Monday, November 23, 2009


First off, I've got to give respect to Mr. Seth J.G. Goodkind, creator of the awesome blogs Progression Toward Something of Questionable Significance and Lost Video Archive, for hipping me to the existence of 1981's Contamination aka Alien Contamination in the first place. Seth is a guru of all things low-budget, gory, and ass-kicking in 1980's VHS lore, and his contributions to the field of Obscure Gorror Blogematography cannot be overestimated. Thanks for the heads-up on this wonderful film, Bro, and thanks for doing such a great job documenting all those other forgotten gems from our videotaped past.

That being said, let's watch the trailer:

Contamination was the brainchild of Mr. Luigi Cozzi (right), who I like to think of as the Godfather of the Italian Knockbuster. You see, Cozzi was also the director of the supremely amazing Starcrash, which was basically his 1978 attempt to piggyback on the success of Star Wars a year earlier. But in creating Starcrash, Cozzi actually surpassed the film he was ripping off in greatness, setting a precedent for all terrible/brilliant Knockbusters to follow.
Contamination was his next attempt at riding the coattails of a popular film to success, and this time his target was Alien.

While Contamination's plot bears little resemblance to that of Alien, there are several details which provide a direct link. Luigi didn't have the budget to set his film in space or the ambition to set it in the future (well, technically I guess it's set in the "near" future), but the homage becomes obvious rather quickly. The story in Cozzi's film is centered around a bunch of eggs from space, which end up in a warehouse in NYC and begin multiplying. These eggs (which are near doppelgangers to the "alien eggs" from Alien) tend to explode from time to time, which is unfortunate, because they are filled with alien acid-blood (Alien), and when you get splashed by said blood it makes your stomach explode (Alien). And let us not forget the "Cyclops Alien" which makes its only appearance at the end of the film, a creature that seems suspiciously analogous to the "Mother Alien" (Alien).

All of which really brings us to the crux of this wonderful film. Despite some truly fascinating dubbed dialogue written by an obvious non-English speaker, Contamination can be kind of a snoozer. It crawls along at times, mired down by some sort of conspiracy plot involving a coffee company and a trip to Mars, but the seemingly random shots of exploding bodies, interspersed tastefully throughout the duration of the film, make it all worthwhile.
Seriously, the gore in Contamination is some of the most over-the-top stuff you'll ever see, and the sight of a guy in a low-budget, early 80's HazMat suit clutching his guts as they explode into a fountain of orange-ish (?) blood and meat clippings is pure cinematic wizardry. Forget the plot. Forget the cinematography. Just suspend your boredom/disbelief and revel in the glory of a whole SHITLOAD of splattering organs and rupturing viscera, delivered via screaming actors in white suits and gas masks.

"Pure gut-busting horror!":

Aside from the exploding stomachs, Contamination has its share of charming side-dishes as well. Cozzi obviously spent about 80% of his budget on the creation of the "Cyclops Alien" and the film's 60-second "trip to Mars" (shown below), and I've got to admit that it was money well spent. The Mars sequence (the only clue that this movie is set in the future...?) has sort of a space-movie-circa-1961 feel to it, with a couple guys walking around in broad daylight in costumes that resemble cardboard and tinfoil. Their arrival at the alien "cave" is both a study in absurdity and high art. The scene in which the "Cyclops Alien" devours one of the main characters with one of its gargantuan appendages is a keeper, too. No homo here, but it's basically a huge, green, uncircumsized phallus chowing down on that poor guy. Yikes.

Oh, and did I mention the soundtrack?
Unsurprisingly, it's another winner from Claudio Simonetti and Goblin (credited as "THE GOBLIN" in the beginning of the film), and adds an ever-present, uniquely Italian funk vibe to background of the movie. Nothing wrong with that.
All in all, a tasty combination of gore, camp, awkwardness, and unintentional comedy make Contamination a must-see. It doesn't quite surpass its inspiration the way Starcrash did, but I challenge anyone out there to name a movie better than Alien.
That's what I thought.

Netflix Contamination/Alien Contamination here. Buy it here.


The Goodkind said...

Word. Glad ya liked it. Thanks for the props.

Anonymous said...

great soundtrack!

stargraves said...

2 words:

Egg. Noise.