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Directed by Wolf Rilla
 

UK 1960

 

This moody little sci-fi classic has it all over the competition when it comes to possessed tykes with telekinetic powers. Midwich's mysteriously hatched brood bores into the subconscious both with their eyes and with their creepy Hitler Youth-like presence. Based on John Wyndham's 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos, and starring George Sanders as the most skeptical of the "miracle" parents, Village gets off to a rousing start when the isolated town of Midwich is cordoned off after some invisible knockout gas descends from above. A few weeks later, every female of childbearing age is pregnant. Much anger and consternation ensue, especially in those families for which the blessed event isn't a blessing.

Nine months later: a town full of blue-eyed, golden-haired cherubs with telekinetic and telepathic powers. The kids mature at an alarming rate and travel the streets in packs. Anyone who looks at them sideways meets with a violent accident. Barbara Shelley, Sanders's wife, is scolded by her child; a motorist who is deemed a threat winds up driving into a wall.

The film is especially refreshing in these days of computer- generated visual effects. Director Wolf Rilla, working from a script cowritten by Stirling Silliphant, generates unease the old-fashioned way: through clammy atmosphere and character development. The opening sequence, in which the military attempts to figure out the extent of the Midwich epidemic, is especially unsettling.

***

A fairly intriguing and atmospheric exercise in science fiction, made as a sequel to Village of the Damned (an adaptation of John Wyndham's novel The Midwich Cuckoos). About a race of superchildren who (in the eyes of the authorities, at any rate) threaten to take over the world, it has some good moments, though its surreal beginning promises a generation war of apocalyptic dimensions that is never delivered, and the film finally falls into some unconvincing liberal moralising (one of the persisting curses of SF in the cinema).

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

Posters

 

Television Premiere: December 7th, 1960 / January 29th, 1964

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Comparison

 Warner Home Video - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Warner Archive  - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:17:12 1:17:19.635
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.60 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,363,492,996 bytes

Feature: 23,965,839,360 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.39 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Village of the Damned

Bitrate: Children of the Damned

Bitrate: Village of the Damned Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English), DUB: Dolby Digital 1.0 (French)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1973 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1973 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2000 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2000 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratios: - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
Audio Commentaries:
 Village of the Damned commentary by Chronicles of Terror: Silent Screams Author Steve Haberman

 Children of the Damned commentary by Screenwriter John Briley

 Trailer (Village of the Damned - 2:01)

 Trailer (Children of the Damned - 2:21)

DVD Release Date: August 10th, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 10

Release Information:
Studio: Warner
Archive

 

1.78:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,363,492,996 bytes

Feature: 23,965,839,360 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.39 Mbps


Edition Details:

 Village of the Damned commentary by Chronicles of Terror: Silent Screams Author Steve Haberman

Trailer (2:01)
 

Standard Blu-ray case

Blu-ray Release Date: July 31st, 2018

Chapters: 16

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Warner Archive - Region FREE - Blu-ray August 18': Not much to say - the 1080P image is excellent - a notable bump over the 2004 DVD that now looks slightly out of ratio. It remains in, and around, the 1.78:1 framing. The contrast, richer black levels, crisper visuals and more information in the frame are all evident and the max'ed out bitrate looks so wonderful in-motion. In a word 'Wow'. I am extremely pleased.

Audio also advances going lossless (24-bit) in 2.0 channel mono DTS-HD Master supporting the score by Ron Goodwin (Hitchcock's Frenzy, The Day of the Triffids, Operation Crossbow) that has some improved depth augmenting suspense. It sounds flawless and Warner Archive's Region FREE Blu-ray disc offers optional English subtitles in a small-ish yellow font (see sample below).

The Village of the Damned commentary is by Chronicles of Terror: Silent Screams author Steve Haberman and is duplicated from the 14-year old DVD. Haberman's commentary is filled with interesting production details including expanding on some of the less-obvious plot points. Its an essential, repeated, addition. Beyond a trailer there is nothing more.

This is an iconic science-fiction work. These intelligent early 60's science-fiction efforts are very reminiscent of Hammer Studios work of the same era as well as other UK favorites like The Day of the Triffids, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, The Earth Dies Screaming, Fiend Without a Face, Night of the Big Heat, Island of Terror, and Quatermass and the Pit. Now that it's on Blu-ray we are only disappointed that, like the DVD, it wasn't packaged with the sequel - also in 1080P. This is a must-own - looking amazingly better than the SD. Don't hesitate.

***

Back in April of this year when I reviewed John Carpenter's Village of the Damned Blu-ray it reminded me of the 1960 classic and realized that I had on my shelf Warner's ''Horror Double Feature' DVD with both the original and sequel, 1964's Children of the Damned., that we had note reviewed it - and that both films had a commentary included!

Both films share one dual-layered DVD disc - progressively transferred in the bastardized 1.78:1 aspect ratio (in the credits Children of the Damned is in 1.66:1, although the trailer is 1.78:1.) Both are cited on IMDb as being 1.85:1. They look fabulous for SD - Village maybe a shade superior to Children with good contrast and occasional depth. There is no damage and the black and white presentations are consistent and pleasing. 

The lossy Dolby sound is decent and both have an optional audio commentary and trailer as supplements. The Village of the Damned commentary is by Chronicles of Terror: Silent Screams author Steve Haberman and Children of the Damned by screenwriter John Briley. The latter braches the oft-discussed portrayal of a homosexual relationship between scientists Tom Lewellin and David Neville (Ian Hendry and Alan Badel) and Haberman's commentary is likewise filled with interesting production details including expanding on some of the less-obvious plot points. Both add significant value to the package.

  - Gary Tooze

 



 

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Subtitle Sample - Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


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1) Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

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1) Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

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1) Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

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Box Covers

   

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Warner Archive  - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 




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