In Village of the Damned (Wolf Rilla, 1960,) and a sequel, Children of the Damned (Anton M. Leader, 1963,) a new breed of children with supernatural powers appear. They are the result of union between normal Earth women and aliens.
All of the inhabitants (including the animals) of the British village of Midwich suddenly fall unconscious, and anyone entering the village also loses consciousness. The military arrives and establishes a cordon. The pilot of an observation aircraft goes below 5,000 feet, loses consciousness, and the plane crashes. A five-mile exclusion zone around the village is established for all aircraft. The military send in a man wearing a gas mask, but he too falls unconscious and is pulled back by a safety rope. The man awakens, reporting a cold sensation just before passing out. At nearly that very moment, the villagers regain consciousness, seeming otherwise unaffected. The incident is referred to as a “time-out,” and no cause is determined.
About two months later, all women and girls of childbearing age who were in the affected area are discovered to be pregnant, sparking many accusations of infidelity and premarital sex. The accusations fade as the extraordinary nature of the pregnancies is discovered with three-month fetuses appearing to be developed to a stage of five months. All of the women give birth on the same day, and the doctor doing the bulk of the deliveries reports on the unusual appearance of the children, who all have unusual scalp hair texture and colour (pale blond, almost white), striking eyes and unusual finger nails. As they grow, and develop at impossible speed, it becomes clear that they also have a powerful telepathic bond with one another. They can tell each other anything that they see from great distances. As one learns something, so do the others.
This is a faithful adaptation of John Wyndam’s novel, The Midwich Cuckoos, and anticipates the idea, popular with abduction researchers, that aliens are trying to create hybrid human/alien beings. With an ending that reminds us of how dark human ignorance and fear can really be.
John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned is a 1995 science fiction-horror film directed by John Carpenter. The film is a re-make of the 1960 film of the same name which is based on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. The 1995 remake is set in the United States, while the book and original film were both set in the United Kingdom. The film was marketed with the tagline, “Beware the Children.”
It stars Christopher Reeve (in his last starring role before he was paralyzed in a riding accident a month after its release), Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Michael Pare, Mark Hamill and Meredith Salenger. The remake stands out from the original due to its incorporation of graphic violence, with depictions of such things as a man falling asleep on a barbecue grill and a woman eviscerating herself with a scalpel while under the children’s psychic control.