One of the best British science-fiction films and one of the most controversial, THESE ARE THE DAMNED was made in 1961, butchered by its producers, and not released in England until 1963, eventually finding its way to American shores in 1965. The story concerns a young American, Carey,
who, while visiting the English seaside, meets and falls in love with Field, the sister of sadistic and lecherous motorcycle gang leader Reed. Reed despises the American, and this rivalry for his sister's affections bring his own incestuous feelings for her bubbling to the surface. Eventually the
couple is driven away by Reed and they take refuge in a cave under a nearby military base. There they discover a group of children living in the cave who are cold to the touch. The children are the result of an experiment conducted by scientist Knox, who seeks to develop a race of humans capable
of surviving an atomic blast. Unfortunately, the children have all become radioactive during the experiment and unwittingly kill anyone who comes into unguarded contact with them. Seeing the children as surrogates for the family they will never be allowed to have (if Reed has anything to say about
it), Carey and Field free the youngsters and are unknowingly subjected to massive doses of radiation. The climax sees the scientist and the military recapturing the children as a lone helicopter hovers over the young couple (who have drifted out to sea in a small boat), waiting for them to die.
Unrelentingly grim and haunting, the film was directed by American expatriate Losey, who fled the US because of his declared Marxist beliefs. The film won the Golden Asteroid at the 1964 Trieste Festival of Science Fiction Films.
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