Contamination (1980)

Contamination DVD CoverIn true Italian movie fashion, Director Luigi Cozzi (Demons 6, Hercules, Sinbad of the Seven Seas) gets an Italian, Canadian, and a Scotsman to play a trio of Americans taking on an alien invasion housed in a Colombian coffee plant.

Though a bit of a let down due to the lack of snappy coffee oriented one liners whenever an alien was wiped out (You should’ve ordered decaf!) the loving attention paid to slow motion chest explosions, an exploding rat, and the description of one character as “whiskey-soaked” easily overcomes that disappointment.

The film starts off with a surefire attention getter. The ghost ship! I think I speak for all of us when I say that nothing is spookier than a deserted barge full of coffee floating into New York City.

With this killer barge on the loose, it’s up to Brooklyn cop Tony Aris to check it out. The good thing about Tony is that he doesn’t have a Brooklyn accent. I think I speak for all of us again when I say that a Brooklyn accent is almost as horrifying as a ghost ship.

The bad thing about Tony Aris is just about everything else. The guy looks like he was just scraped up off the bottom of someone’s shoe and he spends a fair amount of time in the film combing his hair, even though he always has the messiest, most unkempt hair you’ve ever seen in a film not named Eraserhead.

He and some others (including one of those scientific types who is prone to make startling leaps of logic based on zero information) board the ship to investigate what happened to the crew. Burst chests and strange football-sized green eggs are the order of the day.

Contamination 1

Military types are called in and Tony ends up in a decontamination chamber where he meets a lady colonel whose looks are as nasty as her attitude.

Her name is Stella Holmes and she’s determined to get to the bottom of this exploding egg business, even if it means taking Tony and a broken down astronaut on a field trip to Colombia!

Once Tony gets decontaminated, we are treated to one of those scenes where the egghead with the microscope pukes out exactly what we’re dealing with.

She says that these things aren’t eggs, but are in fact some type of bacteria that gets activated by warmth and that it is a silicon based lifeform and not a carbon based one. Every scientist knows that “non-carbon based lifeform” is Trekkie talk for “alien.”

Contamination 2

Stella takes about three seconds to figure out that these things must have been brought to Earth and the only interplanetary trip she can think of we took lately was that mission to Mars where a couple of astronauts came back and one of them was babbling about a bunch of eggs.

No one believed this guy so he got drummed out of NASA and now lives in a disheveled bachelor pad, all boozy, crabby and disillusioned.

Stella looks this guy up and wouldn’t you know it, but she was the one that led the effort to get his crazy ass discharged! Say, do you think sparks are going to fly?

She gets herself slapped somewhere along the way, but even better than that, we get a little flashback of his time on Mars!

This is a very low budget Mars (think probable matte painting), so it all takes place in an ice cave filled with eggs. There is this big light and another astronaut gets hypnotized by it and that’s about all that happened.

Hearing this story, Stella knows she has to assemble a crack team of experts to root out these eggs that have made their way to Earth and halt the alien invasion. Despite this, she still takes this astronaut and Tony with her.

Contamination 3

They have 72 hours to get it done. There wasn’t any real good reason for the 72 hour deadline, but it served to keep Stella and company on task so I wasn’t about to argue.

Stella traces the eggs to Colombia and the bad guys know that Stella and the boys are there to foul up things, so instead of just shooting them in street like they usually do in Colombia, they try stupid stuff like planting an egg in the bathroom with her while she showers. It’s just like Psycho, but with a big alien egg!

Later when Stella and Tony get themselves captured at the coffee plant, instead of just putting a bullet in their heads, they tie them up and make a big production of bringing them to the alien cyclops. To be fair, Tony did finally get eaten, but all the delays allowed the good guy astronaut to appear and muck things up.

No doubt about it, this one more than satisfies all the requirements of your typically skid row Italian splatter films! Ample gore, lots of slimy, throbbing eggs, badly dubbed unnatural dialogue, a Goblin score, and Ian McCulloch of Zombie and Zombie Holocaust ensure that the movie is all that it is supposed to be! Very effective – I don’t drink coffee to this very day!

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