Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Village of the Damned (1960)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Village of the Damned (1960, UK)

In director Wolf Rilla's scary and sinister B-movie horror film (about an alien takeover) - loosely adapted from John Wyndham's 1957 sci-fi novel The Midwich Cuckoos, the tagline asked: "What Demonic Force Lurks Behind Those Eyes?" It also warned: "Beware the Stare That Will Paralyze the Will of the World." At the time of its release during the Cold War, the film functioned as an allegory for the Communist Scare of the 1950s, with its paranoia about violent aggressors in the form of children.

[Note: A sequel soon followed, director Anton M. Leader's Children of the Damned (1964, UK), and it was later remade as John Carpenter's Village of the Damned (1995) starring Christopher Reeve. Other films with murderous youth included The Omen (1976), Who Can Kill a Child? (1976, Sp.), and Children of the Corn (1984).]

  • in the film's opening during what was dubbed a "time out," a mysterious force-field, represented by a mist, caused everyone to collapse or fall asleep (or go unconscious) in the rural British village of Midwich; a 5-mile impenetrable bubble was established around the area that was affected during an investigation; local authorities in the area took precautionary measures to seal off the village, but then after about four hours, everyone awakened
  • within a month or two, the townsfolk discovered that every woman of child-bearing age in the town had become pregnant at exactly the same time (during the event), including a virgin named Milly Hughes (Pamela Buck), unwed young teenaged girls and even married women whose husbands had been absent for months; husband James Pawle (Thomas Heathcote) who had been at sea for a full year, was upset upon his return to learn that his wife Janet Pawle (Charlotte Mitchell) was pregnant; there were many accusations of infidelity and premarital sex, although the conceptions were virginal - and all at exactly the same time
  • the phenomenon appeared to be a mass, extraterrestrial insemination event (possibly due to an interstellar energy beam), using all the females as incubators - with unpredictable consequences; it was discovered through follow-up studies that the same phenomena of simultaneous insemination and births occurred in other places around the world (Australia, Greenland, Mongolia, and the Soviet Union), although there were differing circumstances
  • after five months, the village's Dr. Willers (Laurence Naismith) noted that the fetus development of the pregnancies was accelerated and the unborn babies were actually in their 7th month; at the time of their simultaneous births, all the babies were about 10 lbs. in weight
  • a spawned group of twelve hyper-intelligent, glowing-eyed kids (a mutant alien race?) with raised foreheads were born; after four months, the babies had advanced physical development approximately equating to a year and a half
  • the children turned out to behave strangely - they were telepathic, blonde-haired, unemotional, highly intelligent and precocious, group-minded, and naturally bonded to each other
  • the leader of the deadly-staring, mind-controlling and mind-reading robotic drone-children was David Zellaby (Martin Stephens); David's father, resident scientist Professor Gordon Zellaby (George Sanders), volunteered to teach (and study) the children under one roof in the village's brick schoolhouse; he noticed that the children had strong powers of shared consciousness and communal thinking, and could often read his thoughts
  • there were odd instances in which residents of the town died under mysterious circumstances from the destructive forces generated by the seemingly-innocent children; after an accident that slightly injured one of the children, the driver entered into a trance and drove into a wall with his vehicle to kill himself; the vengeful brother of the deceased driver was compelled to pull his shotgun trigger and blow his head off
The Dead Driver's Vengeful Brother Put Into a Trance - with a Suicidal Shotgun Blast
  • in the film drew to its end, Professor Zellaby realized he had to curtail the destructive powers of the special children, who were determined to survive and take over the village, and then spread out to form new colonies; the Professor began to construct a bomb to destroy the children, but needed to avoid being detected by keeping his mind blank; he practiced concentrating on a brick wall as a non-penetrable mental barrier
  • then, Professor Zellaby faced-off against David, his own son, in the classroom of the brick schoolhouse; the children approached the desk where he had set his briefcase (with a bomb, triggered and timed to detonate and kill all of them); David was puzzled but then revealed that he had figured out his father's deadly plan: "You're not thinking of atomic energy - you're thinking of a brick wall!"

"You're thinking of a brick wall!"

"A brick wall...a brick wall"

David Zellaby Approaching His Father's Desk in Schoolhouse Classroom

The Briefcase (with the Bomb Inside)
David's Glowing Eyes Penetrating Into His Father's Mind
  • with a sweaty brow, the self-sacrificing Professor struggled to concentrate and maintain his single-minded thought - the image of the brick wall in his mind, to prevent the children from learning that he was blocking his thoughts about destroying them: (voice-over) "A brick wall... a brick wall... I must think of a brick wall... a brick wall... I must think of a brick wall... a brick wall... brick wall... I must think of a brick wall... It's almost half past eight... brick wall... only a few seconds more... brick wall... brick wall... brick wall... nearly over... a brick wall..."
  • a view of the brick wall was superimposed over the Professor's face as his will was perceptably weakened, the childrens' eyes glowed, and the brick wall began to slowly crumble (revealing the bomb behind it), but the alien children were unable to prevent destruction - the bomb exploded at exactly eight-thirty, killing all of the children and the Professor

Force-Field Causing People to Fall Unconscious in British Village of Midwich, including Main Character Professor Zellaby (George Sanders)

Virginal Milly Hughes with Baffled Dr. Willers - She's Pregnant

Professor Zellaby's Newborn Son David

Glowing-Eyed, Blonde-Haired Leader of Robotic Children David Zellaby (Martin Stephens)

Deadly-Staring Mind-Controlling and Mind-Reading Children

A Hypnotized Driver Compelled to Crash His Vehicle Into Wall and Kill Himself

The Crashed Car Burning in Background

The Professor's Assembly of the Time-Bomb With Sticks of Dynamite

The Eyes of Children After Explosion


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