Village of the Damned appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Much of the movie looked good, but some avoidable flaws cropped up along the way.
Actually, only one notable issue marred Village edge haloes. These never seemed major but they appeared through much of the movie and created distractions, largely because they affected definition. While a lot of the film appeared concise, the haloes rendered wider shots a little on the soft side.
Otherwise, the image worked pretty well. I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and print flaws were absent. Colors took on a homey, rural feel, with a somewhat sepia take on things. This left the palette as low-key but satisfying, with warm, rustic hues on display.
Blacks were acceptably rich, and shadows showed fairly good delineation; some low-light shots seemed a bit dense, but they were still fine. Though much of the presentation satisfied, the edge haloes and the resultant softness left this as a “B-“.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it has endured the last 21 years nicely. The soundscape proved to be fairly active and involving. The front channels demonstrated the best movement/integration, but the surrounds got a lot of work as well. Though the track lacked convincing split-speaker usage in the rear, those channels nonetheless brought a nice sense of place, and they bolstered the music as well.
The quality of the track seemed fine. Speech occasionally became a bit edgy, but the lines were always intelligible and usually appeared reasonably natural. Music was peppy and bold, while effects came across as clear and distinctive. I felt we got a solid “B” soundtrack that leaned toward “B+” territory at times.
As we shift to extras, we open with a documentary called It Takes a Village. In this 49-minute, 17-second piece, we hear from director John Carpenter, producer Sandy King, special makeup effects creator Greg Nicotero, and actors Thomas Dekker, Lindsey Haun, Cody Dorkin, Danielle Keaton, Meredith Salenger, Karen Kahn, Peter Jason, and Michael Pare.
We hear about the project’s path to the screen and how Carpenter came on board, story/character areas and updates to the original, cast and performances, locations, various effects, editing and the film’s release. Largely anecdotal in nature, “Takes” offers a bunch of good tales, especially from the former child actors. This isn’t the most thorough examination of the production, but it comes with a lot of interesting elements.
Part of an ongoing series, Horror’s Hallowed Ground runs 20 minutes, 58 seconds and features host Sean Clark. He takes us on a tour to see how various Village locations look today; local/actor Skip Richardson assists. I like the “Hallowed Ground” clops and this one adds more good views.
With The Go To Guy, we find an interview with actor Peter Jason. He chats for 45 minutes, 13 seconds about aspects of his career, with an emphasis on the time he spent on Carpenter’s movies. Naturally garrulous, Jason gives us 45 minutes of excellent anecdotes and memories. He makes this a delightful chat.
A collection of Vintage Interviews and Behind the Scenes ensue. This compilation lasts 24 minutes, 40 seconds and features Carpenter, 1960 director Wolf Rilla, and actors Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, and Mark Hamill. The interviews tend to be superficial and promotional in nature, but the behind the scenes footage offers interesting material.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a gallery. It shows 22 frames that mix shots from the set and publicity materials. It brings us a decent little collection.
Though far from John Carpenter’s worst film, Village of the Damned doesn’t fare especially well. I think the movie comes with potential, but as told here, the result seems flat and bland. The Blu-ray offers mostly positive picture and audio as well as an informative set of supplements. Village turns into a lackluster effort.