Villiage of the Damned Review

Village of the Damned posterWe start off in smalltown, USA, and we get a whole bunch of setup, all about a small town having a smalltown-type fair/fundraiser that apparently small-towns do.Then everyone collapses. I mean everyone. The people, the animals, the livestock, everyone. Looks like a gas attack or something out of a WW2 movie (yes, I know its a movie)Then we come up with Kirstie Ally standing on a road drawing  painting a big white line across it, and we can see a few people out on the ground. Christopher Reeve comes up, saying his wife is in there there, and they won’t let him pass. They are, however letting a cop with a gas mask on walk out there. Hope this isn’t a pathogen that goes through the skin.
Cop takes a few steps, then down he goes. The Local Cops start pulling on the rope, and drag him past the barrier, Kirstie leans over and says he has a pulse, and we see the cows and animals start to wake up, the cops stagger to their feet, and we see the townspeople start to come too.

Oh yeah, I’m in.

So a the main townspeople find out they are pregnant, and a whole lot of not-joy is going on, especially in the situation where one the husbands has been in Japan for a year. Kirstie is back, and says that her “Center of Health” or some such knock-off of the government, wants to study the children, because apparently all the women became pregnant on the day of the blackout.  She offers all the couples 3K a month if they allow themselves and the kids to be tested. That kind of changes everyone’s minds about keeping the baby.

MONTAGE OF PREGGERS!

Now we get to the birthing day- pretty much all 10 women have the babies on the same day, except one woman who’s baby is stillborn “respiratory failure” Kirstie tells Christopher Reeve.  Kirstie takes the baby and leaves it in the car.  All the other babies come through ok.

Time moves on, and the principle of the town, who was trying to get pregnant and her husband died on “Blackout Day” is shown with her son, David- who spelled out her name his name with his blocks. She is marveling how smart he is (of course, all kids named David are geniuses) and they go off to visits Christopher Reeves and his wife, his wife has just fed her little baby, and the kid kicked the bowl on the floor. Mommie says “Is it too hot” and we get the first clue that THE KIDS AINT ALLRIGHT and her eyes light up. Mommie has no choice but to put her arm in the boiling pot of soup (see the soup IS too hot! ) She screams- and the Principle c busts in and helps her get her arm out. The kid just sits there.
Time moves on, and Reeve’s wife takes a long walk off a short cliff, leaving him a single parent, he starts getting a little protective of the kids- who spend their time in the classroom reading the encyclopedia, the Principle talks him into being the teacher, since he has a little bit of respect from the children, and Reeves’ kid has developed to the leader. He tries to teach them, but they are only worried about things they can’t read about in books. Village of the Damned

They also like to walk around town  with a girl and boy matched up, David is last in the group, having no female counterpart (his partner was the stillborn child). The children kill/injure a few more people, and its a lot of fun, but David is a bit of a single person, instead of part of the hive mind. He has a conversation with his mother about his counterpart being dead- and he can feel loss, unlike the rest of them.

Things come to a head when the children all move out to an abandoned barn, and there is a subplot about this not being the first time this has happened, and Kirstie wanting to continue funding the project, and basically anytime we get Luke Skywalker on the screen is a skippable moment. The kids invade the World Health organization, or whatever its called, and see what the stillborn child looked like, and they force Kirstie to commit Hari-Kari on the examining table.

Finally, the Army is called in, and the State Police, to come get the kids. Luke Skywalkers wife is burned alive, and the cops and troops start shooting each other at the barn. The Children are able to control the minds of pretty much the entire attacking force, including causing a helicopter to crash.

Christopher Reeve brings in a suitcase, under the pretense of taking the children away, but its a bomb, and he is able to hide his thoughts behind a wall, so we get the climax. The kids trying to pierce the mind of Superman, and the principal trying to get David out. Just in time, she gets David in the car, and the bomb goes off, wiping out the children. We close with David and the Principle, driving off to the sunset (and possible sequels)

So how is the movie?

Luke and KirstieFirst off, the movie moves quickly, but also you feel like you miss a lot. You go from Birth to Toddler to . . . second or third grader? Maybe even 4th? I understand that we need to get them to maximum creepy-stage, so It’s not like we can do this at age 6.

Second, Carpenter never goes into what the kids plans are. They keep talking about having to dominate the humans- but spot-taking over the humans mind isn’t going to do much, they are not all-knowing, and Luke Skywalker should have capped one of them. True the kids did know, but he still could have pulled the trigger- as far as we know they are limited to the mind- not physical objects.

Finally, what about the other incidents? The other happenings? What exactly is Kirstie doing, other than chain smoking? You would think after one death there would be no stopping the government from coming in. If nothing else the Blackout day would have freaked them out, imagine having Blackout Day at Norad or Ft Knox? How is the CIA not all over the place?

Let me give you a piece of advice if you ever decide to watch this movie, if you have not already.

Pretend it was made in 1980 or so. It fits that era of filmmaking more than a later date, Carpenter is a great filmmaker, but this feels out of date when its brand new. If you take the movie made in 1980, with the style, the pace and the storytelling, I can give this one an 8, 7 at worst, looking at it made later, then it drops it a point at least, maybe even two. I’ll give it a 6, as even with the limited storytelling, I enjoyed it.

Keep in mind, this was the final film of Christopher Reeve, who gives a solid performance, and the Principal does a fine job as well, Kirstie Alley does a fine job, and I wish she did more than stand around and smoke. Mark Hammil is wasted, but again, a lot of bit players here are.  The kids are decent, for all they are given to do. Again, not even close to John Carpenters’ best, but still a very good time filling movie.

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