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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

These Are The Damned (1963)

Like most Hammer Productions, These Are The Damned is filmed well and acted well.  However, it's weakness lies in the plot.  It just doesn't know what kind of movie it wants to be.  It starts out as a crime thriller where an American tourist is robbed by a gang of leather-clad teenage boys.  The soundtrack is hip and catchy and you're prepared to enjoy an early 60's "youth gone bad" flick.  
But wait, then we are introduced to a group of children who are pronounced "dead" by one of the character in the film.  Yet, they are not walking around like mindless flesh-eating zombies.  Instead, they are wise beyond their years,a little too precocious and in need of rescue.  The soundtrack changes and you almost feel like you're slipping into horror territory.
Then a guy in what looks like a space suit arrives on the scene.  WTF?  Now, you're in a Sci-Fi flick!  We later learn this outfit is a radiation suit and These Are The Damned makes an abrupt U-turn and travels back to a 1950's atomic radiation paranoia picture.
Yep, it's a bit confusing, to say the least.  
Because These Are The Damned is attached to Hammer Studios, reviewers appear to be much kinder than they should be.  While it is a well made film, it's plot gives the viewer cinematic whiplash.  Even the presence of Oliver Reed cannot save it.  There are much better Hammer Horror films to watch than this one.  I wouldn't waste my time.
For more info check out the episode's entry in IMDB.

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