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Sunday, 26 April 2015

OUT NOW ON UK BLU-RAY AND DVD: 'VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED' 1995

Beware the children of the VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED! Images: FABULOUS FILMS/UNIVERSAL.

The quiet and unassuming town of Midwich. Population 2,000. A place where everybody knows everybody, and life is good and prosperous. Good, that is, until 10am on the morning of their annual summer fare, as the inhabitants are suddenly knocked out for six hours by a mysterious and unknown power, of which a select group of women inexplicably find themselves pregnant and ultimately birthing a group of silver haired, intelligence and extra senses enhanced, super dangerous children who can kill just by looking at you, possessing a unique biological imperative to survive and prosper as the ultimate rulers of the Earth. By any means necessary...

Christopher Reeve's teaching skills soon become an annoyance to his "class"!

▶ John Carpenter's Village Of The Damned (Trailer - 1995) - YouTube

Now celebrating its Twentieth Anniversary, master of horror and fantasy John Carpenter's remake of the classic British sci-fi tale VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, sprung from the ideas-packed mind of acclaimed novelist John Wyndham, and also previously made as an eerie B/W movie of the Fifties that would make both a visually memorable impact on Carpenter's childhood and play a vital part in the formulation of his filmmaking career, is a tightly made and enjoyable transfer to modern leafy America. Main star Christopher Reeve, in his sadly last performance before his all-too-tragic horse riding accident, shows quiet character and ultimate courage as the town doctor trying to find a way to make the children discover their humanity, though soon realising that they are just too dangerous and must be stopped at all costs before their powers can accelerate further. Co-star Kirstie Alley returns to some serious acting, after her comedic stint as goofy Rebecca in CHEERS, to play the cloak and dagger incident liaison scientist who has secret theories about the creation of the superchildren, whilst CROCODILE DUNDEE's sexy Linda Kozlowski plays the caring and conflicted single mother whose unique child she must win over from the collective brood he has become symbiotically linked with. Plus, of course, there's a fun, if all too brief appearance from STAR WARS veteran Mark Hamill, shedding his heroic Luke Skywalker image to play an emotionally unsettled priest who realises all too well, and quicker than most in Midwich, the dangers which they all face, planning to take his own individual action- even if means going against his principles as a man of the cloth. "The Children", with their eerie visual appearance and memorable ILM optically enhanced eyes, led by Lindsay Haun and Thomas Dekker, are also very good and prove the film's ultimate standouts. After all this time, VILLAGE remains highly watchable and visualised with enthusiasm, yet it feels way too short at 94 minutes and could perhaps have done with more character development and atmosphere build-up in between its creepily calculated bouts of horror and physical injury perpetrated by those ruthlessly logical, dark-minded creatures who'd truly never make it to Sunday School!

Sensing the horror to come: Mark Hamill as Reverend George.

I've seen VILLAGE on HD TV before, but this UNIVERSAL/FABULOUS FILM's Blu-ray release showcases the best picture and sound quality yet, accompanied by a singular but enjoyable teaser trailer.

AFICIONADO RATING: It may not be up in the higher echelons of his previous iconic work with THE THING or BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, but VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED is a satisfying entry in the John Carpenter biography, presenting an overall story concept that continues to be worthy of examination and remaking. 7.5 out of 10.

Gte hold of VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED on Blu-ray here: John Carpenter's Village Of The Damned [Blu-ray]: Amazon.co.uk: Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Mark Hamill, John Carpenter: DVD & Blu-ray

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