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Village of the Damned (1960)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 7 December 1960 (USA)
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In the English village of Midwich, the blonde-haired, glowing-eyed children of uncertain paternity prove to have frightening powers.

Director:

Wolf Rilla

Writers:

Stirling Silliphant (screenplay), Wolf Rilla (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Sanders ... Gordon Zellaby
Barbara Shelley ... Anthea Zellaby
Michael Gwynn ... Major Alan Bernard
Laurence Naismith ... Doctor Willers
John Phillips ... General Leighton
Richard Vernon ... Sir Edgar Hargraves
Jenny Laird ... Mrs. Harrington
Thomas Heathcote ... James Pawle
Martin Stephens ... David Zellaby
Richard Warner ... Harrington
Sarah Long Sarah Long ... Evelyn Harrington
Charlotte Mitchell Charlotte Mitchell ... Janet Pawle
Pamela Buck Pamela Buck ... Milly Hughes
Rosamund Greenwood Rosamund Greenwood ... Miss Ogle
Susan Richards ... Mrs. Plumpton
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Storyline

In the small English village of Midwich everybody and everything falls into a deep, mysterious sleep for several hours in the middle of the day. Some months later every woman capable of child-bearing is pregnant and the children that are born out of these pregnancies seem to grow very fast and they all have the same blond hair and strange, penetrating eyes that make people do things they don't want to do. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THE STRANGEST STORY THAT SCIENCE-FICTION EVER TOLD! (original poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 December 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Village of the Damned See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the original British release of the film was premiered several months prior to the US release there is nothing to indicate that both versions of the film were not edited at the same time. See more »

Goofs

As everyone begins to wake up, Alan starts to walk towards the bicycle and bus victims. As he passes in front of the camera, the shadow of the crew and equipment appear on him. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prof. Gordon Zellaby: [on telephone] Good morning. Uh, would you get me Major Bernard at his Whitehall number? Thank you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In order to get an 'A' certificate in the UK no optical effects shots were used in the UK print and original footage or alternative shots used instead. Both the UK and the 'standard' version of the film run to the same length. At the end of the film no glowing eyes are seen rising from the flames in the UK version which also has a "Made at M.G.M British Studios, Borehamwood, England" credit. Because this change was requested at the scripting stage there is no reason to believe that the two version of the film were not edited in tandem. It is incorrectly stated that the British print has the burning man sequence cut. This was a cut requested by the Production Code office in the US and is the same for both versions of the film, where the victim is never engulfed by the flames in close-up, which contradicts the long-shot seen in the sequence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Scream: The TV Series: Village of the Damned (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Aaaaaaaaaaargh!! Those EYES!!
21 May 2004 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

Village of the Damned is a strongly compelling Science-Fiction highlight and easily of the eeriest movies I ever saw. Although it's a very modest and simply made production, the scary-effect of this film is a lot more effective than some of its big-budgeted colleagues. On a random day, the entire English village of Midwich falls into a trance-like sleep. Completely inexplicably, they awake again seemly normal but two months later it appears that every fertile woman in town got pregnant on the day of the blackout. The newborns show a strange resemblance in looks and – what is even more bizarre – they're telekinetic! Due to their amazing intelligence and emotionless behavior, they form a huge threat and freak out the entire little town. `Village of the Damned' is loyally adapted from John Wyndham's novel `The Midwich Cuckoos'. Throughout the whole film, you don't get much explanation and, as a viewer, you're forced to guess at the mystery's origin. Although highly unlikely, the events in Midwich really are alarming and make you feel uncomfortable. This effect is reached through solid tension and macabre atmosphere much more than through special effects. The eerily lit eyes of the ‘children' are the only real effects but they cause a lot more fear than gallons of blood ever could! Village of the Damned also owes a lot of its power to a terrific casting job. Essentially to achieve the obtained scary effect were the children. Well, they did a good job! The offspring looks alienated almost naturally and their appearance literally chills your blood. The concerned adult in Village of the Damned is excellently played by George Sanders. Sanders was a terrific and shamefully overlooked English class actor who committed suicide in the early 70's. He has a got a few other delightful horror movies on his repertoire like `Psychomania' and `Doomwatch' (both are some of his last films). Village of the Damned is a highly recommended picture that'll certainly keep you close to the screen till the end-credits role. Equally recommended is the (unofficial) sequel called `Children of the Damned'. There's a bit more background in that film, as well as some more explicit horror sequences. The 1995 remake by John Carpenter, however, is rather unexciting and one of the most redundant films ever made. Stick to the original and be scared!


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