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
Very Exceptional Moment When a Remake Beats an Original
There are very few horrors in Hollywood that are truly scary from an adults point of view like this one. it looks almost like it was done by an European contemplating the violence in contemporary America but in fact, it's surprising that was John Carpenter himself who's very well aware of that marginal point of America (frivolity of violence) that is so deeply implied in this movie. So this brainy stuff in horror is one of the aspects why this film didn't make good in box-office.
Beginning: i love the way how we are introduced to our essential characters then the family and full of harmony feeling that follows as if we're treated to something romantic, and in one moment everything is destroyed. The black-out scene is so chillingly frightening in a very serious tone achieved especially due to that sweet beginning. What follows is what you actually get and that's a very tragical feeling that something bad is gonna happen which is masterfully directed almost in a non-speakable way. That feel of dread flows through the "childbirth scene" that features little flashes of happiness for their characters (for a short time). One of the most beautiful scenes is the "baptizing of that baby" showing us our human side in contrast to that inhuman-or should i say extraterrestrial.
OK first death scene: brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. From the "boiling-water scene" to jumping off a cliff it's almost without words which makes it all the more powerful conclusion. Here i must say i'm a big Carpenter fan and i've seen all his movies but this scene (along with that one at a cemetery w/ Alan Chaffee & David) is one of his most spectacular i have ever seen and only proves that Carpenter is indisputably far better filmmaker than before. After the interrogation with K.Alley we are treated to a beautiful film-montage of the village shifting to a truly majestic scene of the marching children which accompanying an enchanting music with an appropriate sound nuances directly for the children‘s theme. Second death scene was done in a very old-fashioned style (which is more or less beautiful and disturbing than just frightening), that is important for us just to get to a point when they represent a real threat with complete lacking of any empathy and compassion for others which leads me to mention a cute scene with David learning something about humanity: in that scene you can take David as some kind of a symbol of hope that there still can be a little of humanity or take Linda Kozlowski character as a symbol of a parent that's actually responsible for that humanity to the future, anyway beautiful scene. Interesting moment is the suicide of Salenger's Melanie Roberts character – was she compelled by some outer force (extraterrestrial) or was it her own decision (which doesn‘t make much sense). There's truly magnificent scene with David and Reeve's character at a cemetery concerning human emotions - i almost thought that i was watching some Jean Cocteau film, and those who say that Garry Kibbe is a low-class cinematographer should see at least this scene, definitely this film is one of his best collaborations with Carpenter. There are many really old-fashioned scenes that were fancy maybe in 50's or 60's but in a way they're still very elegant and impressive, mainly because Carpenter took from those days only what is at its core virtually timeless, so i don't think there's a way that Village Of The Damned could seem to be dated, on the contrary there's a chance that this will probably find its audience in the future! And by the way for a Carpenter film you gotta have an acquired special taste. What i also admire is that carnage scene at the end of the movie which is a really classic Carpenter scene affluent of the rhythm and style similar to 'Assault On Precinct 13'. Anyway going through with this remake is an experience of a life time that the 1960 version by far ain't equal to. I have seen Carpenter's VOTD 8 years ago and still i can't put those images from this film out of my mind, i was really convinced that i was in that village and believed those events were happening, that's something i can't say about a lot of pretentious movies in Hollywood today.
I think Carpenter really outdid himself with this very powerful film that not only beats its inferior original but even in its way Carpenter's early stuff like 'Halloween', 'The Thing' or 'Prince Of Darkness'. You know, it's very easy to prefer a film that is shocking and very serious like 'The Thing', but Village Of The Damned is pretty much opulent in his portrayal of violence in a more brooding sense, it's not so much a horror within itself(The Thing) as it is rather a low viewpoint of the true horror outside and about the way how to deal/struggle with that. So from this perspective it very easily transcends something like 'The Thing' but in fact they're both great, even though 'Village Of The Damned' doesn't try to be that extremely documentary-like serious and 'The Thing' doesn't succeed in that intelligent satiric portrayal of violence and old fashioned artistic film beauty.
i can't help but this film is simply a true masterpiece that is criminally under-appreciated.
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