Still Watching the Skies: Episode 25 “Those Damned Kids”
Robert, Nat, and Cody are joined by Patrick Ripoll of Tracks of the Damned to deal with those damned kids. Not the kind of kids that won’t stay off your lawn, but rather three films featuring specially powered creepy children that might be the future of the human race if they don’t end it first. That’s right, we’re talking about 1960’s VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, its sequel CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED, and Joseph Losey and Hammer Films’ take on the idea, THESE ARE THE DAMNED aka THE DAMNED. Albeit, after Robert spoils a 175 year old story, so be warned.
First up is the iconic VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED based upon John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos. In this one, we debate the merits of military intelligence, particularly their wasteful use of airplanes, talk about Nazi eugenics nightmares, communist menaces, and extreme pettiness of some creepy children. We praise the intelligence of George Sanders, but wonder about the blunt brick wall ending of the film.
Next up is MGM’s sequel, CHILDREN OF THE DAMNED which is a sequel in the loosest sense. We grapple with the religious imagery of the film while praising the lived in performances by the two lead scientists. We ponder evil screwdrivers and mutually assured destruction metaphors. All leading to a discussion of the British new wave of the 1960s. And praise of organ music in horror films.
All that leads to Joseph Losey’s THESE ARE THE DAMNED where a fleeing couple are chased by a motorcycle gang led by the great Oliver Reed. Is Robert punking his co-hosts and guest or is there a method to his madness? More to the point, is there a method to Joseph Losey’s madness? There’s most certainly a debate about the merits of this film, and some donations to the pretension jar are made, but nobody disputes that this stylish film is utterly bonkers with a go for broke bleak ending. Maybe you too won’t be able to get Black Leather Rock out of your head after listening to this segment.
But wait, there’s more. A discussion of the legacy of VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED includes the subject of psychic powered children which leads us to the most talked about show of the summer, STRANGER THINGS. We’re as surprised as everyone else that this show turned out so topical.
Next month, we set our sights on outer space and some particularly strange regions with the campy BARBARELLA and the loopy DARK STAR. We’re going to discover just how weird outer space can be with this one.