STARRING: Ian Hendry, Alan Badel, Barbara Ferris, Alfred Burke, Sheila Allen, Clive Powell

1964, 90 Minutes, Directed by: Anton Leader

This 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 with superpowers.

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 morning).

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.


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