The Damned (These Are the Damned) Reviews

  • Jan 19, 2017

    Part 'Motor Psycho,' part 'Children of the Damned,' this worthwhile Hammer Films sci-fi effort hits a number of genres in one unique and compelling film. A biker gang, a hot female lead, creepy kids, government conspiracy, a mysterious hideaway - and more - it's all here, plus the repeated playing of a song you won't soon forget. 'Black leather, black leather!' Dig it, dammit!

    Part 'Motor Psycho,' part 'Children of the Damned,' this worthwhile Hammer Films sci-fi effort hits a number of genres in one unique and compelling film. A biker gang, a hot female lead, creepy kids, government conspiracy, a mysterious hideaway - and more - it's all here, plus the repeated playing of a song you won't soon forget. 'Black leather, black leather!' Dig it, dammit!

  • Feb 09, 2016

    Odd blend of social drama (in which an American ex-pat pursues a young British girl but gets harassed by her brother and his band of "teddy boys") and science fiction (in which they stumble into an underground cave where a scientist has been raising children from birth contacting them only through a video screen). It doesn't entirely coalesce but around halfway through things started to become interesting - of course, the earlier uncomfortable social dynamics are probably more consistent with director Joseph Losey's other output (especially when he started working with Pinter). However, I was there primarily for the sci-fi in Hammerscope this time and it doesn't really disappoint - perhaps it feels even weirder (these cold-as-ice children and their predicament) because it's crammed uneasily into another picture. But such is/was the world where the nuclear threat was inserted surreally into everyone's daily existence (see also Peter Watkins' The War Game, filmed around the same time in Britain). Worth a look.

    Odd blend of social drama (in which an American ex-pat pursues a young British girl but gets harassed by her brother and his band of "teddy boys") and science fiction (in which they stumble into an underground cave where a scientist has been raising children from birth contacting them only through a video screen). It doesn't entirely coalesce but around halfway through things started to become interesting - of course, the earlier uncomfortable social dynamics are probably more consistent with director Joseph Losey's other output (especially when he started working with Pinter). However, I was there primarily for the sci-fi in Hammerscope this time and it doesn't really disappoint - perhaps it feels even weirder (these cold-as-ice children and their predicament) because it's crammed uneasily into another picture. But such is/was the world where the nuclear threat was inserted surreally into everyone's daily existence (see also Peter Watkins' The War Game, filmed around the same time in Britain). Worth a look.

  • Jun 25, 2015

    A public servant is the only servant that has secrets from its master. An American tourist in Europe comes across a girl running away from her brother's gang. He rescues the girl, falls in love, but she surely isn't in love with him. They escaped in his boat and when she discovers his feelings she quickly asks to be dropped off on land. He pulls up to a strange house used by an eccentric doctor. They try to sail off but they end up washed up back at the house and saved by some strange kids who claim to reside in the doctor's mansion. What is going on in this strange house? "If I could explain these I wouldn't have to make them." Joseph Losey, director of The Servant, The Go-Between, Don Giovanni, Mr. Klein, A Doll's House, Concrete Jungle, Figures in a Landscape, and X: the Unknown, delivers These are the Damned. The storyline for this picture is interesting, unique, and unfolds well. The concept was better than I anticipated and the acting was okay. The cast includes Macdonald Carey, Shirley Anne Field, Viveca Lindfors, Alexander Knox, and Oliver Reed. "You must have respect for other people's property." I came across this movie on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and decided to give it a shot. This was better than I anticipated. I thought it would be a Village of the Damned like plot, but I found it slightly more interesting than that. This was an interesting thriller worth a viewing but not worth adding to your collection. "It's much easier to be polite when clean." Grade: B-

    A public servant is the only servant that has secrets from its master. An American tourist in Europe comes across a girl running away from her brother's gang. He rescues the girl, falls in love, but she surely isn't in love with him. They escaped in his boat and when she discovers his feelings she quickly asks to be dropped off on land. He pulls up to a strange house used by an eccentric doctor. They try to sail off but they end up washed up back at the house and saved by some strange kids who claim to reside in the doctor's mansion. What is going on in this strange house? "If I could explain these I wouldn't have to make them." Joseph Losey, director of The Servant, The Go-Between, Don Giovanni, Mr. Klein, A Doll's House, Concrete Jungle, Figures in a Landscape, and X: the Unknown, delivers These are the Damned. The storyline for this picture is interesting, unique, and unfolds well. The concept was better than I anticipated and the acting was okay. The cast includes Macdonald Carey, Shirley Anne Field, Viveca Lindfors, Alexander Knox, and Oliver Reed. "You must have respect for other people's property." I came across this movie on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and decided to give it a shot. This was better than I anticipated. I thought it would be a Village of the Damned like plot, but I found it slightly more interesting than that. This was an interesting thriller worth a viewing but not worth adding to your collection. "It's much easier to be polite when clean." Grade: B-

  • May 14, 2015

    Radioactive children of the future meant to survive an inevitable nuclear holocaust.

    Radioactive children of the future meant to survive an inevitable nuclear holocaust.

  • Oct 16, 2014

    Losey's subtext: male, patriarcal power.

    Losey's subtext: male, patriarcal power.

  • Sep 15, 2014

    Cheap throw-away culture is often most acutely attuned to the pulse of the time, and this fascinating visually-dazzling allegory encompasses all the then-current social hang-ups, from dysfunctional teenage hoodlums, through beatnik art-weirdness into chilling state suppression of sinister nuclear secrets.

    Cheap throw-away culture is often most acutely attuned to the pulse of the time, and this fascinating visually-dazzling allegory encompasses all the then-current social hang-ups, from dysfunctional teenage hoodlums, through beatnik art-weirdness into chilling state suppression of sinister nuclear secrets.

  • Dec 30, 2012

    Oliver Reed rules, but this is another weird as a beard Losey movie. I haven't seen one I've liked yet.

    Oliver Reed rules, but this is another weird as a beard Losey movie. I haven't seen one I've liked yet.

  • Jun 11, 2012

    In this mostly forgotten Hammer oddity, an older man named Simon (Macdonald Carey) and a beautiful young rebel named Joan (Shirley Ann Field) discover an underground prison containing a group of strange children while running from the girl's sadistic, jealous brother (Oliver Reed). The film shoots back and forth between absurd and brilliant, and actually hinges on a surprisingly thought-provoking twist. The movie's director, Joseph Losey, has enjoyed a reevaluation by the world of film criticism in his favor very recently, and I think this is a good example of why that is. I can't imagine how audiences took the film when it was released, other than assuming they didn't like it. It combines the energetic impatience of rebellious films of the late fifties with the slow meditation of an art house film, and takes a sharp turn into science-fiction in its last act. In short, it's a mess, but I think it's the kind of ambitious mess that can start to be appreciated in a time where genre-blending has become more accepted and seriously taken. The real weakness of the film probably lies in the odd sexual energy between its two central characters. Macdonald Carey just doesn't fit this role; he's a little too old for the part, which seemed written for a Cary Grant-type playboy; he comes across as a cheap version of that, and one gets the impression that young Shirley Ann Field was spitting out his kisses between takes. As soon as the two are rescued by a group of children near some seaside bluffs, however, things get interesting. Simon, Joan and her leather-clad brother begin to discover some disturbing secrets, starting with the fact that the kids seem to carry some kind of supernatural energy. The whole thing is a fascinating disaster, and while it will never gain a late appreciation the way films like 'The Prowler' have, it serves as a singular beast in any of the genres it dabbles in.

    In this mostly forgotten Hammer oddity, an older man named Simon (Macdonald Carey) and a beautiful young rebel named Joan (Shirley Ann Field) discover an underground prison containing a group of strange children while running from the girl's sadistic, jealous brother (Oliver Reed). The film shoots back and forth between absurd and brilliant, and actually hinges on a surprisingly thought-provoking twist. The movie's director, Joseph Losey, has enjoyed a reevaluation by the world of film criticism in his favor very recently, and I think this is a good example of why that is. I can't imagine how audiences took the film when it was released, other than assuming they didn't like it. It combines the energetic impatience of rebellious films of the late fifties with the slow meditation of an art house film, and takes a sharp turn into science-fiction in its last act. In short, it's a mess, but I think it's the kind of ambitious mess that can start to be appreciated in a time where genre-blending has become more accepted and seriously taken. The real weakness of the film probably lies in the odd sexual energy between its two central characters. Macdonald Carey just doesn't fit this role; he's a little too old for the part, which seemed written for a Cary Grant-type playboy; he comes across as a cheap version of that, and one gets the impression that young Shirley Ann Field was spitting out his kisses between takes. As soon as the two are rescued by a group of children near some seaside bluffs, however, things get interesting. Simon, Joan and her leather-clad brother begin to discover some disturbing secrets, starting with the fact that the kids seem to carry some kind of supernatural energy. The whole thing is a fascinating disaster, and while it will never gain a late appreciation the way films like 'The Prowler' have, it serves as a singular beast in any of the genres it dabbles in.

  • Jun 03, 2012

    This movie is... dated. Like, really dated. Misogyny, cold war weirdness, not a very good film, pretty funny though even though it's not supposed to be. BLACK LEATHER, BLACK LEATHER, CRASH CRASH CRASH. Inside jokes galore w/ the guy I saw it with now though. So that's good. [1/5 STARS] [060312]

    This movie is... dated. Like, really dated. Misogyny, cold war weirdness, not a very good film, pretty funny though even though it's not supposed to be. BLACK LEATHER, BLACK LEATHER, CRASH CRASH CRASH. Inside jokes galore w/ the guy I saw it with now though. So that's good. [1/5 STARS] [060312]

  • May 28, 2012

    One of Hammer's weirdest and most memorable films--Brilliant sci-fi 60s Paranoia!!

    One of Hammer's weirdest and most memorable films--Brilliant sci-fi 60s Paranoia!!