Village of the Damned (1960)



Daily Telegraph 18 June 1960 (UK)
"[T]he film [provides] a good deal of harmless excitement before the invention finally runs down. The weakness is a failure to establish an atmosphere of fear. Wells, with a careful accumulation of persuasive detail, would have had our hair standing on end. Here the fantasy always seems more credible than the reality, with the result that we are more amused than chilled." - from a review by Patrick Gibbs

The Guardian 18 June 1960 (UK)
"[N]o usual film of its science fictional kind. Certainly its story contains monsters and, in a sense, they are monsters from another planet or at least from another world. The point about them, however, is that, far from being hideous, they have the appearance of charming blond children. The story is most ingenious and it is told by Wolf Rilla (director and co-author of the screen play) with the right laconic touch." - author not known

The Observer 19 June 1960 (UK)
"Written and handled with a considerable amount of delicacy, it may possibly appeal more to the adults than the adolescents, and the further you have moved away from fantasy the more you will understand its chill. [...] It's difficult to suggest, until you've seen those Children's eyes, and their dreadful, rigid uniformity, the compulsion of what might have been a ridiculous and makeshift little picture. Village of the Damned is not in any way a classic. But Walter Rilla has marshalled his young cast with exemplary skill, and I doubt if George Sanders has ever let himself go so deep into a part. [...] I may be quite alone in this opinion, but I haven't been so haunted by a play about ultramundane possession since I saw 'The Innocents', the stage version of Henry James's 'Turn of the Screw'" - from a review by C.A. Lejeune

The People 19 June 1960 (UK)
"It's a film with a ghastly fascination. And the reason it holds you is because it is acted and directed with a deadly seriousness. As a horror film with a difference it'll give you the creeps for 77 minutes." - from a review by Ernest Betts

Sunday Times 19 June 1960 (UK)
"[A] well-made British film: the effective timing, the frightening matter-of-factness of the village setting, most of the acting, and especially the acting of the handsome, flaxen-haired children (headed by Martha Stephens) who are the cold villains of the piece." - from a review by Dilys Powell

The Times 20 June 1960 (UK)
"There are no concessions to kind hearts and cinema conventions: no cathartic clinch to end all happily. Characters are brutally despatched with a happy disregard for the degree of sympathy they command, such as we have scarcely seen since Tod Browning's horrors in the 'thirties. [...] There is something incomparably sinister about this gang of beautiful children with their huge malevolent eyes, looking, and by just looking forcing one man to shoot himself and another to crash his car. They are related to the monsters of The Turn of the Screw. All the same, as they sit at their studies, silent (because they do not need speech to transmit thought), responding as one person, they are true originals." - from a review by David Robinson

Time 5 December 1960 (USA)
"Apparently assuming that a picture with only one star (George Sanders) of second magnitude could not possibly be any good, M-G-M is hustling Village around the neighborhood circuits without even bothering to give it a Broadway send-off. It is missing a good bet. Based on a clever thriller (The Midwich Cuckoos) by John Wyndham and made in Britain for about $500,000, Village is one of the neatest little horror pictures produced since Peter Lorre went straight." - reviewer not known.


Saturday Review 14 January 1961 (USA)
"An absorbing little picture that you may yet be able to find on some double-feature bill." - from a review by Hollis Alpert



Last Updated: 14 April, 2009


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