VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED/CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED/THE BLOODENING (FROM THE SIMPSONS!)- A TERRIFYING TRIPLE REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. (1960) DIRECTED BY WOLF RILLA. STARRING GEORGE SANDERS, BARBARA SHELLEY AND MICHAEL GWYNN.
CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED. (1964) DIRECTED BY ANTON M. LEADER. STARRING IAN HENDRY, ALAN BADEL AND BARBARA FERRIS.
THE SIMPSONS EPISODE FEATURING ‘THE BLOODENING.’ (1999) EPISODE 214- ‘WILD BARTS CAN’T BE BROKEN.’ DIRECTED BY MARK IRVIN. WRITTEN BY LARRY DOYLE. BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY MATT GROENING.
The episode of hit TV show THE SIMPSONS in which they parody the film VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED is one of their best ever episodes in nearly thirty years of (mostly!) great episodes. The kids of Springfield are all placed under police curfew after drunken shenanigans by Homer, Lenny, Carl and Barney result in Springfield Elementary being trashed. (‘Looks like the work of no-good kids, boys…!’)
Anyway, the kids break curfew to go and see horror movie THE BLOODENING, which is playing at the Springfield Drive-In aaaaaaafter daaaaaaark…! It’s a superb parody of English science fiction/horror film VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, in which alien forces impregnate human women of child-bearing age in the sleepy English village of Midwich. The resulting progeny are super-intelligent creepy kids who can read your thoughts and whose ultimate aim is controlling and maybe even destroying the human race.
The kids of Springfield go one step further and decide to ‘out’ the secrets of the town’s grown-ups to pay them back, basically, for being jerks to them.
Lisa Simpson in creepy English accent: ‘Police Chief Wiggum likes to walk the beat in control-top pantyhose…!’
Chief Wiggum, shamefaced: ‘Um, that’s not a crime, is it, boys…?’
Lou, grinning, brandishing handcuffs: ‘I’m afraid it is, Chief. Let’s go…!’
The parody is one of their very best (it’s surely the best parody of anything ever!) and the clips of THE BLOODENING are bloody hilarious.
Terrified villager: ‘Get off’n ma moors, ya mischievous wee’uns!’
Creepy Kid: ‘You’re thinking about hurting us, aren’t you? Now you’re thinking, how do they know what I’m thinking? Now you’re thinking, I hope that’s shepherd’s pie in my knickers…!’ And so on and so forth. It’s absolutely priceless comedy.
As for the fishwife, being rogered six ways till Sunday by the doctor and the bootblack in the bread-shop (or words to that effect!), well, she’s no better than she ought to be, that’s for sure!
The first half-hour of VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, in which the people of Midwich are all put to sleep so the aliens can do their dirty sinful business with all the fertile women, is as perfect an example of flawless horror as you’re ever likely to see. It’s as eerie as hell to see everyone out for the count for no apparent reason. Even the animals are unconscious. Watching the authorities trying to figure out the reason for the apparently inexplicable no-go zone around Midwich is terrific fun.
When the reason for the ‘time-out’ becomes clear, however, the horror is ramped up ten-fold. Women who’ve never been touched before or whose husbands have been away for a while are unaccountably pregnant and the menfolk of Midwich are understandably pissed-off. (‘I never, Bert, I swear I never…!’ My own words there, by the way!) When the creepy kids are all born and develop at an unheard-of rate, the villagers are in for a jolly uncomfortable time of it, as you can imagine.
George Sanders is superb as the Professor whose wife Anthea has given birth to one of these unnaturally self-possessed blonde-haired weirdos. Although he knows the child isn’t his, his intellectual curiosity is piqued by the boy’s intelligence and at first he’s keen to study the kids and see what the human race can learn from them. Boy, does he realise his mistake in time…!
Kudos also to Hammer Horror actress Barbara Shelley as Anthea and Michael Gwynn (the fraudulent Lord Melbury in classic British sitcom FAWLTY TOWERS!) as Anthea’s brother who runs afoul of the posh-talking little monsters. One of my favourite scenes features cuddly old actor Peter Vaughan riding a bicycle as the improbably named Constable Gobby. Sounds like a character out of Enid Blyton’s NODDY…!
CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED isn’t as good as the original film, unfortunately. In this one, six different creepy alien kids are holed up in a gorgeous old abandoned English church while outside, various frantic representatives of the authorities wonder how the hell to either get ’em out of there safely and whisk them away for scientific studies or how to destroy them utterly. As you can see, there are two distinct schools of thought on the matter!
One interesting aspect of the film is that we’re told that the Creepy Kids’ DNA is perceived to be the DNA of ‘man advanced perhaps a million years.’ Far-out, man…! The kids have the hilarious ‘glowing-eye-power’ once again and also the rather alarming ability to make people ‘pitchfork themselves and junk!’ Thank you, Milhouse…!
My favourite characters here are probably Barbara Ferris as the sweet-voiced Susan Eliot, the Auntie of the lead boy, and Yoke-Moon Lee as Mi Ling, the most talkative of all the sullen little geniuses. This brings me to the main difference between the two films.
In CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED, the film-makers have introduced a heretofore non-existent ethnicity into the movie. The white-haired, fair-skinned children from the original film have morphed from (literally!) Hitler’s idea of the perfect example of Aryan youth into the line-up from a UNITED COLOURS OF BENETTON commercial.
We’ve got a cute little chap from Nigeria, an Indian boy called Rashid, a Russian girl and little Mi Ling herself. They’re all adorable and not as coldly off-putting as the kids from VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. Maybe political correctness was beginning to rear its head even as far back as 1964, who knows? I like it better this way, personally. I like the international flavour of the sequel.
Any-hoo, this is a brilliant triple bill of black-and-white horror that would pleasantly pass a few hours for you on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I got no mind to worry…! And never fear:
Lisa Simpson: ‘We know all your secrets. And we have plenty more on Homer Simpson…!’
Homer Simpson: ‘D’oh…!’
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
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