16. Village of the Damned (1960)

Probably my favourite sinister-kiddy movie of all time, and certainly the best of the John Wyndham adaptations, Village of the Damned is a recognised classic so you don’t need me enumerating the plot. The main reason I love this film is because it reminds me of a time when you could stay up late of an evening and watch great black-and-white films on BBC2 – those were the days when the BBC took culture seriously, and didn’t just churn out derivative shit. I saw Village of the Damned on my parents’ TV back in the mid 70s, and for days afterwards my brother and I would stand silently in doorways, staring at inanimate objects and attempting telepathy. I love the small scale of the movie, much of it shot in domestic settings – chintzy parlours, schoolrooms and church halls. village-of-the-damned-originalGeorge Sanders is wonderful, of course, and the children are unbelievably convincing with their blond bobs and spooky eyes. I’m sure there are loads of great stories about what became of this clutch of cuckoos. I really like the sequel, Children of the Damned, as well, because like all good sequels it dispenses with nuance and originality in favour of bludgeoning effects.


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