Sunday, April 10, 2016
Village of the Damned (1995)
During a Catholic cookout day in a small town on a nice, sunny day in California, an invisible force renders the citizens incapacitated. When a select group of women find themselves pregnant, soon giving birth to blond, silvery headed, blank-eyed, sociopathic children with violent homicidal mind control tendencies, will anyone make it out alive?
You know I didn't think this was as bad as once remembered. I guess I would consider it "agreeable" sci-fi horror. I do think it perhaps should be reevaluated as a certified member of the killer kids hall of infamy. These alien kids that feel nothing and kill with mind control on a whim to survive are pretty fucking evil. Well they kill about everybody in a small California town that supposedly threatens their welfare or sometimes just for the hell of it.
There are a few scenes that are quite impressive. Like when the town falls unconscious, and John Carpenter shows bodies strewn out in different locations. The results of the alien "knockout beam" that renders the town incapacitated--like Michael Pare passing out in his truck and inadvertently driving into a tractor causing an explosion or a local citizen found roasting on a grill with the hamburgers--with that eerie (dis)quiet, later acknowledged that ten women were "impregnated", chosen to carry the offspring of an alien species planning to colonize as they breed. Other towns went through this--as we soon learn from Kirsty Alley's FBI scientist in this town, having done her research, with a great interest in getting a fetus to study--where the children weren't born properly. Could this be the success the aliens wanted? Blond hair with eyes the intensely glow when putting humans in a spell so they will kill themselves, these little alien shits do all sorts of horrible homicidal things to the adults.
Like causing a MD's (Christopher Reeve) wife to stick her hand in boiling water in a pot on a stove (and later "encouraging" her to leap off a cliff!), forcing a priest (who planned to rifle shoot the leader of the alien kids!) to shoot himself, hypnotizing a booze-guzzling janitor (played by George "Buck" Flower...who else?) into leaping off a ladder onto a broom handle and car, motivating a parent (wanting his kid back from the brood) to drive his truck into a gas explosion, and yet another victim to gut herself with a scalpel. All these are just some of the ghoulish misdeeds caused by the kids. Carpenter certainly unloads the goods at the end when you have the police and National Guard shooting each other into oblivion or the leader of an uprising mob (complete with torches) being forced to set herself on fire until she's a toasted corpse.
So the remake doesn't alter the basic structure of the previous incarnation (from 1960), basically maintaining the same look of the alien kids and the outcome where one man (in the previous film, George Sanders, who is a professor) must stop them. Using a "mental block" by focusing his mind with a brick wall around a secret he doesn't want the kids to know (in the conclusion's case, a medical bag with an explosive), Reeve's doctor will try and stop them once and for all, much the same way as Sanders in the '60 classic.
Characters come and go as the kids bump them off, but I guess Reeve brings conviction to his role (right before he was paralyzed in a horse riding accident; seeing him in this film does give me chills knowing how altered forever his life would be afterward) although Alley puffs on smokes and looks all secretive until her "project" is endangered when the kids start running roughshod over the whole township. Linda Kozlowski of Crocodile Dundee fame is rather sympathetic as Pare's lady who tries to persuade her alien boy (who seems to feel and empathize unlike the others) to remain with her instead of his "kind". Meredith Salenger is this young woman who loses her alien baby to a stillbirth and decides she can't "hack it anymore"...she is one of many rather underdeveloped or ill-casted parts (like Mark Hamill as a priest). Alley is shown occasionally but she too is rather a distant character in the film we never really get to know all too well. She almost feels like a post production casualty. Seeing George Flower warning the kids who then turn on him when he uses a broom handle to swipe across one their boys' faces is a hoot!
Because the film decides to follow the original rather closely only mainly straying in the violence and bouts of gruesomeness (it seems to turn into a slasher film not long after Reeve's wife takes the trip off the cliff), there's a predictability to it. I can't say I wasn't involved in the film, though. I certainly don't think it is a total waste.
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Dracula's Daughter ('36)
Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)
Mad Love 1935
Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: Gala - who? Not wanting a statue of him, are you?
Doctor Gogol: I don't want a statue of Galatea. You see, she was a statue herself. Pygmalion formed her. Out of marble, not wax. And then she came to life in his arms.
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [calling to his assistant] Start the motor, Henry. There's queer people on the streets of Montmartre at this time of night.
Doctor Gogol: [handing him his card] Here, a hundred francs if you deliver the statue to my house.
Lavin - Waxworks Proprietor: [reading card] It's a go, Dr. Go... gol. First thing in the morning.