Blu-Ray Review: Contamination

Published on October 6th, 2015 in: Blu-Ray, Current Faves, DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews, Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews, Science Fiction |

By Jeffery X Martin

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When I stated on Facebook that I was watching the 1980 Italian horror-fi movie, Contamination, I got heat from a couple of people.

“Why?”
“How come you’re watching that?”

And I thought, I’ve built a career out of watching horrible films and writing about them. There’s no reason why this should be a surprise.

Then it struck me: maybe there are people out there who don’t intentionally seek out and watch films they know aren’t great. Wow. That floors me. It leaves me wondering how to recommend Contamination, which is a gigantic piece of shit that I adored.

Somewhere south of the border, down Mexico way, a coffee plantation has been taken over by an egg-producing alien, which is able to control the minds of the workers. The eggs don’t even seem to have baby aliens in them. They make noise though, a higher pitched version of whale song. It’s egg song. I think that sound is like a timer, because when the egg song stops, the eggs explode, covering everything around them in caustic goo that causes people to explode. Three government agents are assigned to investigate the plantation and trouble from another world ensues.

The alien eggs, while having no discernible life forms inside, apparently are harboring traffic lights within their shaven testicle-like plucked chicken skin, because they turn yellow when they’re activated, and red just before they explode. What kind of alien lays these eggs? Are they from the planet of harsh object lessons? “You saw the red light, you didn’t stop. Now you’re going to explode. Sorry, them’s the rules.”

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Contamination is a mad pastiche of things, melding Alien with those old Juan Valdez coffee commercials, with a splash of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. thrown in for absolutely no good reason. That’s a good phrase to describe the action in this movie. Yeah, there are reasons for the action, but there are no good ones. We’re left with mind-controlling aliens, a woman who wears more makeup than Ornella Muti in Flash Gordon, and eggs filled with Your Head A-splode.

Goofy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

It is, however, so gross that it was classified as a Video Nasty, banned in the UK until years after its release. This gives Contamination historical significance at least. What it doesn’t have is a real reason to hate it.

Contamination is nothing more than an early 1980s Italian horror science fiction rip-off, just like movies that a lot of film nerds love. It’s got the same kind of heart as Rats: Nights of Terror or Starcrash. Heck, it’s got the same director as Starcrash, Luigi Cozzi. So why all the hate for poor little Contamination?

It’s a harmless piece of silliness. Even the gore can’t be taken seriously. There’s one wonderful shot where three guys in hazardous material suits blow up after getting coated with space jizz. If you look behind the men, you can see the shadows of the rubber tubing used to shoot blood into the prosthetics for the makeup effects. It’s inept and it is charming.

If you’re one of those people who insists that your movies always be good, have no visible mistakes, and a coherent screenplay, then by all means, stay far away from Contamination. It will make you frown and make huffy noises.

But if you’re down for a low-budget flick that does the best it can with what it has, check out Contamination. You can pick it up from Arrow Video. It’s not so bad it’s good. It’s good. It’s also bad.

Contamination was released by Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group on July 7. The Blu-ray includes a 2014 Q&A with director Luigi Cozzi and star Ian McCulloch; a documentary on the creation of the film by Cozzi, including behind the scenes footage; theatrical trailers; newly commissioned sleeve artwork from Gary Pullin; and a collector’s booklet with new writing on the film.

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