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Village of the Damned (1995, Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley)



John Wyndham is one of the finest UK scifi writers of the 20th century, his work though has surprisingly been little adapted, best known for The Day of the Triffids, Wyndham’s style is actually perfect for either TV or Cinema and Midwich (also filmed in 1960), which is also one of his best reads, is here turned into Village of the Damned by legendary horror meister John Carpenter.

Made in 1995, VOTD is set in a seemingly perfect small American town where, following an alien visitation, ten children all born at the same time to ten different local women but looking remarkably alike with their platinum blond hair and displays of psychic ability. When the children decide to start taking over and will stop at nothing to do so, local doctor Alan Chaffee (Christopher Reeve in one of his last roles before being paralysed in his horse riding accident), whose own wife was one of the women who was impregnanted during the alien “stop over”, realises just what a threat these children pose and that they must be stopped, by any means necessary.

John Carpenter does well to translate the decidedly eerie vibe of the children from Wyndham’s original novel although moving the action to America shouldn’t make a difference it does jar a little with Wyndham’s very English style. Reeve is excellent though as Dr Chaffee, a nicely calm centre to the increasing mayhem going on around him. Kirstie Alley is somewhat out of place as a government scientist drafted in to help with the births of the children.

production details
USA | 99 minutes | 1995

Director: John Carpenter
Script: David Himmelstein, John Wyndham,

Christopher Reeve as Dr. Alan Chaffee
Kirstie Alley as Dr. Susan Verner
Linda Kozlowski as Jill McGowan
Meredith Salenger as Melanie Roberts
Mark Hamill as Reverend George
Pippa Pearthree as Sarah, George’s Wife
Peter Jason as Ben Blum
Michael Paré as Frank McGowan
Thomas Dekker as David McGowan
Cody Dorkin as Robert
Constance Forslund as Callie Blum
Karen Kahn as Barbara Chaffee
Lindsey Haun as Mara Chaffee
George Buck Flower as Carlton
Ralph Miller as Village