February 16, 2010

Village of the Damned (1960)

The original Village of the Damned is easily the undisputed king of "evil children" films. Directed by Wolf Rilla and based on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Windham, this classic British film formed a small but very influential cinematic subgenre around the concept of adults being allowed to kill children to protect the world. Of course, John Carpenter re-made it as an American product in 1995 - which is actually the version that most people know of - and while it's not bad at all, it definitely lacks the atmosphere of the original. Then again, how could anybody beat Martin Stephens' unforgettable performance as David Zellaby, the supernatural leader of the brat pack? This same kid ruled The Innocents only a year later and then disappeared from the film industry, staying forever the damned 12-year old child from hell in our minds. Well, here's to you Martin Stephens, wherever you are: without you we wouldn't have had The Omen and The Children of the Corn, so God bless!

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