As much as I love this movie, I had basically written off buying this disc based on the variety of (conflicting) complaints in other reviews here about the quality of the transfer (i.e., the print is pan-and-scan, picture looks 'squeezed,' color is faded, not up to the usual Midnite Movies standards, yada, yada, yada). My own skepticism and a quick look at IMDb convinced me to purchase the disc and evaluate it myself. I have to say I think this is a case of Amazon reviewers [commenting] about mostly imaginary problems. First of all, according to IMDb (and fairly obviously from the framing of the opening credits and the movie in general) Village of the Giants was shot on 35mm, at approximately 1.33:1, NOT in widescreen format. Cropped fake-widescreen prints may have been shown in theatres, but I see nothing to indicate that this movie was ever actually true widescreen. Second, my disc showed no evidence of any 'squeezing' effect (maybe that was a defective copy). Third, while the color is certainly not up to Herbert and Natalie Kalmus standards, it is certainly not faded much, if at all; it's just poorly balanced, and probably looks as good as it ever did. The reds, blues, greens, are all richly saturated in the expected places. The fleshtones are unspectacular but that's just sixties-era cheap color film stock, folks, it's never gonna look like Gone with the Wind. (The credits don't identify the lab but it's probably Eastman, Pathe, or DeLuxe, most certainly not Technicolor.) All in all, the print looks very good to excellent in my book: the overall brightness, contrast, and detail are just fine. True, it's not as stunning as some others in the Midnite Movies series, but very respectable; acceptably sharp and sure to make any VHS copy look inferior. Physical damage is limited to some occasional very light speckling. At the bargain price it's definitely worth grabbing for fans, even with no extras besides the French and Spanish subtitles.
As far as the movie itself, Village of the Giants is perhaps the apotheosis of Bert I. Gordon's career, his Ivan the Terrible Part II as it were: a brilliant/warped synthesis of his early giant-mutant teenflicks (Amazing Colossal Man, The Cyclops) and smarmy mid-period adult-oriented fare (Tormented, Picture Mommy Dead). Mainstream moviegoers will probably find Village of the Giants unbearable torture; masochistic fans of nails-on-a-blackboard style camp will be in bad movie heaven. Start with that quintessential cheese-lover's cast: Tommy Kirk (The Monkey's Uncle, Pajama Party, Mars Needs Women, Blood of Ghastly Horror), Beau Bridges (no doubt still trying to live this movie down), Johnny Crawford (Mickey Mouse Club, The Rifleman), Oscar-winning director (!) Ron Howard (Andy Griffith, Door-to-Door Maniac), third-string starlets Tisha Sterling, Joy Harmon, and Charla Doherty (Days of Our Lives, In the Year 2889), Tim Rooney (Mickey's son, of course) , choreographer Toni Basil (New Wave one-hit wonder a decade later with "[Hey] Mickey"), Rance Howard (Ron and Clint's dad), and Joseph Turkel (cult icon who's played numerous rough characters, often coincidentally named Joe Turkel, in everything from The Human Jungle to Paths of Glory, The Devil's 8, and The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, etc.). Whew! Plus you get nearly-complete excellent non-hit musical numbers by Freddy Cannon (Little Bitty Corrine) and the Beau Brummels (When It Comes to Your Love; Woman) that are almost worth the price of the disc by themselves. (The Brummels perform accompanied by caged, befringed go-go dancers.) Drippy teen dream Mike Clifford also croons one instantly-forgettable ballad.
The story of grown-huge teens menacing the whitebread populace of a small town, ostensibly based on, of all things, H. G. Wells' Food of the Gods (a source Gordon would desecrate again in the 1970s) is basically just an excuse for Bert and Flora's usual wildly variable special effects (this time with a healthy assist from process photography legend Farciot Edouart), and lots of gratuitous exploitation of jiggling breasts and cleavage as the fast-growing teens come ripping out of their normal-sized clothes. Try and decide which looks worse: Beau Bridges in a toga or the laughably pathetic giant-size props of his skinny, hairy legs. Also check out the way Gordon has the giants walk in 'slow motion,' exaggeratedly swinging their arms, so we can see how 'big' they are. The dialogue, performances, and production values are uniformly cringe-inducing, and the scenes of the teen giants gyrating in slo-mo to Jack Nitzsche's terrific snaky, pulsating theme music inspire a unique combination of genuine awe and mortal embarrassment. Perhaps the most inappropriately titillating movie ever pitched to the kiddie matinee crowd (right up there with The Brain that Wouldn't Die), and an amazing, excruciating 1960s camp relic.