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The tale begins as every inhabitant of the village of Midwich, even the animals, suddenly falls unconscious, and anyone entering the village likewise falls unconscious. The military establishes a cordon around the village, plus a five-mile exclusion zone for aircraft after the pilot of a plane passing overhead falls unconscious, causing the plane to crash. Nobody can enter the village to find the cause - but when everyone in Midwich wakes again, apparently unaffected by what is soon dubbed a "time out," the danger appears to have passed.
However, two months later, all women and girls of child-bearing age are discovered to be pregnant. All the women give birth on the same day, to strangely identical children, all possessing white-blond hair, striking eyes, and unusual fingernails. As the children grow and develop at a surprising rate, it becomes clear that they share a telepathic bond: what one knows, the others soon know also. And Midwich was not the only community so affected: communities in Australia, Canada, Irkutsk, and the Soviet Union have all seen such births.
However, there is something about these children - these intelligent, well-behaved children - that frightens the adults of Midwich. They show no conscience or love, and can use their mental powers to read minds and force people to do things against their will, even kill themselves.
Now the real question is this: What do they want?
Village of the Damned was followed by a sequel, Children of the Damned, in 1963, and a remake in 1995, directed by John Carpenter and starring Christopher Reeve and Kirstie Alley.
Village of the Damned contains examples of:
- Bizarre Baby Boom: Possibly the first visual media example.
- But I Can't Be Pregnant: Aliens impregnate every woman of child-bearing age in a small English town. Initial reactions range from joy (from a previously childless couple) to suspicion (from a husband who's been away at sea) to this incredulous reaction from a teenage virgin.
- Cosy Catastrophe
- Creepy Child: All the mutant children.
- The End - or Is It?: The final shot in the end of the original movie has the glowing eyes headed towards the audience as they are looking through the fire.
- Enfante Terrible: Guess. Go on, guess.
- Evil Albino: The children.
- Eyes of Gold: The children.
- Face Full of Alien Wingwong: The children are implied to be the result of alien impregnation during the time out.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The alien children have these when they use their psychic powers.
- Kill'Em All: In the original, all of the alien children die along with the teacher responsible, but everyone else survives.
- Literal Metaphor: In the original, the protagonist focuses on the words "brick wall" to hide how he plans to kill the psychic children. We see their attempts to break through his Psychic Static as a literal brick wall, which slowly falls to pieces as they force their way in.
- Hypnotic Eyes
- Oh Crap: The children's reaction when they find out what's behind the "brick wall".
- Most adults' reactions to turning around and seeing a cluster of the children staring intently at them. Then their eyes start to glow..
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide: And the children do this for fun.
- Uncanny Valley: The Evil Albino in conjunction with the Hive Mind and the complete, and utter lack of emotion the children possesses, has this effect on the audience, and even in-universe.
- The Un-Reveal: We never learn who created the children, or why.
The remake provides examples of:
- Bullying a Dragon: In the remake, when the janitor, for whatever reason, decided to harass the children by swinging around a broom. He hits one of them. It does not end well.
- Creepy Child: All the mutant children. The remake tried to fudge this by having one of the boys (the son of the local schoolteacher) lose his female counterpart in childbirth, and thus learn empathy... and he's still creepy
- Disproportionate Retribution: In the remake, the children take any pain inflicted upon them, accidentally or otherwise, and force the adults to experience it taken Up to Eleven.
- The little girl who is accidentally given too hot soup, and coincidentally is the leader of the group? She makes her mother stick her arm into a boiling pan of water. And then makes her commit suicide via driving off a cliff.
- Another little girl has an acidic substance accidentally dropped in her eyes during an exam. The ringleader of the children then makes the optician use said drops on her own eyes over and over until she's left permanently blind.
- The End - or Is It?: In the final shot of the remake, it was implied there was a sequel in the works involving David.
- Hellish Copter: In the 1995 film, the children mind-whammy a police helicopter pilot into making a rather abrupt and explosive crashlanding.
- Hey, It's That Guy!:
- Kill'Em All: The remake had everyone die except for the teacher girl and one of the alien children, the only one to have developed human emotions.
- Man On Fire: The minister's Holier Than Thou wife, Sarah, leads a group that tries to attack the kids while holding a torch. Guess what happens.
- Redemption Earns Life: In the remake, the one child who refuses to use his powers for harm survives.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: David in the 1995 remake.