Movie Review: VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

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VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED is a 1995 remake of the 1960 sci-fi horror classic. This updated version was directed by John Carpenter and stars Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Thomas Dekker, Cody Dorkin, Lindsey Haun, Peter Jason, Karen Kahn, Meredith Salenger, Danielle Wiener-Keaton, Michael Paré and Mark Hamill.

The movie takes place in the quiet coastal town of Midwich. What happens is, a dark cloud ends up passing over the small village and it immediately knocks everyone out cold. When they all awaken, it’s like nothing ever happened, well except for the fact that ten of the women have been mysteriously impregnated and this is also where the government enters the picture. Uh oh! The movie follows Dr. Alan Chaffee (Christopher Reeve) and government scientist Dr. Susan Verner (Kirstie Alley) who end up joining forces when the women simultaneously give birth. All but one of the babies survive and they weirdly have some serious growth spurts along with superior intelligence. They all look alike (like the Buster Brown shoes kid) and act super strange! The parents and the rest of the locals realize that something is horribly wrong with these children.

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As the movie slowly plays out, some of the locals mysteriously die horrible deaths and it’s all courtesy of the creepy kids. Every cult-like group has to have a leader and these kids are no exception because they’re led by the sinister Mara (Lindsey Haun) who is also the “daughter” of Dr. Chaffee. The good doctor ends up joining forces with Jill McGowan (Linda Kozlowski) who happens to be the “mother” of David (Thomas Dekker), one of the children who shows some signs that he’s slightly different from the rest. David has some compassion for people and the rest of the children don’t. Ultimately, Dr. Chaffee and Jill come up with a plan to try and stop this “youth gone wild” alien hybrid movement in an explosive finale.

Even though this is one of Carpenter’s more mediocre efforts, there’s still so much to like about the movie. The creepy kids in this movie are just that, they’re down right super creepy! To top that off there’s also the amazing cast and many of them are some of my favorite actors and they all give some great performances. Christopher Reeve shares the lead time with Kirstie Alley whose character did way too much chain smoking here. Yikes! The cast of kids were all fantastic too and they seriously pulled it off.  John Carpenter captures these looks from the children that give the movie this eerie vibe. There’s also Mark Hamill who isn’t given much screen time here but what time he is given, he packs a punch – or in this case a shotgun blast. There are some special effects used with the standout being the glowing eyes for the children. When they use their powers, their eyes all change colors. There’s also some explosive stunts and practical effects and all of it looked great.

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The packaging comes with a slipcover. The front features the all-new artwork by Nathan Thomas Milliner who has cranked out numerous covers for Scream Factory over the years. The reverse sleeve features the original artwork and movie credits. The Blu-ray disc also features some of the original artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. The movie is now over twenty years old and it looks and sounds like a brand new release.

Bottom line is, I had an absolute blast revisiting Children of the Damned and it had been such a long time since I had watched it. This is a movie that I remember going to see at the theater and even owning the V/H/S afterwards and now Scream Factory has given it their midas touch that they do so well. Nobody does it like the mighty Scream Factory and that’s what makes this release so cool. They have taken one of Carpenter’s more mediocre movies and they’re re-releasing it in this high-def upgrade along with a buffet of wonderful extras and when you add all of this together, you get a really nice release. A lot of people don’t like remakes and John Carpenter has given us numerous remakes that have all ended up being enjoyable watches and some of them have ended up being classics in their own rights. Even though Children of the Damned isn’t really considered a classic, it’s a still a fun watch and deserves a nice release like this. This Collector’s Edition Blu-ray arrives on April 12th and is definitely worth checking out.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 99 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: Good Stuff! This Collector’s Edition Blu-ray is one of those “kitchen sink” releases because it is loaded with some wonderful extras and half of them are new. There’s all-new interviews with some of the cast and crew, several new featurettes as well as vintage imports from previous releases. All in all, this is a job well done assembling these special features for this release.

  • NEW It Takes A Village: The Making Of Village Of The Damned Featuring Interviews With Director John Carpenter, Producer Sandy King, Actors Michael Paré, Peter Jason, Karen Kahn, Meredith Salenger, Thomas Dekker, Cody Dorkin, Lindsey Haun, Danielle Wiener-Keaton And Make-up Effects Artist Greg Nicotero. (49:17)
  • NEW Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – Revisiting The Locations Of The Film (20:58)
  • NEW The Go To Guy: Peter Jason On John Carpenter (45:13)
  • Vintage Interviews Featuring John Carpenter, Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Mark Hamill and Wolf Rilla (Director Of The Original VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED) and Vintage Behind-The-Scenes Footage (24:40)
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:59)
  • Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery (02:05)

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