What The Hell Is Chris Watching Now? – Alien Contamination (1980)

contamination

Pop quiz: What do you get when you borrow from Lucio Fulci, Ridley Scott, and Cronenberg and use Columbian drug money to help finance it? That’s right, Fright Fans! You get this sci-fi horror production, Alien Contamination (aka Contamination).

Following his success of the 1978 “space opera”Starcrash, Luigi Cozzi wanted to stay in the realm of sci-fi for his next film. After seeing Ridley Scott’s legendary classic, Alien, Cozzi decided he wanted to make pretty much his own version but on a fraction of the budget. Keeping the eggs, the acid, and an alien creature, but keeping the setting to just Earth, Cozzi was underway. Shot in just 8 weeks with locations in Rome, New York City, Florida, and Columbia (we’ll get back to that one), Cozzi had his film.

Alien-Contamination-photo-1-400x225
“Da suits! Day do nothing!!!”

Now granted, also because of the budget, the big alien creature wasn’t stop motion and was animatronic instead, the creature wasn’t what Cozzi wanted. As the viewer, you only get to see random quick, poorly lit shots of the entire creature. But by that point you don’t really care.

contamination-pic-5

This is where the Cronenberg influence comes in. The acid from the eggs? Well, it’s actually spores released by the eggs when they are in a hot and moist environment. When the spores explode from the eggs, anyone that is splattered by the eggs also explodes!!! In a few of the shots, you get the impression that Cozzi spent a good chunk of the budget on the sternal and gut explosions that happen several times throughout the film. Some are slightly laughable but others are fairly impressive. The graphic nature and slow motion filming of the bodily explosions actually earned Alien Contamination a spot on the “Video Nasties” list for excessive blood and gore.

contamination2

Crap. I just realized I hadn’t even mentioned an important thing: the plot! A derelict cargo ship coming into the harbor in New York City doesn’t answer any hails. Upon searching the boat, the harbor patrol, a scientist, and a cop find a few dead bodies and a curious collection of pulsating eggs, that look like footballs made from alligator hide, in the boiler room by some steam pipes. Now remember what I said makes the eggs go boom? Yep. Welcome to the game, Victim #1!!!

Bring in more scientists and more government agencies, and we learn the eggs came from space (dun-dun-DAH!) when two astronauts (one played by Ian McCulloch of Zombi fame) returned to Earth. Someone has been hiding and producing more eggs on a Columbian coffee plantation for their own nefarious plots (or are they??) for world domination!

contamination3
Talk about “walking on eggshells”!

Okay. All the Columbian stuff? Yes, this film was partially financed with Columbian drug money. Hell, a couple of the gunmen that greet the cop and the scientist at the plantation probably weren’t even actors and provided their own guns! Cozzi did say that the drug smugglers where pleased when the film turned a profit on their investment, though.

In the end . . . oh yeah. The ending. This hits the Fulci influence home for me. With the derelict ship floating into the harbor and an ending shot showing NYC again and a potential threat within it, I thought I was watching Zombi again. Seriously, fright fans, this is not a great movie by any means, but it was fun to watch it for what it is. Watch it with friends, have a few laughs, and be surprised by the bodies going *BOOM*.

Trailer for “Contamination”

Episode 150 – A Piece of The (Castle) Rock

castle

We celebrate our 150th episode by doing a deep dive into the first half of the Hulu series CASTLE ROCK. So deep that the episode has an extra 40 minutes!

Warning: If you haven’t watched through Episode 5, you might want to wait to listen. This one is super spoilery and full of discuss and theories.

Episode 150 – A Piece of The (Castle) Rock

[Film Review] THE MEG

by Joe Meyers

THE MEG

Release Date: August 10, 2018 * Rated PG-13 * Run time: 1 hour 53 minutes

Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Screenplay by Dean Georgaris, Jon Hoeber, and Erich Hoeber
Based on the book, “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror”, by Steve Alten

Starring:
Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor
Bingbing Li as Suyin
Rainn Wilson as Morris
Cliff Curtis as Mac
Winston Chao as Zhang
Shuya Sophia Cai as Meiying
Ruby Rose as Jaxx
Page Kennedy as DJ
Robert Taylor as Heller
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as The Wall
Jessica McNamee as Lori
Masi Oka as Toshi

The Meg Pic 2

I could go into detail with a traditional film critique of THE MEG, but why? I’m sure there’s at least a dozen of posts out there with some variation of  the “Meg is Meh” hacky review shredding the films for its flaws. This won’t be one of those, I assure you. Instead I’ll simply ask some questions to start.

Did the trailer for THE MEG make you go “Hell yeah!!!” when you saw you were getting a Jason Statham verses Megalodon film? If so, go see the movie. Did the trailer make you think it looked stupid, and ridiculous, and you’ve got five other films currently in the cinema that’s on your watch list? Then, skip THE MEG and go see one of them instead. Do you fall anywhere in between those two examples? I’d advise you just wait for streaming, VOD, DVD, or Blu-ray.

For me, THE MEG was just as dumb, nonsensical, crazy, cheesy, and fun as I thought it would be…and I enjoyed it from start to finish. I do wish we would be able to see the original film they wanted to bring us, in all its bloody R rated glory. The cast did feel a bit wasted in what morphed into an action-horror-comedy, but as both director Jon Turteltaub and star Jason Statham have said in recent interviews “it is what it is.” I’m paraphrasing, of course.

At the end of the day this falls in line with ALLIGATOR, LAKE PLACID, DEEP BLUE SEA, and the like. Nobody will argue they’re near JAWS in quality. However, THE MEG will fit nicely into a human versus beast movie marathon alongside them all. So, whether you catch it (no pun intended, I swear) at the cinema soon or at home with family and friends, surrounded by pizza and tasty beverages, in a few months, just know that you’re getting exactly as they advertised…Jason Statham fighting a big, damn prehistoric shark for nearly two hours.

The Meg Pic1