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These Are the Damned, also known as The Damned, is a cult British movie from the 1960s set in Weymouth, starring Macdonald Carey, Shirley Anne Field and Oliver Reed. It happens to hold great appeal for me since I first saw it around seven years ago.

Based on the novel The Children of Light by H.L Lawrence and directed by Joseph Losey, These Are the Damned follows Joan (Field) and her overbearing, jealous brother, King (Reed), who follows her escape from Weymouth harbour with American tourist Simon (Carey). They uncover a group of children living in caves, who are cold-blooded and know little about the outside world. The children are radioactive and are being held by the government. Educated by television, they believe Joan and Simon have come to rescue them.

It’s a more unusual Hammer film, and one which splits opinion. I can only attribute the mood of the film, its seaside location and the presence of Oliver Reed to my liking These Are the Damned. The gang violence in this film – although much tamer I might add – was said to have influenced the droogs in A Clockwork Orange. The punk band The Damned took their name from this movie.

During a trip to Dorset I decided to stop in Weymouth to visit the seafront, which is integral to the plot.

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The Jubilee Clock Tower, erected in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria, appears in the opening scene where Joan (Field) and Simon (Carey) first meet.

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The Kings Statue, named for King George III, was built in 1810. This is the meeting place of King (Reed) and his cronies. They often sit on the lion and unicorn parts of the statue. There is now a fence surrounding this, in case you have similar whims.

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The song in the opening credits, Black Leather Rock, is repeatedly whistled and sung by the main characters throughout the film as a sort of calling card, and is a nod to the teddy boy movement prevalent at the time.

The opening scene of These Are the Damned (1963).

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