Village of the Damned (1995) (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: John Carpenter
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski
Rated: R/Region A/2:35/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Scream Factory
From the master of suspense, John Carpenter, comes a chilling new version of the sci-fi classic. Something is terribly wrong in the tiny village of Midwich. After an unseen force invades a quiet coastal town, ten women mysteriously find themselves pregnant. Local physician Dr. Alan Chaffee (Christopher Reeve) and government scientist Dr. Susan Verner (Kirstie Alley) join forces when the women simultaneously give birth… and the reign of supernatural terror begins. In what The New York Times calls “one scarifying trip,” the people of Midwich must try to find a way to stop the unstoppable in the Village of the Damned.
This was my first time seeing John Carpenter’s remake of the 1960 film, Villiage of the Damned. It is a movie that not many people seem to be fond of and even Carpenter himself wasn’t really all that into it while making it, but I couldn’t help but keep my eye’s glued to it while watching for one reason or another. For better or for worse. For starters, this is a very strange movie that isn’t just weird in plot and tone, but it also has a very strange cast. We got a line-up of Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Michael Pare, Mark Hamill, and Meredith Salenger all here and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that people, especially Hamill, feel really out of place. Things in the movie at times feel a bit off, but that can actually help add to the overall mood and atmosphere at times with the weirdness this movie gives off. If you’ve never seen the original and haven’t read too much about this one, you can find yourself taking note when everyone in a small town drops over knocked out a certain time one day, some with very violent results. Some time after, all the women are pregnant. The kids that come from this is what this movie is about and while the movie can’t avoid some of the cheese that mid-90’s horror movies tend to have, they are creepy and that helps a whole heck of a lot.
Another thing that helps is some effects we see from horror effects master, Greg Nicotero. While not by any means a blood bath, we do see some cool effects from the man and this movie would have been better if it did have a whole lot more of that sort of thing. The movie might not make a whole lot of sense and might even be guilty of having some poor performances in the actor side of things, but it is just soo odd that I couldn’t help but stay interested corny spots or not. This is a movie that might have just been a job to director John Carpenter, but it does manage to hold to some very mid-night movie levels of feeling and that almost makes up for anything the movie does do wrong. I really wish this movie came with a commentary, but that may be really all that is lacking from an otherwise packed special features side of things. The movie looks really good but has that same Universal horror movie from the 90’s look that I’ve seen other horror movie from this time have. Not a bad look at all. Just a distinct look in a lot of ways. If you don’t like this movie already, I’m not sure this release will change your mind on it, but you do get it looking the best it will look and with cool extras. A first-time viewer like myself might just find they like it more than they’d expect going into it.
– “It Takes A Village: The Making of Village of the Damned:” Featuring interviews with director John Carpenter, producer Sandy King, actors Michael Pare, Peter Jason, Karen Kahn, Meredith Salenger, Thomas Dekker, Cody Dorkin, Lindsey Haun, Danielle Wiener-Keaton, and make-up effects artist Greg Nicotero
– “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds:” Revisiting the locations of the film
– “The Go-to Guy:” Peter Jason on John Carpenter
– Vintage interviews featuring John Carpenter, Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Mark Hamill, and Wolf Rilla (director of the original “Village of the Damned”)
– Vintage behind-the-scenes footage
– Theatrical Trailer
– Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery
Quality of Transfer: 92%