Village of the Damned
Directed by: John Carpenter
Friday, January 27 - Saturday, January 28, 2012
“John Carpenter’s best horror film in a long while is one scarifying trip down memory lane. This is a knowing remake of the spooky 1960 English film featuring demonic platinum-blond children, and one of the things it knows is that a lot of us were scared stiff by the original during our formative years. Mr. Carpenter can laugh at that while also revising a potentially quaint story to suit different times. Chemical weapons, nuclear weapons and Lamaze classes set a new tone for this weird story of demon birth.
“VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED has one of the eeriest opening sequences in horror history, and Mr. Carpenter stages it with relish. It’s a peaceful morning in Midwich, the English village that has become a picturesque American town. (The story comes from The Midwich Cuckoos, a book by John Wyndham.) Too peaceful. Folks are going sunnily about their business when suddenly, inexplicably, all activity comes to a stop. Everyone falls into a simultaneous trance. Even the cows are in a coma.
“And when the villagers wake up, congratulations are in order, because all the available women have become pregnant. Mr. Carpenter has particular fun with the simultaneity of these blessed events, even sending a caravan of cars to the local clinic at the same moment. Another sign of the times: the English fathers-to-be of the 1960 version grimly waited out childbirth at the local pub, while their American counterparts show up at the clinic to usher in their new arrivals.
“Those new arrivals prove a wee bit strange. They’re precocious and uniform-looking, and they do everything en masse, with the superior, totalitarian moves of a self-styled master race. They also have eyes with extremely disturbing powers. If you were on hand for the first film, you remember those powers well. Maybe you still shudder at the thought.
“VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED has something short of a dream cast (Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski and Michael Pare are also on hand, with Ms. Alley enjoyably snappish as a research scientist.)… Mr. Carpenter gives this formerly black and white story a handsome color retelling and a lot of new punch. And he avidly exploits the fears that are at its heart. Now add a new one. With its baleful little villains, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED is even creepier to watch as a parent than it was to see as a child.” – Janet Maslin, The New York TimesR, 95 Minutes