FILMS… Village of the Damned (1995)



Mark Hamill takes a shot in a damned good remake…


Revisiting Midwich with those spooky kids in a mostly familiar plot, premise and all-star cast directed by John Carpenter.


Village of the Damned Official Trailer #1 – Peter Jason Movie (1995) HD, Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers AND PHOTOS © UNIVERSAL PICTURES


Let’s firstly return to remember the always excellent first black and white 1960 chilling movie. The one with George Sanders as Professor Zellaby and heading a British cast. Recall how where after “a little sleep”, he and a shed load of terribly British characters living in a wee English town had a first close encounter with those spooky wee kids in Village of the Damned (1960).

Zoom forward to 25 years later and you will find this colour 1995 remake sandwiched between this original – much spookier – and the recent – considerably less spooky – British TV Series, The Midwich Cuckoos (2022) reboot. In Village of the Damned (1995) we found out just exactly what might have happened had that alien superhero, Superman and the woman on Earth, Lois had had a baby (and it’s not so much superbaby, more spooky baby).

I will be the first to admit that after seeing both the original 1960 film and this 1995 remake’s trailer, I had then totally avoided it. That was until one fateful day when Darlin Husband suggested it for telly viewing and I trusted him, as always. What won me over was – don’t laugh – the performance and the heartrending and poignant storyline of one of the wee white-haired alien kids. Yes really! But more about him (it?) later…

Director John Carpenter adds a spooky introductory score as we head to the beach in a sweeping opening shot. This shot film buddies is reminiscent of Nanette Newman in the opening scene of my much loved, International Velvet (1978). So because of this obscure reason, this American set film immediately caught my interest. Then an ominous shadow is seen accompanied by a John Carpenter musical score which now includes disembodied voices and thus spoils the intended spooky ambience of the unexplained pregnancies.

After the obligatory shot of the Midwich sign, we enter the village of the damned B listers and meet a few of the Midwich residents. The residents are played by an A-list all-star cast who for plot convenience are married to the more disposable B (?) listers (with only one of these B-listers “stars” added to Wikipedia) on screen.

This shadow looms kind of eerily over the house of Christopher Reeve as the more charismatic, charming and handsome Zellaby character. But here he is known as Dr Alan Chaffee, is the Midwich doctor and is also married, loved up and childless with Barbara (Karen Kahn). He asks if she (and we) has seen this shadow over their heads.. so if you haven’t thought of this shadow as one from a spaceship, you will now…

Then the shadow zooms over the house of Jill McGowan (Linda Kozlowski), Midwich’s school principal and her husband Frank’s (Michael Pare) home. He is getting amorous and wants a kid, and she wants him to stop smoking. So they come to a sort of truce, and she decides to go for a baby (and thus sealing his fate). But not right away, as more importantly that morning, she has the school fete to run. So she fends him off, and he has to pick up some helium for the balloons…

Then we cut to the school fete, which sadly isn’t opened by a director cameo (as John Carpenter makes his cameo as a man at a garage in Pare’s scenes). There is bunting, stalls and a barbecue and it’s only 10 in the morning. Everyone in Midwich is zooming about haphazardly and in the throng, we recognise the local Reverend George is played by Mark Hamill and his wife Sarah (Pippa Pearthree).

Then as Jill collects some paints from a classroom – with a nod to the original film – you will spot the school pet canary (which got a better storyline in the original). Then everyone and everyone, and all the birds and animals have their “little sleep”… Poor old Pare as Frank (and the only one of those A-lister’s partners found on Wikipedia), his mission to get helium accomplished, then re-enters Midwich county. After enough time to spot the unconscious animals, Frank slumps at the wheel and then drives into a tank which explodes and it’s goodbye to Frank.

Then it’s a reminder of the original film as Midwich is cordoned off as the army is called in. Some poor army guy tied to a rope is seen to collapse the minute he enters Midwich airspace, then he recovers after he is dragged out of it by his colleagues. There are also men in hazmat suits and one Dr Susan Verner, an epidemiologist. Clad in black – and played by Kirstie Alley (yay) – Verner drags on her cigarettes like a femme fatale. This part of the storyline is all Kirstie Alley-splained – in between discussing books, and cigarettes – to Dr Chaffee who also was out of town when the “sleeping” event happened.

It seems that only Midwich is affected by this eerie happening, and everything seems to return to normal for everyone 6 hours later. Well nearly everyone.. its still stage exit for Pare and that dude in charge of the barbecue. Jill discovers that her husband Frank died, but yay her best friend, Callie (Constance Forslund)’s husband Ben (Peter Jason, not Richard Branson, although they are interchangeable), is due to come home after a year away. The Reverend Hamill does his reverend bit (and it won’t be for the first time) at Frank’s funeral…

Cue a wee bit later and 10 women are feeling queasy or going yay / falling out with happy / suspicious husbands as those townswomen discover they are pregnant. But here the movie dwells on just 5 of them… These pregnancies are in spite of the fact that they weren’t trying and their husband is now dead (Jill), their husband is away for a year and has just returned (Callie), they are a teenage virgin (Melanie), they are on-screen married to the off-screen leading actor (Barbara) and to Mark Hamill (Sarah).

At a town meeting, the 10 women and their partners also are encouraged with a monthly monetary bonus by Dr Verner to keep their kids. In return, the kids can be monitored and nobody is suspicious. So they keep their kids and all the women go into labour on the same day at the same time, but Melanie’s child is stillborn. Her baby’s body is taken away by Verner for an autopsy. The Reverend Hamill does his reverend bit at their christening…

These 9 babies then grow up to be like those spooky kids in the original film, with matching grey uniforms and platinum coloured hair / wigs. They also have those signature spooky eyes, hang around together and can kill when someone questions their motives or really pisses them off… as the Reverend Hamill finds out (and he won’t be the first one)…

There are a few more connections with the original movie, with the kids causing death and “accidents” with those now coloured spooky eyes. Chaffee is encouraged to teach them about humanity after the kids leave their homes and move en masse to a barn… There are also a few wee differences to the original film as Chaffee’s eloquent kid is a girl, Mara (Lindsey Haun) who causes her mother’s suicide… and there are even more screen deaths related to those spooky kids.

But it’s six year old Thomas Dekker as the wee-est alien kid, David McGowan’s story that I want to have continued… Poor wee David experienced loss as before as he was born his “dad” Frank died in an explosion as the horror began. As the alien kids grow up and pair off, he marches alone in their wee paired-up marching scenes. It seems his wee partner in crime would have been the child who died. Mara, Chaffee’s nasty daughter – as the leader of those wee alien kids – bullies David for not going along with their evil moments…

David bonds with Doctor Chaffee after his wife’s suicide – as they talk at her grave – by holding his hand, in one of the most touching scenes in the movie. In his other scenes, you will find David is the only one of those kids to develop compassion, humanity and empathy. Dekker had me sobbing with his sweet, more innocent and caring performance, the wee poppet. And because of this child, I wanted a sequel to this film rather than the recent TV series remake with Keeley Hawes in the leading role of the let’s remake this book yet again in one all about the women reboot…

As for this updated 2022 version, there is a strong emphasis on women (of course), Dr Zellaby is now a woman, and she is a single mum with a grown-up daughter (and a later single mum to a spooky kid who is, of course, a daughter) and the alien kids even now look like their mothers rather than spooky kids in wigs so are totally indistinguishable from “normal” kids. Worse still it even includes a years later epilogue where the women get all the best scenes. I am hoping that for now that this is the last of those close encounters of the Midwich kind…

So, no I don’t want the sweeping beach scene revisited in a spooky remake of International Velvet. This is with its star Nanette Newman narrating in her The Stepford Wives (1972) role in the sequel in The Stepford Auntie and cumulating as her alien niece wins the horse jumping gold medal at the Olympics. All I want is to find out the fate of wee David, as he moves to a place where nobody knows his name… Cheers!


Weeper Rating:  😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦/10

Handsqueeze Rating: :-) :-)  :-) :-) :-) :-)/10

Hulk Rating: ‎ mrgreen mrgreen mrgreen mrgreen mrgreen   ‎/10


The Great Muppet Guest Star Caper (Blogathon) 2023

This post was added to The Great Muppet Guest Star Caper (Blogathon) 2023 which featured both Mark Hamill and Christopher Reeve as Guest Stars. Christopher Reeve stars in Somewhere in Time, Superman, Superman II, Frasier, Tales from the Crypt and Deathtrap. Kirstie Alley is remembered in Sibling Rivalry and The Love Boat. Mark Hamill stars in The Streets of San Francisco, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Star Wars and Star Wars VI: The Force Awakens.


12 thoughts on “FILMS… Village of the Damned (1995)

  1. Excellent review, Gill!
    I love the original village of the Damned because it is extremely creepy!

    However, I only saw the 1990s remake once and it left me feeling cold. However, after your review, I think I need to re-watch it! Especially for the alien child david. Thomas Decker is an interesting actor who appeared in terminator, the Sarah Connor Chronicles, so now I need to see village of the Damned on a 1990 style again just for him.

    And I had not heard about the recent television remake the midwich cuckoos. Too bad it’s not better

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I still haven’t seen the original film, so I probably should start with that one. John Carpenter is a consummate pro, so I imagine his remake shouldn’t suffer too much in comparison.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Village of the dammned B Listers made me laugh! good shot! Although a 90’s B lister is a 2023 A lister, I suppose…Love the original film and sequel, and wasn’t that fussed about the 2022 reboot; only watched the first episode. But nothing tops the original…just think about a brick wall!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. While I saw and loved the original Village of the Damned (and its sequel for that matter), I saw this not long after it came out on video as I am a huge John Carpenter fan. While I think the original is better, Mr. Carpenter did do the material justice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the 1960 movie. I thought the 1995 remake wasn’t as good as the original. Frankly, I didn’t like Kristy Alley’s character (she annoyed me!). However, it has some good moments, and I enjoyed Reeve and Hamill’s performances. I didn’t know about the TV remake — NO, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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