Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Michael Pare, Mark Hamill, Meredith Salenger, Thomas Dekker
Written by: David Himmelstein, based on a screenplay by George Barclay, Wolf Rilla, Stirling Silliphant, and on a novel by John Wyndham
Directed by: John Carpenter
MPAA Rating: R for some sci-fi terror and violence
Running Time: 99
Date: 04/28/1995
IMDB

Village of the Damned (1995)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Tyke Zone

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It's hard to argue that John Carpenter's remake of Village of the Damned is better than the 1960 original, or even good, but it's filled with so many clever, satisfying moments, it's worth a viewing, especially if, like some of us, you consider Carpenter to be an American master.

The cast alone is like a lineup from a perfect ComicCon: Christopher Reeve (Superman), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Kirstie Alley (Star Trek II), Linda Kozlowski ("Crocodile" Dundee), Michael Pare (Eddie and the Cruisers and Streets of Fire), and Meredith Salenger (grown up from The Journey of Natty Gann).

On the morning of a big picnic, a mysterious force makes everyone in the sleepy town of Midwich pass out for several hours. (One resident slumps forward onto a barbecue and is slowly grilled to death.) After waking, it becomes apparent that the women in town are all mysteriously pregnant. The babies are born, except one, which was strangled by its umbilical cord. Years later, the white-blonde haired children are creepy, emotionless, blankly staring. Carpenter arranges them across his widescreen frame like they're ready to strike.

They have the power to bend wills — some townspeople are easily, gruesomely killed — and can apparently read minds, so attacking them is out of the question. The catch is that one boy, David, is sad because of the dead child. "She was to be with me," he says. Carpenter shows the children marching, two-by-two, boys and girls, and then pint-sized David, alone at the back. It's hard not to feel a stirring of pity, but in any case, David becomes the key to solving the puzzle. It may not be a great ending, but it's a good ride.

Carpenter composed the score with Dave Davies of the The Kinks, and the director (credited as "Rip Haight") can be seen making a call at a pay phone. This was Reeve's last role before the horse-riding accident that paralyzed him.

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