STARRING: Ian Hendry, Alan Badel,
Barbara Ferris, Alfred Burke, Sheila Allen, Clive Powell
1964, 90 Minutes, Directed by: Anton Leader
talky and slow-moving sequel to the 1960 Village of the
Damned, has actually very little to do with the original film.
It does feature kids (six of
them) with telepathic superpowers and advanced intelligence though. However,
this time around the whole Hitler Youth subtext of the Aryan-like blonde kids is
thrown out as these kids are a micro-U.N. since they hail from all corners of
the globe: Nigeria, India, China, the UK . . . you name it.
Born under similar mysterious
circumstances (mothers claiming to be virgins, but no small English villages
being overcome by unnatural events as these kids were born in isolation from
each other), Children of the Damned plays initially more like a tame
forerunner of those Omen movies with little Damien as the anti-Christ boy
Then the kids seek asylum in an
abandoned church and the movie veers into a different direction with some
interesting moral ambiguity that weren’t found in the original movie. These kids
aren’t necessarily evil because they mostly kill to defend themselves since
humanity obviously sees them as a threat and wants to destroy them.
"Why are you here?" open of the
human adults asks. "We are here for the same reason you are," one kid replies.
Which brings us to the existential heart of the matter, doesn’t it? Just why are
we (humanity) here?
There is also some commentary
on Cold War politics that aren’t particularly insightful, particularly about how
the State monopolises violence and how it is for instance OK for armies to kill
people, but not for you as private individual to do so as well (even though you
would really really like to get that guy who cut you off on the highway this
Unfortunately the only scary
thing in the entire movie is actor Ian Hendry’s more than a passing resemblance
to American President George W. Bush. Seeing this altruistic, tolerant and
reluctant to use military force Bush clone running around just threw off my
entire moral universe for most of the movie’s running time. “This . . . is . . .
not . . . George . . . W.,” I had to keep reminding myself: “He is actually
nice to those who are different!” (Humourless Republicans can send
their hate mail here.)
There is some nice Black &
White photography and the acting is competent, but Children of the Damned
is disappointing and dull.