The latest series of the British science fiction television series Torchwood—Children of Earth—has been acclaimed in the UK and the United States. I haven't seen it, but what I've read about the story reminds me of two other classic British movies about children who pose a threat to the planet—Village of the Damned (based on John Wyndham's novel The Midwich Cuckoos) and its sequel, Children of the Damned. Fortunately you can get them together in a double-feature package.
The original novel
There are only four years (from 1960 to 1964) between the two films, but there's at least a decade (maybe a whole generation) separating them in style and theme.
It's the difference between the 1950s and the 1960s, between Pat Boone and the Beatles.
Village of the Damned takes place in the village of Midwich, middle England at its most pastoral. Midwich is subject to a parthenogenetic invasion of blond alien children.
Children of the Damned is set in hectic London, filled with immigrant families. This story is about a group of children with different skin colors and languages but the same Mind, mutations that may be the next step in human evolution—not Them, but Us.
The Children of the Damned: England's Dreaming
The "Midwich Cuckoos" in Village of the Damned are a murderous threat to the adult humans around them.
The children in Children of the Damned are the victims of their governments' attacks, not the aggressors themselves.
In the Cold War 1950s of the Village of the Damned, authorities in Great Britain (the freedom-loving West) at first only want to study the children, but they receive word that east of the Iron Curtain Communist leaders with no regard for human life have tried to massacre "their children" when they couldn't be controlled.
These can't be our children
By 1964, the Children of the Damned have seen the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the start of the Vietnam War. The Cold War is no longer a struggle between good and evil, it's a feud between two greedy superpowers. Eventually the generals of both East and West try to murder their own children rather than let their superhuman mental powers fall into enemy hands. The children have other ideas, and the sequel makes it clear they are only protecting themselves. Every time the children strike out, the authorities have tried to harm them first.
One theme of Children of the Damned is that mothers are bad. There's really only one good mother in the movie, and he's a man, the psychologist played by Ian Hendry.
Two scientists worried about the children
This psychologist lives with his male geneticist friend, who doesn't have the same emotional attachment to the Children that his roommate does.
In one scene in Children of the Damned the two scientists come out of separate bedrooms at night, but they're not fooling anyone. The geneticist walks around their flat carrying a frying pan, trying to strike a balance between Basil Rathbone and Oscar Wilde. (This may be the Swinging Sixties, but some things can still only be said in code.)
The geneticist agrees with the military—destroy the children as a threat to humanity's domination of the planet. ("It's the law of nature—ask any ape.")
It's the law of nature
Both movies end the same way, with the children being destroyed by the adults, though in the later film the children freely accept their fate, perishing together, which makes them triumph in a way.
They know they won't be the last.
They scientists only think they've won
Meanwhile, any adults who came out of theaters showing Children of the Damned on a double bill with The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb in 1964 saw their real children dressing, talking, and acting strangely, as if they were being controlled by an alien force.
These Children of the Damned weren't about to give up their newly evolved consciousness so easily.