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|“||You can't stop us, you know. Don't try.||„|
|~ Mara Chaffee of the Children.|
The Children are the central antagonists of the Village of the Damned, as well as Children of The Damned and the 1957 science fiction novel The Midwich Cuckcoos by the late John Wyndham. This group of human-like alien youths were all albino and had powerful psychic abilities which manifested as glowing eyes when angered or provoked: unlike most horror villains, the children only attacked when they felt threatened but they were very easily provoked and believed in violent punishment for any who harmed them (this was especially prevalient in the remakes - where they tortured and killed in very gruesome ways). Despite appearing as human children, the Children are actually not of this world and were the result of a mysterious mass pregnancy. The children possesses strong psychic energies as well as a common emotionless personality. They exert a powerful mind control which makes them extremely dangerous.
The Midwich Cuckoos
In the British village of Midwich, Winshire, people start falling into unconsciousness en masse. Suspecting gas poisoning, the army is notified. They discover that a caged canary becomes unconscious upon entering Midwich, but regains consciousness when removed from the village. Aerial photography also shows an unidentifiable silvery object on the ground in the center of Midwich.
After one day the mysterious effect vanishes, along with the unidentified object, and the villagers wake up with no apparent ill effects. Some months later, however, every woman of the child-bearing age of Midwich is pregnant: even those who are single or not otherwise in relationships with men. With all indications that the pregnancies were caused by foreign origin during the period of unconsciousness that has become to be referred to as "The Dayout".
When the 31 boys and 30 girls are born they appear normal except for their golden eyes, pale and silver-like skins. These children have none of the genetic traits of their parents. As they grow up, it becomes apparent that they are (at least in some aspects) not fully human: they possess telepathic abilities and can control others' actions. The Children possess two distinct group minds: one for the boys and another for the girls. Their physical development is accelerated compared with that of normal humans; upon reaching the age of nine, they appear to be sixteen-year-olds.
The Military Intelligence department learn that the same phenomenon has occurred in four other parts of the world, including an Inuit settlement in the Canadian Arctic, a small township in Australia's Northern Territory, a Mongolian village and the town of Gizhinsk in eastern Russia northeast of Okhotsk. The Inuit killed the newborn Children, sensing their children are not their own, and the Mongolians killed the children and their mothers. The Australian babies had all died within a few weeks (suggesting that something may have gone wrong with the growth process). The Russian town was recently "accidentally" destroyed by the Soviet government, using an atomic weapon from a range of 50–60 miles.
The Children of Midwich are aware of the threat against them, and the Children protect themselves as much as possible using a form of mind control. One young man who accidentally hits a Child in the hip while driving a car is made to drive into a wall and kill himself. A bull which chased the Children is forced into a pond to drown. The villagers form a mob and try to burn down the Midwich Grange, where the Children are taught and live, but the Children make the villagers attack and kill each other. The Children also use their powers to prevent any planes from flying over the village. During an interview with a Military Intelligence officer, the Children explain that to solve the problem they must be destroyed. They explain that it is impossible to kill them unless the entire village is bombed out of existence, which results in massive civilian deaths. The Children present a suggestion (and an ultimatum): they want to migrate to a secure location, where they can live unharmed. They demand a plane from the government.
An educated elderly Midwich resident named Gordon Zellaby believes the Children must be killed as soon as possible. As he is terminally ill and has only a few weeks left to live due to a heart condition, he feels an obligation to do something. He has acted as a teacher and mentor of the Children and they regard him with as much affection as they can have for any human, permitting him to approach them closer than they allow other humans to. One evening, he, in effect abusing and betraying their trusts, hides a bomb in his projection equipment, while showing the Children a movie about the Greek islands as a potential haven for The Children. Zellaby sets the timer on the bomb, killing himself and all of the Children.
The inhabitants of the British village of Midwich suddenly fall unconscious, as does anyone entering the village. The military arrives and establishes a cordon around Midwich, but not even wearing protection gears save them from fainting, as soldiers who wore masks also passed out feeling cold sensation. The pilot of a military reconnaissance plane is contacted and asked to investigate. But when he flies below 5,000 feet, he too loses consciousness and the plane crashes. A five-mile exclusion zone around the village is established for all aircraft. After approximately four hours, the villagers regain consciousness, and all are seemingly okay.
2 months later, women and girls of child-bearing age in Midwich village are discovered to be pregnant, sparking many wild accusations of both infidelity and extramarital sex. The accusations are quickly silenced as the unusual nature of the pregnancies is exposed: these fetuses are actually larger and more mature than what normal fetuses should be at their current month of gestation.
Eventually, all pregnant women of Midwich give birth on the same day. Their children, when born, possess unusual appearance, including eyes with unwavering stare, odd scalp hair construction and colors (platinum blonde), and abnormally narrow fingernails. As the children grow and develop (once again) at an unusually rapid rate, it becomes clear they also have a powerful telepathic bond with one another. They can communicate with each other over great distances, and as one learns something, so do the others. At the age of 3, the children are precocious, physically and mentally the equivalent of children four times their age. Their behavior has become even more unusual and striking. They dress impeccably, always walk as a group, speaking in an adult manner, and behave maturely. But they show no conscience or love, and demonstrate a coldness or even hostility to others, causing the villagers to fear and be repulsed by them. The children begin to exhibit the power to read minds and to force people to do things against their will: there have been a number of villagers' deaths since the children were born, many of which are considered unusual, and some citizens began to believe the children are responsible. This is confirmed when the children are seen killing a man by making him crash his car into a wall, and again when they force his suspicious brother to shoot himself.
Professor Gordon Zellaby, whose wife Anthea gave birth to David Zellaby who is one of the children, attends a meeting with British Intelligence to discuss the children. There he learns Midwich was not the only place affected; follow-up investigations have revealed that similar incidents occurred in other areas of the world. Zellaby is at first eager to work with them, trying to teach them while hoping to learn more about them. The children are placed in a separate building where they will learn and live. But the children, even in isolation and confinement, continue to exert their will, and Zellaby learns the Soviet government has used an atomic cannon to destroy the sole remaining alternate village containing their own spawn of mutant children. Zellaby ultimately compares the children's resistance to reasoning with a brick wall and uses this motif as self-protection against their mind reading after the children's inhuman nature becomes clear to him. He takes a hidden time-bomb to a session with the children and tries to block their awareness of the bomb by visualizing a brick wall. David scans his mind, showing an emotion (astonishment) for the first time. The children try to break down Zellaby's mental wall and discover the truth a moment before the bomb detonates, consuming the building in flames and killing them all.
Children of the Damned
This is a sequel to the 1960 Movie and interprets the children as being more pure forms of human beings rather than evil and alien. Six children are identified by a team of UNESCO researchers investigating child development. The children possess extraordinary powers of intellect. They are born without a father and are also capable of telepathy.
The children, from various countries – China, India, Nigeria, the USSR, the United States and the UK – are brought to London for a collective study into their advanced intelligence. However, the children escape from their embassies and gather at an abandoned church in Southwark, London. They intermittently take mental control of a woman to help them survive in the derelict church. Meanwhile, the military debates whether or not to destroy them. The children have demonstrated the capacity for telekinesis and ability to construct a complex machine which uses sonic waves as a defensive weapon, which kills several government officials and soldiers. But the military realizes that they only fight back when attacked. After psychologist Tom Lewellin makes a plea asking the group return to their respective embassies, the children appear to obey but kill several more of embassy and military officials before returning to the church. Lewellin urges the government to give the children leeway, but Lewellin's team of scientists observe the difference between an ordinary human blood cell and the cells of one of the children, discovering the children to be non-human. The government deems that the children have potentials to become a threat to the human race.
When authorities try to take control of the children by force, children are forced to protect themselves. As the situation escalates into a final showdown between the military and the children, one of the Lewellin's scientists arrives, correcting himself that the judgment of the children being alien was incorrect and that the children's cells are in fact human, advanced by a million years. Meanwhile, the children also imply they have arrived at the decision their presence is incompatible with that of basic humans, and therefore they intend to lower their defences and sacrifice themselves. The military commander recognizes a mistake has been made, and aborts the attack command. But the order comes too late: the command is triggered accidentally by a screwdriver – one of the simplest of basic man's machines. The church is destroyed, and the children are killed.
Instead of Britain, this remake takes place in the United States of America. The coastal town of Midwich in California's Marin County is being invaded by an unseen force, causing a blackout for six hours, which leaves ten women mysteriously pregnant.
9 months later, the babies from the ten women are born simultaneously on one night, though one is stillborn. At first, they all appear to be normal, but it does not take the parents long to notice that they are anything but: the children are shown to all have pale skin, pale white hair, very advanced IQ, and cobalt-colored eyes but devoid of emotion or conscience. The children soon pair off as a male and a female, except for one of the boys, David McGowan, whose intended partner was the stillborn baby of the later tragically suicidal Melanie Roberts (whom was speculated or rumored by the townspeople to be a virgin). As a result, he exhibits normal human emotions while still resembling the other children and partially retaining their psychic powers. Their leader is Mara Chaffee, the daughter of local physician Dr. Alan Chaffee and local real estate agent Barbara Chaffee, but also the one truly responsible for her mother's psychically induced suicide when she and David were infants.
The children display psychic abilities that can result in violent consequences whenever they experience wrath or provocation. Government epidemiology expert and National Science Foundation representative Dr. Susan Verner, is forced to show the children the preserved stillborn baby she secretly kept to perform an autopsy, which is unveiled as an alien. She then is made to eviscerate herself. An angry mob gathers to kill the children, but the mob leader whose beloved priest husband unsuccessfully tried to gun down the Children on his own, is set on fire upon herself instead and burns to death while the state police sent there are instead hypnotized into shooting each other in a chaotic gun battle. Just like in 1960 movie, it is revealed that there are other colonies of children in foreign countries, but they had been quickly eliminated due to their inhuman nature. The children eventually move to the local barn as their classroom and for their perceived 'survival'.
In order to rid the town of the children, Doctor Alan Chaffee devises a plan: to detonate a briefcase of explosives inside the Children's classroom. By thinking of a brick wall, he is able to create a mental barrier and keep the presence of the bomb a secret from the children. Jill begs him to spare David because he is not like the others, and Alan agrees. He attempts to do this by asking David to leave the classroom to get his notebook from his car. As Alan and the Children exchange a heated discussion about isolation (the children desire to establish their own community away from humanity) against co-existence (Alan argues that they need to master this to ultimately survive and continue to go on living), the children begin to suspect that Alan is hiding something, and they use their mind control to repeatedly batter down Alan's mental wall. Then Jill shows up, and the children stop her and attempt to use mind control on her. David, grown tired of the Children, rushes to Jill's defense and knocks Mara over. The children turn on David, but Jill rushes him from the building. As soon as the children discover Alan thinking of the time bomb, it detonates, killing everyone inside, along with Alan.
Jill and David survive the massacre; she says that they will both move to a place where nobody knows them. David looks off into the distance as they drive away.