7.3/10
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124 user 88 critic

Village of the Damned (1960)

Not Rated | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 7 December 1960 (USA)
Trailer
2:02 | Trailer
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 »
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:

DEMONICAL...UNEARTHLY...THE STRANGEST STORY 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The eerie effect of the children's glowing eyes was created by matting a negative (reversed) image of their eyes over the pupils when they used their powers. The British print of the film contained no optical effects, as the British Board of Film Classification considered them too frighting for an 'A' classification. See more »

Goofs

A soldier walks into the zone of unconsciousness wearing a gas mask and a tether rope, immediately passes out, and is dragged back out by his mates. But the supposedly unconscious soldier is clearly holding his head up off the ground as he is dragged along headfirst on his back. 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.
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Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Spin-off Children of the Damned (1964) See more »

User Reviews

 
Magnificent
5 June 2004 | by GafkeSee all my reviews

On a perfectly normal, lovely afternoon in the English countryside, a small town is suddenly taken over by an unseen presence. Everyone within the town - man, woman and child - suddenly passes out cold for no apparent reason whatsoever. Anyone who attempts to enter the town from the outside is also stricken down, yet revive instantaneously when removed from the danger zone. No one, not police or military, can pass the invisible barrier, but within a few hours the strange presence is gone. Everyone seems to be alright...until a few weeks later, when all of the women in town who are of childbearing age discover themselves to be pregnant. Nine months later, a dozen identical children are born to these somewhat suspicious mothers, children with white- blond hair and scary eyes that glow. The children are oddly emotionless and only associate with each other, acting as a single entity. Worst of all, they can make anyone do whatever they want them to do, which often has fatal results. Can kindly schoolteacher (the wonderful George Sanders), whose beloved wife has borne one of these creatures, help the alien children embrace their human half? Or will he have to destroy them all?

This is an absolute masterpiece of paranoia, sci-fi style. The acting is superb, especially by the late and under-appreciated Mr. Sanders, whose compassion and intellect sets the tone for this quiet and somewhat sad little tale. The lovely Barbara Shelley as Sanders loving wife is sweet and totally believable. Indeed, the townsfolk are all very realistic and approachable, kind and simple folk who don't really deserve the wrath of the spooky children who have invaded their small town. Young Martin Stephens, who also turned in a creepy performance in the ghostly masterpiece "The Innocents" is every bit as creepy here as George and Barbara's "son."

Filmed in moody black and white, this movie creeps along with all the menacing stealth of a thick London pea souper. This is an intelligent horror film which deserves better attention. It probably won't be appreciated by people who consider expletives and explosions to be main characters, but for people who prefer horror with brains (and not brains ripped out of skulls) this is the film for them. Fans of George Sanders shouldn't miss this; it's quite a switch from his usual smarmy roles, and a nice switch at that.

Highly recommended!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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