Thursday, September 9, 2010

Contamination (1980)

One of the first meetings with eurocult I had was with Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination. It was the old Swedish rental-version from Walthers Video. The cover had a big, slimy “egg” on the front. On another tape the gory trailer showed me the goodies that was cut from the feature itself. And since then I’ve been in love.

Now, the story is simple and I guess most of you have seen this classic. But egg-liked cocoons is found in the New York harbor. If a human (or animal) gets slime from the eggs on them, they explode in gory spectacular slow-motion action! The cold and professional Colonel Stella Holmes (Louise Marleau) takes the help from drunk ex-astronaut Commander Ian Hubbard (Ian McCulloch, who acts like he’s in a british kitchen-drama) and the wacky womanizer New York cop Lieutenant Tony Aris (Marino Masé) and goes to South America where all the traces lead to UniverX, a coffee producer…

Contamination is a classic, without a doubt. It’s a bit cheesy, some bizarre choices of dialogue and a few bloopers here and there. BUT it was that infamous thing called atmosphere. I know people hate when you refer to the atmosphere because it’s kinda vague, but this movie has it. For me atmosphere is in the rythm of the editing (of course all details are important, but if you get the rythm right you can make a classic out of a VHS-camera and three sleeping snails). If that flows, you have a movie that’s possible to watch.

Cozzi had Goblin doing the soundtrack, which is one fantastic score. Even the silly stuff is great. The cinematography is dark and the story has a nastiness that separates this sci-fi from other similar movies. Sure, it drags a bit towards the middle when our heroes mostly drink whisky and relaxes in the little South American town, but it belongs in the movie like rubbermonsters in a Kaiju.

Talking about rubbermonsters, the infamous cyclops is one of my favorite aliens/monsters ever. It sits there, staring. Controlling a few weak minds, making people repaing the walls with their intestines, just having a blast! If you know about the problem making that creature work, it’s still surprising to see how well it works. I guess what we have here is the magic of editing and lightning. The gore is wonderful too, but quite cheesy. Lots of (almost fluorescent red) blood and bodyparts, all in ultra slow-motion, filmed with an almost voyueristic camera. It’s cheep, but very effective.

First made as a rip-off on Alien, but Cozzi wanted to make classic British sci-fi and the producer wanted something more like James Bond. It has parts of everything, and the result might be a bit cheesy at times, but still quite unique and very, very entertaining. One of my absolute favorite sci-fi’s ever.


CiNEZiLLA said...

I love Contamination too.

I still have my big ass Australian release with a signed Cozzi cover on the shelf next to my mac.

It's a great movie, and I love Gisela Hahn in it. I obviously make sure to tell the kids each time she pops up as the schoolmistress in the Emil movies that she was in an Italian monster movie too. :)

xanthor fek said...

A great cheezy sci-fi film.

Jack J said...

I have the Danish VHS from Walthers Video which is retitled "Dødssmitten fra Mars" (The killer virus from Mars) and on the cover viewers are warned especially about the beginning and end scenes. Haha.

Anonymous said...

Great Eurocult sleaze. And i agree on atmosphere. It´s probably the most important thing to me when i choose my favouritemovies.