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INFAMOUS JOHN CARPENTER 'VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED' REMAKE

Front and back left Lindsay Haun with Jessye Quarry  YEAR: 1996
What happened to John Carpenter's filmmaking skills in the 1990's is a mystery. Even more mysterious is why it took four years after THEY LIVE to enter that decade, and then direct an unnecessary remake,  MEMOIRS OF THE INVISIBLE MAN, which is THE THING compared to what's possibly his worst film, also a remake, titled VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED — although it's still pretty fun to watch i.e. make fun of...

Starring a handful of actors and actresses who all starred in franchise films, there's main man Christopher Reeve in his last role before the tragic horse-jumping accident. But, alas, the four-time SUPERMAN is pretty wooden here as the politically-correct husband of one of several townswomen who — after the entire town of Midwich falls unconscious at the same time — wind up impregnated by what the characters later learn are alien children: Who are the best thing going, especially the leader played by an icy-cold  Lindsey Haun, with a penetrating expression of experience and cunning, and she's more worthy to fear than the one good kid (Thomas Dekker) is to sympathize with...

Jessye Quarry eyes the Village of the Damned
And it takes a VILLAGE to feature cult icon Mark Hamill of STAR WARS fame as a preacher who seems more possessed by bad acting than the children are by the unseen/whispering wraiths...

As for the once "Master of Horror" Carpenter — where there should be urgency there's malaise, and the 1990's computer effects, meant to enhance the children's powers, are so distracting you'd think there never was a JURASSIC PARK or TERMINATOR 2 to pave the way...

The most unintentional fun (resembling the kind of self-aware camp value this ultra-serious nosedive could have used more of) is how the kids march around the woodsy, seaside small-town like possessed ducklings. Carpenter tosses in a few humorous adult-reactions to these walking, stalking, talking encyclopedias. Meanwhile, his soundtrack has the usual ominous backbone but is constantly hindered  by an acoustic guitar that never quite finds its rhyme or reason.

Regular Movie Score: **1/2 Camp Value Score: ***1/2
On the plus side, there's the usual horror-genre body count (Carpenter regular George "Buck" Flower's boozing school janitor is a standout) and a few cheap-shock moments, seeming more intended to wake up the audience than providing suspense for the characters/cast within...

Rounded out by CROCODILE DUNDEE ingenue Linda Kozlowski married to EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS Michael Pare, and of course the stranger in town, Kirstie Alley (LOOK WHO'S TALKING), is a government agent keeping a secret from the wickedly inquisitive children. But it's her chemistry with Reeve, the town's good doctor/reluctant hero, that belongs in a better movie than this science-horror remake that Carpenter didn't have his heart in since his soul (i.e. style) is nowhere to be found.
Lindsey Haun in John Carpenter's Village of the Damned
 Mark Hamill in John Carpenter's Village of the Damned
John Carpenter phoned-in director's cameo in Village of the Damned
A short-lived Michael Pare in John Carpenter's Village of the Damned
George Buck Flower faces off the kids in John Carpenter's Village of the Damned
Lindsey Haun in John Carpenter's Village of the Damned
Bad 90's special effects in John Carpenter's Village of the Damned
Kirsty Alley in John Carpenter's Village of the Damned
Linda Kozlowski in John Carpenter's Village of the Damned
John Carpenter's Village of the Damned
The albino aliens barnstorm in VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED
Thomas Dekker cabooses in VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED
Thomas Dekker in VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED
Meredith Selenger in VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED
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