Driving back from a weekend in London, Richard and Janet
Gayford are surprised to find the village of Midwich sealed
off because of 'army manoeuvres'. There are no birds singing,
the air seems thick and there is a strange sort of music in
the air. It soon becomes clear that there is an invisible
wall around the village, and everyone within the perimeter
is unconscious. When
the barrier lifts, the strange occurrence is put down to a
gas leak. The villagers seem to have suffered no adverse effects
from their 'day out' - until, some months later, there is
an epidemic of pregnancies among the women. All of the babies
are born on the same day, all have golden eyes - and they
can all communicate with each other telepathically. As they
grow older and their powers grow stronger, the people of Midwich
begin to feel threatened...
Midwich Cuckoos was
originally written by John Wyndham in 1957. Wyndham is most
famous for the 1951 The Day of the Triffids novel,
which was also released as a BBC
radio dramatisation back in 1968.
BBC adaptation of The Midwich Cuckoos was first broadcast
in 2003 and stars Bill Nighy and Sarah Parish. To be honest
though this recording is as timeless as the '68 Day of
the Triffids - with no effort made to set this version
at the turn of the 21st Century - thankfully. As far as movie
adaptations are concerned, the most famous are the Village
of the Damned / Children
of the Damned films from the '60s.
title is a reference to the cuckoo bird, which is known for
laying its eggs in the nest of other birds which then raise
them as their own. Here an "alien" presence has
laid its "eggs" in the wombs of all childbearing
women in Midwich in the hopes that they will raise them as
the children grow it soon becomes apparent that they are not
human, but still their parents care for them. It soon becomes
apparent that the children are separated into two entities.
The male's minds are all linked together as once large collective,
as are the female's.
story is in a similar vein to Jack Finney's 1955 book The
Body Snatchers (which went on to spawn two movie adaptations,
in 1956 and 1978, entitled The Invasion of the Body Snatchers).
modern adaptation will introduce an old classic to a new generation
of potential fans. The story is straightforward and more than
a little unnerving. And, in a time when we stand on the cusp
of the ability to produce human clones, this story takes on
a new slant. The children may no longer be simply from outer
space, but could be the result of a human scientific experiment.
for one am glad to see an old classic being reintroduced to
a modern audience and if you've never read The Midwich
Cuckoos then you really should pick up this new adaptation.