42nd Street Cinema

Contamination (1980)

I am in process of moving and rewriting certain posts from ye olde Bloody Italiana to here so...Boom! Luigi Cozzi's Alien rip-off Contamination.

This film contains elements of a few films, starting along the same line as Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters) with an 'abandoned' vessel speeding towards New York City. Also having a green egg with something inside it that causes organisms to explode from the inside out. Only it isn't quite abandoned it is carrying its cargo...and the dead crew. The cargo is the main plot device for the rest of the film. The cargo is boxes and boxes of Colombian coffee or what seems to be coffee. Upon further inspection it turns out that the boxes contain large green eggs. Which when touched explode, spewing their contents all over the unlucky person holding it, causing them to violently explode...from the inside out especially the chest area (another nod to Alien).

That said I can now get onto the cast.
This like many 80's Italian films features the great Ian McCulloch as a stubborn Commander Ian Hubbard who with Hamilton (Siegfried Rauch) went on a trip to Mars. They come across a cave where Hamilton 'changed' and Hubbard suffers from acute memory loss of the whole experience, but manages to remember more as the plot continues.

The vessel is brought ashore and investigated by the local authorities. What they find first are the dead crew. As they continue to explore they go down into the 'belly' of the ship finding the boxes of coffee containing the eggs. One of the boxes has fallen and an egg has rolled under one of the hot pipes. It begins to glow and make a odd (vocal?) sound (which you will hear very often). As one of the inspectors picks the egg up in very slow motion it bursts, spreading the contagion all over him and another 2 officers. From which they all explode violently in slow motion. This way we get to see all the chunks blow out of the chest cavity. Lovely. Only one officer survives the mess. He is Lieutenant Tony Aris (Marino Masé) who alerts the Government of the disaster in hope to prevent an outbreak. We are then introduced to a foxy Colonel Stella Holmes (Louise Marleau) who has Tony quarantined much to his dislike. We are then shown how the 'green gunk' from one of the eggs has an effect on a lab-rat. As the little rat is injected with the substance, it runs around the container and then explodes. The latter is a more comical than shocking result.

This leads Colonel Holmes on a search for the couch potato Hubbard. At first Hubbard is reluctant to participate in the investigation. But after conversation he joins them on their travel to Columbia. There they find the coffee refinery run by a seemingly insane Hamilton & his wife. We get treated to some flash back sequences on Mars which inside the cave lay thousands of green eggs (which actually look like peas). In the hotel someone sneaks into Stella's room while she is showering and places an egg in there. Fortunately for her Hubbard breaks the door down and rescues this damsel in distress. Hubbard then takes a small plane over the plantation to see what he can see but crashes the plane. As he is trying to find his way back through the all the plants he finds scattered eggs and people in white suits 'picking them' as if they are simply ripe fruit. He knocks out one of the workers and gets a suit, this is where he becomes the next James Bond. When he returns he finds that Sella and Tony have been kidnapped by Hamilton. They go down into the 'basement' of the complex. Here we find the true horror. In a large open space under the building hides the...wait for it...Cyclops Alien. Yes an alien with one large glowing eye. Turns out that while on the planet Mars Hamilton decided to take a 'seed' back to earth and in theory bring the alien back with him. The special effects on the alien are superb rivaling the effects of Alien.
--Spoiler ALERT--
Unfortunately Tony is fed to the alien and is chomped down on and then sucked into the alien by a tube...makes sense.
The same fate seems destined for Stella luckily for her Hubbard arrives to save the day holding Hamilton's wife hostage. As Hamilton is now under full control by the alien he shoots his wife as Hubbard has her as a human shield. He then pushes Stella aside and proceeds to kick the gun from Hamilton's hand. After a small game of fisticuffs with Hamilton he knocks him out. He then grabs Stella who has now become hypnotised by the eye of the cyclops. Hubbard shoots the alien right in the eye, causing it to die and make noises like someone passing wind. A weary Hamilton pops out pointing a six shooter right at the pair of escapees. As the alien dies and having a 'connection' with it. He also begins to die. It all comes to an end with a bang. Leaving the military to come in and clean the place up. Que the ending dialogue with explanation. We then cut straight to a New York City street as the camera pans across some bin bags we see an egg, as the camera closes in on it. It explodes!

This features a funky score by legendary band Goblin. On the whole this is a very good flick with some chunky gore and some great locations. I also found it strange seeing the Twin Towers in the New York skyline.I recommend this to any gorehound or sci fi geek. Lovers of Italian cinema will also get a kick out of this. So if you haven't seen it. I suggest you do!

DVD: Blue Underground
Running Time: 95 mins
Extras: Alien Arrives on Earth: Interview with Co-Writer/Director Luigi Cozzi, Luigi Cozzi on the Creation of Contamination: Behind the Scenes Documentary, Theatrical Trailer, Poster & Stills Gallery and Graphic Novel (DVD-ROM) Stills Gallery and Graphic Novel (DVD-ROM)


Franco Macabro said...

Thanks for the review and the suggestion, Im a fan of Italian cinema, specially their b-movies. They are always good for a laugh. This one passed me by, probably cause its by a lesser known director (to me anyways).

Sounds like Ill be watchng this one soon,thanks!

Alex B. said...

Great score,
great monster.
My favourite Cozzi

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