Almost immediately after finishing Prince of Darkness, which I didn’t focus on as much as I should have, I popped on Village of the Damned on the NetBox. I actually didn’t even realize that this was a John Carpenter movie (I’m woefully uneducated about his films, it turns out). I do however have pretty vivid of this remake movies when it came out. Besides just boasting generally creepy commercials and comic book ads, I actually knew a girl at this time who was like one step above albino and had white-ish blonde hair. Even though she didn’t REALLY look like on of the VOTD kids, the nickname came up and she was cool enough to own it and diffuse it. Even so, I still thought about her when those creepy kids showed up on screen.
If you’ve never seen the movie or the 1960 British film its based on (which I have not), an entire small town blacks out and wakes up with some of the women pregnant. They give birth to babies who have mind control powers and wind up being something out of this world (not in a good way). The adults in town include doctor Christopher Reeve in his last role before his accident, Mark Hamill as the local priest, Kirstie Alley as an out of town doctor who knows more about what’s happening than she lets on. There’s also, of course, the mothers, none of whom I actually recognized.
I’m not the biggest fan of the killer kid subgenre of horror. Before I was a dad, I used to think, “Just take those kids out, how hard can it be?” In this case, it’s pretty tough and one of the ways I thought of while watching to get rid of them was brought up by a crazy janitor. Anyway, now that I’m a dad, I certainly don’t want to see any children killed on screen, even jerky, evil ones. This movie also handles that well and in such a way that didn’t bother me too much.
What impressed me most about this movie is how complex it is without going into huge expository detail about what’s going on. This isn’t Gremlins and there aren’t rules explained for dealing with these kids or how they came about. Their origins are interesting and fun to think about. There’s also a lot that’s hinted at about how crazy this town is thanks to the introduction of these kids. A lot is the same and yet pretty much everyone has accepted the fact that this group of children was spontaneously created and later born. It’s like a longer and bigger version of that Twilight Zone episode where the family is terrified of their kid who can send them to a cornfield, but in a great way.
As a parent, I put myself in the place of someone like Reeve or the other adults in this story and really am not sure what I would have done in that situation. Like I said, everyone knows what’s going on and yet no one really does anything about it in a smart way. Whoever the invading things are, they’re smart enough to use humans’ built-in desire to protect and care for children in order to get their offspring to live. It’s also interesting to think about what it says about American society that the other places these things tried to do this took care of the problem pretty quickly and we didn’t. Like I said, there’s a lot to unpack in here.
Hey, I just had a weird thought, what if all the evil bad guy things in Carpenter’s horror movies were being sent from the same source all trying to destroy our dimension? You’ve got the kids from VOTD, Michael Myers, the thing, the green liquid from POD, those dumb pirate ghosts, a killer car, vampires, the They Live aliens and whatever the heck those things on Mars were. Show me the non-evidence.