Monday, March 10, 2014


Over the weekend, TCM ran Village of the Damned, a classic, black & white British thriller starring George Sanders. It tells the story of the little village of Midwich where, one day, all its living creatures suddenly drop unconscious for several hours. Two months later, every  Midwich woman of childbearing age, including virgins, are suddenly pregnant. Eventually, all give birth simultaneously to children who soon prove themselves to be super-intelligent telepaths, possessing glowing eyes that control the villagers' minds. It's never made quite clear how these children were created, but their true parentage is definitely not of this world.

It's a fine, creepy movie, all the better for its get-in-and-get-out 78-minute running time. But it was only later that evening, while pondering the deeper meaning of the story, I suddenly got a chill down my spine. One of these kids is among us today, using the same despicable powers. And his name is... Ronan Farrow!

It's all there for anyone to discover. The blonde hair and pale skin. The all-too perfect human facial features. The flat, emotionless voice. The inhuman gaze. No, friends, this so-called Ronan Farrow (and, remember, that isn't even his real name) is not of this earth. Probably not even of this galaxy. 

I'm mad, you say? Then consider this:

  • At age 11, Ronan Farrow enters Bard College at Simon's Rock. That means he skipped seven grades.
  • Upon graduation, he enters Yale Law and becomes a speechwriter for diplomat Richard Holbrooke. At 15. Just an ordinary human, hunh? Whatever you say, boss.
  • Farrow becomes a Rhodes scholar at 23. Most 23 year-olds can't even spell "scholar."
  • Twenty minutes after meeting him, MSNBC president Phil Griffin, offers Farrow -- a television neophyte -- a daily one-hour news program. Two days after the debut of said program, Farrow is presented the Cronkite Award for Exploration and Journalism. You really think there isn't any mind control going on here?
  • Nobody knows who his father really is.
  • Those eyes. Those eyes! Make it stop!
Like the tongue-twisting tagline on the poster says, BEWARE THE STARE THAT WILL PARALYZE THE WILL OF THE WORLD. One day, we were going about our business -- making ham sandwiches, Swiffering the floor, avoiding phone calls from relatives. Then suddenly we fell asleep and awoke to find ourselves looking at this Ronan Farrow creature in every newspaper and webpage in the world. Everybody started talking about him -- even though the day before we couldn't have picked him out of a police line-up. Unlike the guy on the left.

You'd think Ronan Farrow would be ashamed of such nakedly ambitious ladder-climbing. But as David -- the leader of the Village of the Damned children -- explains to George Sanders, the only thing that stops regular earthlings from becoming super-beings is their emotions. In other words, Ronan Farrow doesn't care what he does to anybody! Beware the stare that will paralyze the will of your television remote.

And yet there is hope for us. Learning that these terrifying kids can read the thoughts in the villagers' frontal lobes, George Sanders thinks of a brick wall as he readies their destruction... just as MSNBC boss Phil Griffin seems to believe that anybody immune to Master Farrow's ability to lodge himself in their brains must be a blockhead. 

That's the answer to this frightening turn of events. Whenever you come across Ronan Farrow on your TV, think of a brick wall. Or concrete slab, steel door, cement sidewalk. Five sheets of acrylic might even do the trick. But even if Farrow disappears from the airwaves tomorrow, be warned: there are more waiting to take his place. And they're the answer to Jeff Zucker's prayers.

This... is CNN.

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