OOM #15 – The Damned (1963)


Have I made it? I don’t know. Have I done it? Maybe. I hope so. Let’s cross our fingers. We make another jump from 1961 to 1963 mainly because once again the Cinemassacre’s Monster Madness has decided to tackle a film that I’ve already seen, and in this case it’s ‘The Omen’ (1976), which I reviewed in last year’s October Overlook Madness. What I’m noticing here is that as years go by I think the films that I’ll tackle from this series will be less and less mainly because I’m seeing 31 new horror films a year, as well as my other secret projects regarding the horror genre, so let’s go ahead and say that his less than enthused video review of the film can be seen here, while I’ll tackle this Hammer film, directed by Joseph Losey. Weird.

I find it strange that this movie was released the same year as ‘The Servant’ (1963), and I’m not going to assume that this was made in the same mindset, as this was filmed and completed in 1961, and was on hold for two years because of how obscene it was for the censorship board at the time. The elements are present, for sure, but this movie doesn’t compare to the royal heights and visual poetry that Losey reached in that same year with his film about servitude and human bondage or later with his works in England, Germany and France. But this isn’t without its value, as it’s certainly a complex and still interesting film, as it starts as something wildly different from what it ends at: a tourist is attacked for liking the sister of the leader of a band of thugs that are terrorizing the small British town that he is visiting, and here we are given that little tidbit of social commentary that turns sour in the mouth after realizing that maybe this was the youth that was signaled as the reason behind electing someone like Thatcher later, which saddens me as this movie doesn’t do anything different to try to subvert the image of the young delinquents, something that Monty Python did later much much better in ways that are still being discussed. Here we are given an scenario in which the tourist and the sister are in so much danger that they need to flee, and they end up in an island. In the island we find ourselves with a completely different movie, about a bunch of kids with special powers, with radioactive bodies that can survive nuclear blasts, and thus are being educated so they can become the future of the human race once the nuclear bombs go off in the entire world. It’s a strange concept and one that doesn’t complete work, but it’s mostly entertaining because of the menacing and empowering figure of Oliver Reed that permeates through this film.




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