Except it isn’t, of course. A month later, every woman capable of bearing a child is pregnant. Twelve perfectly healthy children are eventually born, each with blonde hair, “arresting” eyes, and narrow nails. At the age of 12 months, one of them opens a Chinese puzzle box. And what one learns, they all do—immediately—as if they share the same consciousness.
As David, young Martin Stephens gives a fine performance. One of the best child actors of the 1960s, Stephens had enough screen presence to hold his own against Deborah Kerr in The Innocents (1961). He had the unique ability to act like an adult trapped in a child’s body.
Village of the Damned is an unconventional science fiction film, so don’t expect answers to the questions it poses. A 1964 sequel, Children of the Damned, expanded on the notion that the children are feared mainly because they’re different (a theme also explored in Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive movies). John Carpenter directed a lifeless remake of Village of the Damned in 1995.
(Incidentally, co-writer Stirling Silliphant had an interesting career. He created the TV series Route 66 with Herbert B. Leonard and wrote most of the episodes. He later won an Oscar for In the Heat of the Night, had a boxoffice smash with The Poseidon Adventure, and became a martial arts student and friend to Bruce Lee. Silliphant, Lee, and James Coburn conceived a martial film called The Silver Flute. It was eventually made as Circle of Iron with David Carradine in the role intended for Bruce Lee.)