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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Village of the Damned (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]


(John Carpenter, 1995)


German Blu-ray also available:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Universal

Video: Shout! Factory



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:38:00.541 

Disc Size: 49,494,477,341 bytes

Feature Size: 32,069,892,096 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: April 12th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4246 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4246 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1996 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1996 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none



• “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 (49:18)
Horror’s Hallowed Grounds:” Revisiting the locations of the film (20:58)
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 (1:59)
Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery





Description: This film is a remake of the classic 1960 science-fiction thriller, Village of the Damned, which was based on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. Veteran horror director John Carpenter is at the helm this time, with Christopher Reeve replacing George Sanders in the starring role. Aliens put the entire village of Midwich to sleep for 24 hours and impregnate many women. Reeve plays Alan Chaffee, the town doctor, whose wife Barbara (Karen Kahn) is one of the women carrying an alien baby. Visiting scientist Dr. Susan Verner (Kristie Alley) is monitoring the situation for the government. She supervises a mass birthing in a barn. The children turn out to be white-haired, glassy-eyed, and telepathic. Their plan is to use their supernatural powers to kill the villagers and help the aliens take over, and only Chaffee and Verner can stop them!



The Film:

John Carpenter's best horror film in a long while is one scarifying trip down memory lane. This is a knowing remake of the spooky 1960 English film featuring demonic platinum-blond children, and one of the things it knows is that a lot of us were scared stiff by the original during our formative years. Mr. Carpenter can laugh at that while also revising a potentially quaint story to suit different times. Chemical weapons, nuclear weapons and Lamaze classes set a new tone for this weird story of demon birth.

"Village of the Damned" has one of the eeriest opening sequences in horror history, and Mr. Carpenter stages it with relish. It's a peaceful morning in Midwich, the English village that has become a picturesque American town. (The story comes from "The Midwich Cuckoos," a book by John Wyndham.) Too peaceful. Folks are going sunnily about their business when suddenly, inexplicably, all activity comes to a stop. Everyone falls into a simultaneous trance. Even the cows are in a coma.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Based on the British 1960 chiller of the same name, this John Carpenter picture follows what happens when several women in a quaint northern town mysteriously and simultaneously become pregnant. Their offspring: eight white-haired geniuses with telepathic powers and a collective mean streak. Though the material needed to be better updated to justify a remake (as it stands, it looks like a cheesy episode of X-Files), Carpenter directs with his usual immense skill, and the campy selection of players--Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Mark Hamill--give surprisingly engaging performances.

Excerpt from FilmVault located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

John Carpenter's Village of the Damned comes to North America on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory. It generally looks quite good - a dual-layered transfer with a max'ed out bitrate. I observed some scenes in the beginning to look a shade thin and there may be some minor edge-enhancement at times. For the most part it looks impressive - kudos to Carpenter's infused eye-candy effects and the excellent art-direction.  Colors are authentic and there is plenty of depth exported in the 2.35:1 widescreen. Mostly, fans will be very pleased with the video presentation.













Minor Edge-enhancement ?












Audio :

Shout! Factory give the option of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 4246 kbps (24-bit) or a similar 2.0 channel lossless transfer. Effects carry some imposing weight and adroit separation in the surround track. It's extremely effective. John Carpenter, as he does here, scores many of his own films including They Live, Prince of Darkness, Big Trouble in Little China, Christine, Escape from New York, The Fog and others. It is also co-credited to Dave Davies who is the brother of Ray Davies, the lead singer and songwriter of the Kinks. It exports an idyllic feeling for the small town atmosphere and becomes intense and suspense as the plot evolves. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.


Extras :

For this "Collector's Edition" there are plenty of relevant extras; “It Takes A Village: The Making of Village of the Damned” is a 50-minute piece 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 and covers much of the production related details and it hold a lot of information. “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds” spends 21-minutes revisiting the locations of the film which seems well-researched but not too interesting. “The Go-to Guy” has versatile character actor Peter Jason - who has appeared in 12 Walter Hill films and 7 John Carpenter films  including In the Mouth of Madness, They Live, Prince of Darkness - discussing his relationship and admiration for John Carpenter. It runs 3/4 of an hour. There are 25-minutes worth of vintage interviews featuring Carpenter, Reeve, Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Mark Hamill, and Wolf Rilla (director of the original “Village of the Damned”) as well as some behind-the-scenes footage. Lastly, are a trailer and behind-the-scenes stills gallery.



Wolf Rilla's 1960 science-fiction, horror, film was iconic and a comparison is appropriate but probably unfair as it was a very tough task to live up to its originality - brilliantly transforming John Wyndham's novel. I certainly enjoyed and appreciated Carpenter's take but there is a feeling of redundancy with any remake. There is value to the film and those keen on the director, his storytelling ability and the genre-mix.  The Shout! Factory Blu-ray produces a 1080P video presentation that easily exceeds SD, a barn-burner audio track and a host of extras - worthy of its 'Collector's Edition' moniker. I would report that it is worth indulging keeping hopes for the original to reach this format sooner rather than later. 

Gary Tooze

April 1st, 2016

German Blu-ray also available:


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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