The Damned

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The Damned is a 1963 British science fiction horror film directed by Joseph Losey and starring Macdonald Carey, Shirley Anne Field, Viveca Lindfors and Oliver Reed. Based on H.L. Lawrence’s 1960 novel The Children of Light, it was a Hammer Film production.

Simon Wells, a middle-aged American tourist, is on a boating holiday off the south coast of England. He has recently divorced and left his career as an insurance executive. In Weymouth, he meets 20-year-old Joan, who lures him into a brutal mugging at the hands of her brother King and his motorbike gang. The next day Joan defies her overprotective brother and joins Simon on his boat.

Simon is willing to forgive and forget; Joan implies that the beating was inevitable after Simon attempted to pick up Joan in a bar. She describes the abuse she suffers from King whenever men show interest in her. Simon urges her to run away with him but she insists upon returning to shore. Their time on the water is observed by a member of King’s gang.

American director Joseph Losey had moved to Britain after being blacklisted by Hollywood. The film was produced by Hammer, which had enjoyed great success with such horror films as Dracula, and The Curse of Frankenstein.

A script was originally written by Ben Barzman which was reasonably faithful to the original novel. Losey then had this rewritten by Evan Jones two weeks prior to filming. Losey originally wanted Neilson the sculptor to be killed by one of the helicopters but the studio insisted that Bernard kill her. The studio also wished to tone down the incestuous references between King and Joan.

The sculptures featured were all by British artist Elisabeth Frink. Frink not only lent these but also was on location for their shooting and coached Lindfors on performing the sculptor’s method of building up plaster, which was then ferociously worked and carved. The film was shot at Hammer’s Bray Studios and on location around Weymouth and nearby Chesil Beach.

The film went over budget by £25,000.

Reared to survive a nuclear war, kids for the future meet a couple on the run from a gang of thugs. This movie was once shelved by Hammer for two years because of its dark content.

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