OOM #13 – Village of the Damned (1960)

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Hello, hello, yes, yes I know. Let’s continue. Welcome once again to the October Overlook Madness of today, and we continue with our exploration of the year 1960, that we’ve had an incredible amount of movies from. This time the movie that we have here is from the same year as yesterday because on Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness they have decided to tackle the controversial yet still interesting ‘The Human Centipede (First Sequence)’ (2009), which I’ve seen and have a wonderfully long essay on the works, mainly because of how absolutely nihilistic it is, and how its structure kinda works like a centipede. You can watch James’s video on it right here, if you’re interested. So, for today we continue with my list of unseen horrors, and we come upon this movie, what will we find? Let’s see.

For a strange reason ‘Village of the Damned’ (1960) has been on the butt end of the jokes, being a constant reference and a joke among those that haven’t seen the film and don’t know what happens and just laugh at the blonde kids with white eyes that stare and look into your soul. The Simpsons might be responsible in part for it, and I don’t know about the John Carpenter remake, but this film is actually quite ingenuous and it works perfectly in the context of what it aims to do. It’s, above anything else, a movie about a mystery and about a lack of self-control, as the movie starts with an entire village falling unconscious at the same time, only to later recover a couple of hours later, it is a little later that we find out that every woman in the village is suddenly pregnant, and some are even virgins. It’s the birth of these kids with strange powers and higher intelligence that brings the sense of dread forward in this movie, as the protagonists try to come up with ideas not only to confront them, but also to try and understand them, as we spend most of the time of the film not with the kids, but with the adults talking to each other, trying to convince one another that the kids are doing something evil, something that they should take control of, and while some might argue that all that talking deprives from more kids special powers time, I’d say that it helps to talk about how the adults are so scared that not many of them even dare to be in the same place with them, so they decide to send people to talk to them, to teach them, to try to get all the information that they want, and it’s in those gatherings where we are more nervous, because we don’t see these kids and thus, we don’t know what they are doing.

It’s a nighmarish scenario, where the parents don’t have total control over what their kids do, that is a common fear among them, and this film might’ve been a response to the crass youth of the 50’s and at the same time an anticipation of the whole counter-cultural movement that would appear in the 60’s that would revolutionize the youth and make them maybe one of the first that would become less attached to their parents in the history of mankind. This movie is powerful in the scenes that feature the kids as well, when they demonstrate their powers to make people kill themselves, but it’s in the final sequence that this movie elevates to something else, that while a little too on the nose, still manages to become an act of true value and overall a fascinating way to end a film that was only veering towards our destruction. There are some problems about the time in which the film takes place and how the film apparently thinks that blonde kids are perfect, but I think we all understand what it immediately implies, specially through the acts that they do. A film worth checking out and to not dismiss immediately upon talking about.

8/10

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