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Name:Village of the Damned (Wolf Rilla, 1960) RePoPo

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Last Updated: 2015-10-11 18:16:51 (Update Now)

Torrent added: 2008-10-06 06:35:37

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Village of the Damned (Wolf Rilla, 1960)

Technical Information
Type..................: Movie
Container file........: MKV
Video Format..........: AVC (High Profile Level 5.1)
Total Bitrate.........: 2162 Kbps
Audio format..........: AC3 (Untouched)
Audio Languages.......: English 1.0
Subtitles Ripped......: English, Spanish
Subtitles in Subpack..: English, Spanish, French
Resolution............: 704x384
Aspect Ratio..........: 1.85:1 (aprox)
Original Aspect Ratio.: 1.85:1
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)....: 0.303
Color.................: B&W
FPS...................: 23.976
Source................: NTSC DVD
Duration..............: 01:17:16
Genre.................: Science-Fiction
IMDb Rating...........: 7.4
Movie Information.....:

Release Notes

Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson (

Something is seriously amiss in the tiny British village of Midwich. At 11 a.m.
one morning, every village resident suddenly falls asleep -- and then, just as
suddenly, everyone wakes up, completely unaffected by the phenomenon. Well, not
completely: virtually every woman of childbearing years has become pregnant. All
the babies are born on the same night, at precisely the same moment. All look
the same, weigh the same, and even have the same curious cross-hatched hair and
underdeveloped fingernails. Four years later, the children have all prematurely
reached the age of nine or so -- and all behave in a weird, conspiratorial
manner, comporting themselves more like adults than kids. Resident scientist
George Sanders, one of the fathers, surmises that the bizarre manner of the
children -- from their zombie-like movements to their cold, staring eyes -- is
the result of radioactivity, possibly extraterrestrial in nature. One thing is
certain: the children possess powers far beyond those of ordinary mortals. And
they must be stopped. One of the most influential science fiction films of the
1960s, Village of the Damned was based on the equally eerie John Wyndham novel
The Midwich Cuckoos. The more explicit 1995 remake was widely panned in
George Sanders - Gordon Zellaby
Barbara Shelley - Anthea Zellaby
Michael Gwynn - Maj. Alan Bernard
Martin Stephens - David Zellaby
Laurence Naismith - Dr. Willers
John Phillips - Gen. Leighton
Richard Vernon - Sir Edgar Hargreaves
Rick Warner - Mr. Harrington
Jenny Laird - Mrs. Harrington
Thomas Heathcote - James Pawle
Charlotte Mitchell - Janet Pawle
Rosamond Greenwood - Miss Ogle
Susan Richards - Mrs. Plumpton
Bernard Archard - Vicar
Peter Vaughan - Police Constable Gobbey
Alexander Archdale - Coroner
Diane Aubrey - W.R.A.C. Secretary
Tom Bowman - Pilot
John Bush - The Village Children
Michael C. Goetz
John Kelly - The Children
Robert Marks - The Village Children
Paul Norman - The Village Children
Gerald Paris - Sapper
Keith Pyott - Dr. Carlisle
Sheila Robbins - Nurse
Brian Smith - The Village Children
John Stuart - Prof. Smith
Peter Taylor - The Children

Wolf Rilla - Director / Screenwriter
Ronald Kinnoch - Producer
George Barclay - Screenwriter
Stirling Silliphant - Screenwriter
John Wyndham - Book Author
Geoffrey Faithfull - Cinematographer
Ron Goodwin - Composer (Music Score)
Gordon Hales - Editor
Ivan King - Art Director
Eric Aylott - Makeup
Tom Howard - Special Effects
Jake Euker (

The creepiest moment in the recent horror film Godsend – maybe the only creepy
moment – occurs when the boy around whom the action is centered informs his
father, in a steady, vaguely threatening voice, that he doesn’t think he likes
him so much anymore. It’s scary; the boy is in a sudden position of authority
over his dad. The grown-ups in the audience don’t like the way it sounds.

It’s a good thing, then, that these same grown-ups weren’t around in the British
village of Midwich circa 1950. In that sleepy hamlet the entire population
suffers from a brief blackout one day; a few months later, all the Midwich women
of child-bearing age find that they were expecting, and the children, when they
come along, are not exactly like the other boys and girls. They are, in fact,
exactly like one another: blonde, rather too intelligent for our comfort, and
possessed of a particularly icy stare. To say that they are aloof is an
understatement. And, perhaps most tellingly, they have a hive mentality: They
keep only one another’s company, they communicate wordlessly, and when one of
these children learns a fact, the others automatically learn it too.

Such is the premise of the 1960 horror classic Village of the Damned, which was
the subject of a flaccid remake in 1995, and which is now available on DVD
together with its sequel Children of the Damned (1963) along with a commentary
track. Village of the Damned is a compendium of horror film virtues: It runs a
tight 78 minutes, it’s shot in a wintry black and white, its storytelling is
economical, and it frightens rather than startles. Any hack filmmaker can throw
a barking dog into the frame and jolt an unsuspecting audience. But in Village
of the Damned director Wolf Rilla builds dread of these strange children through
insinuation and mood, and the audience gets the real thing: fear.

Best of all, Village of the Damned demonstrates a surefire horror principle
that’s as simple and effective as it is underused: it never explains its central
enigma away. Where most thrillers fall off the screen with dumbass, climactic
justifications and explanations that strip them of their mystery (“It turned out
to be a spider!” “Voodoo people did it!” “Pammy got a virus that made her want
to eat brains!”), Village of the Damned has the class and the savvy to let what
went wrong in Midwich ride.

The primary action of the film centers on the children at school age, as they
react to the mounting fear and hostility they elicit from the grown-ups of the
village. There’s the matter of the children’s utter coldness, their alarming
intelligence, a few unexplained deaths among their peers at school. But it’s
only when an unlucky resident narrowly misses one of the children in his car
that we see what these kids can really do – what they can do when they put their
mind to it, that is, and they only have one among them. Think of the film as the
British uncle to Brian de Palma’s The Fury and you’ll begin to see what we mean.
Mel Valentin (

Released in 1960 (and directed by Wolf Rilla), "Village of the Damned," the
first adaptation of John Wyndham’s speculative fiction novel, "The Midwich
Cuckoos" (Wyndham preferred to describe his novels as “logical fantasies”), is
the rare science-fiction/horror film that, despite minimal special effects (or
action scenes), remains highly watchable more than four decades after its
release. In contrast, the 1995 remake directed by genre specialist John
Carpenter has little to recommend it, besides passable special effects and gore.
Due to a modest budget and the more cerebral source material (typical of British
science fiction), "Village of the Damned" depends on character, plot, conflict,
and performance for its entertainment value. Casual science-fiction fans,
however, may find "Village of the Damned’s" casual, deliberate pace and
unanswered questions difficult to overlook.

In Village of the Damned, a quaint, rural village in England, Midwich, falls
prey to a mysterious, odorless, invisible gas that sends all of the village’s
inhabitants into prolonged, dreamless sleep. During the blackout (also called a
“timeout” or “dayout”), all the women of childbearing age become pregnant. For
some, like the protagonist Gordon Zellaby (George Sanders) and his wife, Anthea
(Barbara Shelley), the news of her pregnancy brings happiness (he’s considerably
older than she is, and her pregnancy seems to catch them by surprise). For
others in the village, the news of pregnancy has an opposite effect, raising the
specter of infidelity or premarital intercourse (and, therefore, social
ostracism). The men, of course, take to giving their wives and daughters
glowering looks and wasting precious hours, silently, at the local pub.

The pregnancies are far from “normal.” The fetuses grow at an accelerated rate,
the children are born almost simultaneously, and when born, share certain
physical characteristics, including blond hair and, when perplexed, glowing
eyes. Once out of the womb, the children continue to grow quickly, all the while
exhibiting vast intellectual gifts (and later, mental telepathy and mind
control) minus emotional development. Their collective behavior indicates, as
one character puts it, a “mass mind” (i.e., a hive mind which places communal
interests and survival over individual self-interest). Even then, the children
seem to speak through David (Martin Stephens), Gordon’s ostensible “son.” Not
surprisingly, even as the children’s biological mothers display maternal
feelings toward their alien offspring, the other villagers react with fear,
dread, anger, and a rising hysteria.

Not everyone, however, reacts negatively toward the children. Gordon, a college
professor, takes a detached, scientific interest in the children and their rapid
development (despite obvious doubts about David’s parentage). Gordon is the
perfect example of the Enlightenment, placing his faith in material progress and
scientific rationalism, thus creating a second layer or level of conflict,
between scientific inquiry and self- or group-preservation (as advocated by the
military and the Home Office). Given the time period, there’s little doubt about
the children’s malevolent intentions, their plans for taking over their village
(and later, the world), nor in Gordon’s eventual response to the threat posed by
the children (hint, a brick wall is involved).

Besides the premise, which translates subconscious fears about communism and its
anti-individualist ethos into science-fiction metaphor (thus making Village of
the Damned an important film from a cultural and historical perspective) or
which hints uncomfortably at Hitler's (mythic) super-race, Village of the Damned
succeeds due to a compelling storyline, sympathetic characters, and an
unsettling dread intimately tied to children-as-villains. Children are usually
perceived (and presented) as untainted innocents. Here, the alien children have
infiltrated and subverted the nuclear family, making their whims and desires
paramount (their "parents" and human siblings are powerless to contradict or
oppose them). The discomfort elicited by the children can, in part, be traced to
the directions given the child actors by director Wolf Rilla. Rilla instructed
his young actors to remain still when on screen. It’s a subtle, almost
imperceptible change in expected behavior that viewers are likely to perceive on
a subconscious level.

Of course, the one major special effect, the alien children’s glowing eyes is
especially noteworthy, as is the central performance by Martin Stephens (equally
preternatural and creepy in "The Innocents") as the leader/spokesman for the
alien children. Stephens is perfectly cast as the calculating, forceful leader
(due, in large part, to his line deliveries). As Gordon Zellaby, George Sanders
gives an against-the-grain, understated, controlled performance, befitting a
character guided more by intellect than emotion.


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