I'm desperately trying to catch up here with a remake of a 1960 classic called Village of the Damned. I gotta be honest, as I always try to be. I never saw the original. All I know about it is that there are some creepy kids and it's black and white. So, this picture keeps the creepy kids, but loses the black and white. I guess I can review this thing based on its own merits.
Of those (merits) there are too few.
Which is disappointing because Carpenter made some great stuff leading up to this. We got his early shit like Assault on Precinct 13 (remake of Rio Bravo), Halloween (original concept? Perhaps inspired by Black Christmas), The Thing (remake of the The Thing From Another World), Christine, Prince of Darkness, They Live, and, right before Village, In the Mouth of Madness. That's like a murder's row of 80s to early 90s genre shit. I'm not even bringing up Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York, or Starman. The guy was on a roll. Unfortunately, with Village of the Damned, the cracks begin to show and by the end of the picture, everything's collapsed. I'd argue he'd never really recover. He got lazy. Sure, Escape from L.A. has a few moments and it retains much of the intelligence strewn throughout his earlier work. Vampires is a fun western. With vampires. Ghosts of Mars is like a remake of his own Assault on Precinct 13 only set on Mars. And with Ghosts. It's unwatchable. I've tried to sit through it many times and always pass out around the time Pam Grier loses her head. Anyway, the point is Carpenter isn't what he used to be and I think that Village of the Damned is where the train went completely off the rails.
Which is an absolute shame because the picture gets off to a great start. We got a quiet little Rockwell-esque village known as Midwich, U.S.A. We got a tight little community where everyone knows everyone. Even the town drunk is sorta just accepted and loved. We got Christopher Reeve, one of the sincerest actors in the history of acting, in his final role before the accident that left him paralyzed and ultimately killed him. So, I guess that leaves a bit of a pall over the entire project. Reeve plays the town doctor and is very good here.
The opening scenes are magnificent as some sort of unseen force ripples through the town causing everyone to pass out. Michael Pare (Eddie & The Cruisers), despite being one of the "stars" passes out at the wheel of his truck and dies in a fiery crash. One guy passed out while cooking barbecue and did a face plant on the grill. And, of course, ten women (including the doctor's wife, Pare's widow, etc) woke up only to discover they were pregnant. In some cases, it's impossible (one girl's a virgin, one couple wasn't having sex, one husband was away in Japan for the last half a year, etc). Anyway, the government shows up to investigate, led by the Kirstie Alley. She's the opposite of Reeve; completely insincere and, just all around, not good (her acting and her character).
The story then jumps ahead nine months. An infirmary is set up for the mothers, doctors lined up, birthing procedures followed, etc. Only, Alley's a little too quick to announce one baby as stillborn while rushing it off to her private lab. Then the movie jumps ahead a few years. The space babies are now kids with platinum white hair. They got mind control type powers. Mara, Reeve's daughter, appears to be the leader. She convinces his wife, her mother, to submerge her arm in boiling water, walk off a cliff, and so on. Basically, to generally kill herself. Point is these kids got no humanity. They're evil. They hate people. They'd enslave them but since they can also read minds they know the people would eventually revolt. So, destroy them is the best option I guess. No way can they co-exist. Well, one of these kids actually develops a little differently than the others. David actually seems to love his mother, doesn't have this rationally, irrational hatred of mankind. I think we may be heading for some sort of showdown type thing.
Sort of. I mean, I liked this one in parts. Meaning, I liked the beginning. I liked some of the mind tricks these kids would pull. The whole project is pretty lazy though. We don't got much tension. I really only cared about Reeve's character. Hated Alley's character (which is good 'cause she eviscerates (spoiler) herself). I mean, an example of the inherent laziness of the script is the scene where a dad of one of the kids goes looking for his daughter in his truck. He gets a staredown, some eyes turn red, and next thing you know he's driving off the road and smack dab into a giant barrel of gasoline which just happens to be lying out smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Maybe the kids imagined it, I don't know.
There's also some shit about this being a global epidemic, we got threats of nuclear annihilation, etc. We got a scene where Reeve thinks of a brick wall so those little shits can't read his thoughts which is good because he's holding a briefcase with a bomb inside. They ask what's in the case but all that mind reading shit made them lazy and unable to properly deduce. There's shit involving a mob of townspeople which doesn't go very far. Some policemen turn their guns on each other, etc etc. Unfortunately, after a great beginning my interest began to wane. Where did these kids come from? Why is it that an alien race that has the technology to cause ripples that can knock out an entire population needs to concoct an overly elaborate plan just to destroy the human race. I'm assuming while the town was unconscious they sent down a couple of alien Cassanovas to have their way with the hottest women? Maybe these guys are just sex starved. Either way, this movie, for me, symbolizes the end of John Carpenter (or, is it?) and Christopher Reeve, so I gotta say I don't like it.