Sunday, June 5, 2016

(egg) box frenzy

Just picked up a dead cheap Bluray copy of this to replace my well worn DVD (what can I say? it was only 6 quid) so thought I'd give it a re-review cos let's be honest it doesn't ever get the love it deserves.

A wee bit like your mum.

But where do you start with such a classic?

With a brief resume of the directors career methinks.

(I'm actually getting paid by the word for this one).

From writing for the famous Italian movie magazine Galaxy and co-authoring Four Flies on Grey Velvet to directing such classics as Lou Ferrigno's big screen debut Hercules, Argento contemporary cum shopkeeper Cozzi's career trajectory has been nothing if not interesting.

Obviously you'll have to check out a film book/blog that cares about annoying things like facts and interesting content if you want to know more.

But for those readers with ADHD or busy lives there are three films in particular stand out from his resume, the frankly indescribable Caroline Munro starring Argento/Three Mothers sequel/tribute The Black Cat, the Caroline Munro (again, does he have dodgy pics of her stashed away?)/David Hasslehoff space fantasy Starcrash and the frankly magnificent...





Contamination (AKA Alien Contamination, Contamination: Alien on Earth, Toxic Spawn. 1980)
Dir: Luigi Cozzi (AKA Lewis Coates)
Cast: Ian McCulloch, Louise Marleau, Marino Mase, Carlo De Mejo, your mum  and a big green jelly.




Opening as most 80's Italian horror movies do - with grainy aerial shots of New York cut to a totally inappropriate synth score (this time supplied by Italy's finest prog rock legends Goblin) - Contamination begins with a mysterious 'ghost ship' approaching the harbour.

Not the one from Zombie Flesh Eaters tho', that was last weekend.

New York's finest, Lieutenant Tony Aris (played by the fantastically tanned Marino Mase) calls on the bizarrely out of (lip) synch Dr. Turner to explore the ship with him and a group of faceless (literally, they're all wearing bio-hazard masks) cops, who after wandering around in the dark for ten minutes come across the bloodied remains of the crew.

Turner is shocked, it appears that everyone on board either:

A. was replaced by shoddily cut up shop window dummies covered in cow intestines and jam.
or
B. exploded.

"Shite in mah....oh."



After depositing their lunch over one of the corpses (as you do) our intrepid band carefully creep into the ships hold, only to discover boxes upon boxes marked 'café' and a big green glowing egg under a pipe.

If that wasn't enough to make even the bravest man fill his trousers a strange and otherworldly noise, akin to a rusty tuba being played by an asthmatic beagle is spookily echoing around the hold.

Poking the egg with a pencil, Turner is shocked to see it burst open, showering him and all the team (save Lieutenant Aris) with what looks like a mix of PVA glue, green poster paint and KY jelly that has the fairly unusual effect of making all the non speaking extras stomachs explode leaving Aris looking slightly bewildered and the audience ready for 90 minutes of pure terror.

Probably.

"How'd you like your eggs love?"



Aris is whisked away to a top secret military base run by the, um, 'lovely' Colonel Stella Holmes (Marleau), who after stripping him naked, giving him an old blanket and locking him in a big fish tank explains that she runs a special operations unit (Section 5) specifically set up to combat the menace of scary eggs and would he like to join?

You would....and your Granddad probably did. Twice.




Aris jumps at the chance and, clad in a pair of Quick Fit overalls, accompanies Colonel Holmes and co. to a warehouse 'downtown' where they find what looks like a cut-price version of jive talking Italian 'B' god Bobby Rhodes guarding hundreds of the so-called killer eggs.

As the soldiers advance replica-Rhodes bursts one of the eggs causing him and his buddies stomachs to explode leaving the surviving eggs free to be destroyed by flame thrower equipped soldiers.

I have to be honest and admit that I'm really at a loss to explain the logic behind his plan.

"He did WHAT in his cup?"




If nothing else tho' it does allow Holmes to take a couple of them away to examine giving her time to deduce that these eggs could only have come from Mars and that they were brought back by astronauts on the last mission there.

You see, it appears that one of the crew, 'Mutha' Hubbard (played to angry ginger haired Scottish perfection by Italian horror veteran McCulloch) had been ranting about finding a cavern full of big green tuba playing eggs on the red planet but his usually jolly and humorous co-pilot cun UKIP councillor Neil Hamilton, had calmly (some would say too calmly - as if possessed) told everyone Hubbard was a mentalist.

Rather than find a way of checking his story Colonel Holmes had him locked up.

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"I can see your house from here Peter!"




Now there's only one thing she can do.

Yup, go round to his house, slag off his sexual prowess, apologize for calling him mad and ask him to join a secret mission to South America to investigate the company exporting the eggs.

McCulloch sighs, swigs some more Heineken and slaps the colonel round the head before agreeing to join her.

Well, he is out of booze and it's carnival season down there.

Cue stock footage of a radio-controlled plane, mixed with shots of holiday makers, children in big hats smoking cigars, Aris in a pair of obscenely tight trousers and white socks and we're off to the hotel.

But our heroes are being watched.

Hamilton didn't die in a mysterious plane crash (I forgot to mention that sorry) but is in fact running the alien egg export company and his got something big, throbbing and slimy just for Colonel Holmes.....


Your Gran's cum face. Possibly.




It's a race against time to rescue the by now showering Stella - c'mon she's fairly fit for an old bird - and save the world.

Will they discover the secret of Hamilton's link to the eggs?

Will Aris get his leg over with Holmes or will his quickfire one liners fail to ignite her passions?

Why has Hubbard stolen a plane without telling anyone (to find more Heineken apparently)?

And will they survive an audience with the pant wetting terror that is 'the alien cyclops'?

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"Laugh now!"



With his career catapulted into the stratosphere (sort of) with the success of Starcrash, director Luigi Cozzi decided that his follow up would also be a sci-fi epic and turned his dreamy eyes to Ridley Scott's film Alien for inspiration.

Luckily for him (and us) his producers agreed.

But how could anyone attempt to match the cinematic perfection that was - and still is - the Scott classic?

It's with this solution that Cozzi cemented himself as a true genius of modern cinema.

Forgoing the tight editing, oppressive cinematography and top-notch casting of his inspiration Cozzi decided to take the opposite route and with it's Shoddily shot, inanely plotted action scenes and a cast that appears to be sleep walking (yes my friends even Ian McCulloch), Contamination not so much pays homage to Alien than breaks into its house, strips Ridley's classic naked, bundles it in a cupboard and sticks its toothbrush up its arse before getting it's dog pissed and putting lipstick on it.


Under blue moon I saw you
So soon you'll take me
Up in your arms
Too late to beg you or cancel it
Though I know it must be the killing time
Unwillingly mine...Fuck me it's a massive egg!


Unfortunately audiences mistook this brave almost Cinéma vérité style for genuine cackhandedness and stayed away in droves whereas in the UK the films stark realism was mistaken for a documentary leading the film to end up banned as one of the notorious 'video nasties' that your granddad keeps harping on about.

That's right, you could be prosecuted for owning this back in the day.

But luckily not for making it.

Eventually the truth was discovered during the infamous Wikileaks saga and the film was rushed onto DVD to terrify a new generation.

And talking to that generation directly I'd just like to say can YOU find a more enjoyable egg based, exploding chest filled Eurohorror than this one?

I think not.


Go out and buy it now!

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