete with cozy, somewhat gentrified attitudes to class, sex and an illusory rural idyll. This was exemplified by George Sanders' typically suave performance as the smoking-jacket clad, martini sipping hero. Children Of The Damned is a much tougher affair. This time the action takes place in the dark, grim, urban backstreets of early sixties London - not so much swinging as downright gothic.
Rather than the aliens invaders of the first film, the children here are a human super-species, socially and intellectually incompatible with the rest of humanity. They don't seem to mean any harm, but their eerily cold and quiet presence provokes the authorities into a fearful contemplation of what they might do. John Briley's adult and intelligent script takes an insightful look at how our inherently insecure systems of authority might hunt and destroy that which merely suggests a challenge to their control.
The cast is excellent. Ian Hendry and Alan Badel as the two conscientious scientists trying to fathom the children's secret, are terrific. They bounce Briley's sometimes caustically witty lines between them with a delightful, naturalistic touch. The rest of the cast play it for keeps too, imparting a sense of urgency and, as with Alfred Burke's government man, icy menace.
The children themselves are surprisingly well played. No brattish over-acting here. Instead, the group of young, multi-racial actors exude a perfect sense of other-worldly calm, and, when necessary, chilling ruthlessness.
The film's technical credits are excellent. Cinematographer Davis Boulton's vivid black and white images ensure that Children of the Damned is one of the best photographed British films of the era. The special effects are simple (glowing eyes) but startlingly effective. The late, great Ron Goodwin was a composer best known for comedies and war films, but here he provided a subtler kind of score which suggests both the child-like and the ethereal. It was one of his best.
The main plaudits must go to director Anton M. Leader. His handling of actors, the imaginative staging and his pictorial compositions, particularly towards the climax, are outstanding. For example, the scene depicting a group of gunmen trying, somewhat disastrously, to capture (or kill) the children in a derelict church is a tour de force of tension and horror. Yes, horror. This movie may have children in it, but it isn't a children's film.
In all, this is much more than a quick cash-in sequel. It deserves credit for making an early stab at confronting the ethics of genetics, and for being, along with the Quatermass movies, that rare thing; a thought provoking, grown-up science fiction film.
Although it is often referred to as a sequel to "Village of the Damned", the plot differs in enough ways to make the claim seriously questionable. No mention is made of the events in the first film. The only real similarity is that the story concerns six children who are perceived as a threat to mankind because they possess strange telepathic and mind-control powers.
Unlike the first film, however, the children are of different nationalities (not identical blonds, as the children in the first film) and they do not mature at an accelerated rate.
It's as if the basic premise (six superintelligent kids who are a threat to mankind) was reworked into a new story. The children are explained as being "quantum leaps in evolution" (not alien offspring, as in the first film). And yet the story never clarifies why they were all born at approximately the same time in different parts of the world (coincidence?). When one sympathetic government agent asks the children, "Why are you here?", the children reply "We don't know."
A line of dialogue by a major character, stating that the children are here to help mankind, was later edited from the film. Too bad.
Mankind, rather than the kids, are portrayed as the bad guys. Despite some confusion over these basic plot elements, director Anton M. Leader does deliver a clear message concerning the hate, fear, and intolerance which society feels towards anyone who doesn't "fit in", as well as the greed for power which nations feel in their efforts to gain dominance over each other.
Having seen the first film (Village of the Damned) and loved its eerie ideas of children with powerful psychic powers taking over the world I looked upon the opportunity to see its sequel Children of the Damned with great anticipation. Would it be just as good as its predecessor? The story is about these very intelligent kids with psychic powers that start to sprout all over the world. Women start giving birth to these kids all over the planet, sometimes women who have never been with a man or women that aren't married. So as would be natural in a situation such as this, the government starts to take notice of these kids and sees in them military intelligence potential. So, each country tries to grab a hold of their special child and of course they have plans to exploit these kids in the military endeavors. Unfortunately for the governments of the world, the kids are not up for it.
This is a flick from the early 60's, and at that time creature features where very popular (Dracula, Frankenstein, Giant Spiders, Giant everythings) so when a series like this one shows up where its got no special effects, no monsters, no men in suits destroying the city...well you kind of get to wondering, will it hold interest? It is a horror film and people expect to get spooked...but no monsters or effects? Yes, thats right, the creatures in this film are just kids and believe me thats enough. I thought it was great how this series of films managed to be so good without the monsters and effects. Its just a good chilling story, with a good premise and great performances.
The first one was about presenting us the kids. Suddenly there they where amongst the town of Midwich in London. There they were using their powers on people and there they were killing whoever got in their way. But that first movie never answered any questions. It just asked them. Who where these kids and what did they want? And thats where this sequel comes in.
For a moment there while I was watching it I thought the answers where never going to come and that the filmmakers where going to continue toying with the audience and keep us in the dark about the kids purpose, but low and behold, this sequel actually gives us some insight on why the kids are here.
There's a lot of great moments on this film that shouldn't be missed, for example when the kids lock themselves up inside of a spooky old church and barricade themselves in it. I loved that weapon that they created with the giant old piano in the church! That has to be one of the coolest and most original things I've ever seen on any movie! Awesome moment.
The last 20 minutes of the film are really gripping and tense so I suggest that you stay all the way to the end and not give up on this film. The filmmakers really came up with an interesting situation that turns red hot in the suspense o meter with the kids facing off with the military. I know its an old movie, and I know its not as fast paced as todays films, but dammit, this is a gripping, intense and suspenseful tale. Screw special effects! This is a good story! The only thing I didn't like was that I thought the look of the children on the first one was spookier. I liked the fact that they all had blond hair. The looked like drones or clones of some sort. The big distinction with the sequel is that the kids are all from different nationalities and are all different looking. One is Indian, one is African, one is Chinese and so forth. I just thought it would have been creepier if they were all from different parts of the world yet looked the same. Still its no big deal because the children are just as scary once you get into the movie.
Anyhows, I highly recommend this great sequel if your into good story and suspense in your films (even if they are in black and white and old) well then your in for a treat.