Contamination (1980)
By: David Michael Brown on April 1, 2004  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
All Regions, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DTS 6.1, English 2.0, English Mono. Blue Underground (USA). 95 minutes
The Movie
Director:Luigi Cozzi
Starring:Ian McCulloch, Louise Monroe, Martin Mase
Screenplay: Luigi Cozzi
Music: Goblin
Tagline: "You can feel them in your blood"
Country: Italy
AKA: Alien Contamination; Toxic Spawn; Contamination - Alien arriva sulla terra
A deserted ship floats into New York harbour, the crew has vanished and there is a foul stench in the air. As the ship is brought into the dock a team of policemen arrives to investigate. They discover a gruesome cargo; the crew have all died in mysterious circumstances. It is as though they have erupted from within in a spray of guts and offal. As they search further into the bowels of the vessel they discover a sinister collection of green eggs. One has fallen near a heating duct and has grown into a pulsating pod. As the police pick it up, it explodes in a torrent of puss that causes the detectives chest to explode in a slew of gore. What are these strange eggs? Where do they come from? Who is shipping them disguised as coffee from Columbia? It's up to Lt. Tony Aris, Dr Stella Holmes and a former Astronaut Ian Hubbard to discover the evil truth about a trip to Mars and the Cyclops monster.

Cozzi's homage to Alien took everything the producers thought we loved about Ridley Scott's classic and doubled it. Therefore numerous throbbing Alien eggs and splattery chest bursting scenes are the name of the game. The money men also wanted a James Bond style narrative; hence the daring do's of the Columbian scenes as our sleuths hunt down their extraterrestrial enemy. The director wanted to take the script closer to his previous film Starcrash, he had also wanted to reuse his star Caroline Monroe but the powers that be dictated that gore was to be the star.

Ian McCulloch will be familiar to many as the star of Lucio Fulci's Zombie Flesheaters and Dr. Butcher M.D. His performance as space ace Hubbard is the stand out amongst the usual array of badly dubbed Italian faces, but all are secondary to the bloody effects, which is why it was briefly on the UK's infamous video nasty list.

Great fun, the film moves at cracking rate, there's never a dull moment as the film careers towards its next gruesome special effect. Gore Galore and aliens, what more could you ask for in a piece of low budget Italian trash.
The film looks astonishing considering its low budget. The picture is sharp with excellent definition on the frequent close ups. The often gloomy scenes in the boats hull are clear and grain free.
Films like this shouldn't sound this amazing. The Goblin soundtrack is loud and clear, the surround is effectively used and it gives the film an aural style it probably doesn't deserve. It's great to see a company like Blue Underground pulling out the stops on a low budget gory thriller like Contamination.
Extra Features
Blue Underground has done the film proud. Things kick off with a new featurette Alien Arrives on Earth (The films original title), an interview with writer/ director Luigi Cozzi. This will be of particular interest to fans of Italian horror as it is shot in the museum basement of Profondo Rosso, the shop Cozzi runs with Dario Argento in Rome. This is followed by an excellent short documentary Luigi Cozzi on the Creation of Contamination, a 23 minute long behind the scenes look at the film shot in 1980. We also get the theatrical trailer, some nice conceptual artwork and an extensive poster and still gallery. Things are rounded of by a graphic novelisation of the film on DVD Rom.
The Verdict
A first class example of how a DVD should be put together. The print and sound are exemplary. The extras have been put together with care and an obvious love and knowledge of the film and the horror genre. Probably more care than a film like Contamination deserves but its great that a company like Blue Underground is looking out for the horror genre and for that they should be commended for a top job.
Movie Score
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