Parasite (1982)
By: Julian on November 24, 2010  | 
DVD
Big Sky Video | All Regions, NTSC | 2.00:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 84 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Charles Band
Starring: Robert Glaudini, Demi Moore, Cherie Currie, Cheryl Smith, Vivian Blake
Screenplay: Alan J Adler, Michael Shoob, Frank Levering
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
I'm not averse to a good 'body horror' flick. The term, often used to describe many of David Cronenberg's films, is defined by the Collins English Dictionary (yes, it appears there – at least, the online incarnation) as "a horror film genre in which the main feature is the graphically depicted destruction or degeneration of a human body or bodies". When done well, it plays on our basest fears and, amongst the squelching and grue, this subgenre is utterly terrifying.

Parasite is a body horror movie that is decidedly un-terrifying. But that isn't fatal to a cheap, tacky exploitation movie like this one: what is fatal is an inability to entertain. And, lo and behold, Parasite doesn't even manage to do that. Prolific producer Charles Band's third feature is utterly ridiculous, and not in the endearing way many movies of Parasite's ilk are 'utterly ridiculous'; the ineptitude on display here actually made me a little bit angry. The movie is unfathomably hopeless on almost every single level: admittedly, there are some amusing effects, albeit of phenomenally poor quality, and there is a certain car-accident quality to the proceedings: I couldn't tear myself away, despite the fact that this is, by any objective standard of measurement, a woeful film.

The plot is the first thing to go, and I'll do my best to decipher it (if you've seen the film, I suspect you would sympathise with my attempts to provide something cogent). The film is set in a post-apocalyptic future after the world has been ravaged by nuclear war. What's left of society is largely comprised of looting and pillaging gangs, crazed Mad Max types that scourge any remaining pockets of society. Our protagonist, Dr Paul Dean (Robert Glaudini), is charged by the governing polity, the 'Merchants', to develop a pair of worm-like things for population control. One of the parasites lives in Dean and the other has escaped from the lab in which Dean is forced to work. Fleeing from the Merchants, Dean races against time to find the escaped parasite before it feeds, grows and multiplies, all the while trying to control the one that has infected him.

Aside from launching Demi Moore's career (I'm not sure how, but after watching Ghost on TV the other night, maybe this movie deserves to lose a point because of that), Parasite's claim to fame is its 3D theatrical release, and the cover slick proclaims that Parasite is "The First Futuristic Monster Movie in 3-D". There are a few scenes here in which the 3D could have been quite effective; most of them have something to do with leaping parasites, but there is also a nice pipe impaling effect lifted from Tourist Trap, which Band produced two years earlier. The effects – some chestburstings and some headburstings – are, in spite of their lacklustre technical quality, kind of cool. It's unsurprising that this is the most competent element of Parasite: the mighty Stan Winston was on board for effects work.

But none of that, including Parasite's "car-accident appeal", distracts from the fact that the film is so poor on every front – including its ability to generally entertain. The latter hallmark is often the saving grace for Z-grade eighties genre pics, but I got nothing out of this. I wasn't expecting Alien, but a film that had a little bit more than negligible substance and as much style as bell-bottoms would've been nice.
Video
Awful. I'm not sure how this compares to the R1 Anchor Bay disc (although I suspect this release is a port), but the 16:9 enhanced transfer is of VHS quality.
Audio
Two English audio tracks, in Dolby 5.1 and 2.0. The audio is acceptable.
Extra Features
A theatrical trailer, but Big Sky Video may be forgiven given because the trailer is the only included feature on international discs.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
This will surely have appeal for those who have fond memories of parasites jumping out at you from the silver screen, but thirty years on and on the TV, it doesn't translate quite so well. In fact, it translates terribly. This is a charmless rip-off, almost totally devoid of merit. Explore the many better examples of the sub-genre out there.

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