Thursday, July 02, 2015

Review: Contamination (1980)

Contamination is well known as a 'rip off' of the film Alien, whereas in fact, the two films actually have very little to do with each other. Even the director admits that he was 'inspired' by the Ridley Scott film ... but it's hard to see where that inspiration touched on Contamination. The alien-flick Inseminoid is far more of a pastiche on Alien.

Contamination starts with a ship arriving in New York, but the crew are all dead, torn apart by something. Then a cargo of strange egg-like objects are found, and one of them, being heated by some pipes, explodes, spreading an acid-like substance all over those investigating the ship, and they promptly explode from within.  Quite why all this happens is glossed over - the eggs are not eggs as they don't contain any life form, instead harbouring some sort of alien fungus/infection which makes people explode.

Cue Ian McCulloch as a drink-soaked ex-astronaut Hubbard who apparently encountered similar eggs on a trip to Mars ... they track the ship back to South America, where McCulloch, and a scientist lady, Stella Holmes (Louise Marleau) head to try and find the source. They find a plantation full of eggs, and a warehouse full of them too. Holmes is nearly killed when an egg is placed in her bathroom and the door locked (who has a lock on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom door? And she does everything but maybe cover the egg up to stop it exploding all over her).

In the end, an alien creature is located which is the source of the eggs, but it sits there in all its rubbery goodness and does very little, mesmerising others to come to it so it can eat them. It is set on fire and the world is saved.

Unfortunately it's never clear just what threat the eggs pose, or why they are being sent all over the world. They don't hatch alien monsters, just explode, making those humans who are in the way explode as well. All seems a little pointless.

As always with these Italian films, the dubbing is poor to unbelievable, and the acting (aside from McCulloch who is rather good) is pretty sub-par as well. I love Marina Mase as a NY Cop boogieing with dancing natives when they arrive in South America.

Fans of this particular Italian genre of rip-off films will love this, and there are a host of great extras to enjoy as well. Interviews with the director Luigo Cozzi, with Maurizio Guarini from Goblin (who provide a fairly poor soundtrack to the film) and features on this particular area of 'Mockbuster' Italian film.

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Feature Commentary by filmmaker, Fangoria editor and Contamination super-fan Chris Alexander
  • Luigi Cozzi on the Creation of Contamination – an archive documentary hosted by the director and including behind-the-scenes footage
  • 2014 Q&A with Cozzi and star Ian McCulloch
  • Sound of the Cyclops: Goblin’s Maurizio Guarini on the music of Contamination – the Goblin keyboardist discusses Contamination’s dark, progressive rock score and a lifetime of making music for Italian terror
  • Imitation Is The Sincerest Form of Flattery – A critical analysis of the Italian “Mockbusters” trend of filmmaking which sought to capitalize on the success of Hollywood blockbusters
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris Alexander, illustrated with original archive stills and posters