An American village is visited by some unknown life form which leaves the women of the village pregnant. Nine months later, the babies are born, and they all look normal, but it doesn't take the "parents" long to realize that the kids are not human or humane. Written by
The film was shot in western Marin County, California. Director John Carpenter had a house in Inverness for several years, so the location was essentially his second home at that time (as the director puts it, "his own backyard"). However, the locals were not happy to see the film crew in the area so they made the shoot very difficult by harassment and vandalism. Carpenter tells that while they were filming, for example, a sound take, a neighbor would start mowing his lawn or start up a chainsaw until he was paid to stop. Some of the people even tried to break into the equipment trucks. The whole experience essentially soured Carpenter on living in the area, where several scenes of his earlier film The Fog (1980) were also filmed. See more »
Mara's white tights become blue anklets during her first visit to the Midwich Clinic. See more »
Look, there is no research lab, there is no chemical plant! There is no toxic waste dump, there is no nuclear plant! There's no nothin' around here.
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The black and white original was much more colorful
What made the original version of this film such a classic horror picture? A sense of understatement, of unspoken horror. John Carpenter has never been a director to master the art of understatement, and maybe that's why this movie is such a pale shadow of the 1960 version.
The best parts of this film are those that mirror the original. But since the remake was made in the 1990s, Carpenter could throw in grueling childbirth scenes, boiling arms, barbecuing heads, a grisly shootout, an alien baby that looks like one of those 1960s troll dolls in a bottle, and of course, the option of abortion for parents who don't want to go through with their strange pregnancies. In 1960, the idea of an alien "virgin birth" was left understated; Carpenter gives us pregnant women in white robes reaching for the heavens. What happened to the original eerie emphasis on how fast the children grew? I don't recall any mention of that in the remake; in fact, Alley mentions how long she has been observing the children.
The most misbegotten idea of all was the addition of Kirstie Alley and the subplot involving government agents SUPPORTING the alien children. And out of nowhere, in a town that seems vaguely Episcopalian (with emphasis on the 'alian'), a wild-eyed bunch of torch-waving fundamentalists appear to confront the children. All we're missing is a fat burgomeister in lederhosen.
The eyeball effects are good, adding color change to the original glow (which effect, by the way, still stands up in the B/W version). There are no glaring problems with casting or acting either; this was just an unnecessary and uninspiring remake of a classic film.
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