Wednesday, 21 May 2008


Director: Luigi Cozzi
Writer: Luigi Cozzi
Italy 1980

One of a handful of science fiction films on the list, Contamination starts promisingly with a helicopter flight over New York, featuring shots of the same Roosevelt Island housing projects that provide the setting for the US version of Dark Water. Excitingly the credits promise an appearance by Ian McCulloch, though to my disappointment this turned out to be some actor and not the floppy-haired founder of 1980s indie band Echo and the Bunnymen.

One of many films of the time inspired by Alien – including John Carpenter's superb The Thing and the gloriously silly British sci-fi horror Inseminoid – Contamination dispenses with internal logic and ups the gore, the result being what at first seems to be a very watchable, surprisingly pacey piece of B-movie fun. As in Alien, acid blood and bursting stomachs play a part, though ingeniously a mere touch of the alien blood in Contamination causes you to literally explode - a filmic device used as frequently as you’d hope.

Unfortunately, after about half an hour of pulsating alien eggs and exploding scientists Contamination loses its way and turns into a boring thriller. There are a couple more decent scenes and it is almost rescued by the daft finale, but ultimately Contamination is a disappointing experience, especially after such a promising start.

Some mention should be made of Goblin, the Italian prog rock band who provide the soundtrack to so many Italian Video Nasties, as this is the first film I’ve reviewed that features them. Though not up to the amazing standards set by the soundtracks to Tenebrae and Suspiria, the music and abstract sound effects in Contamination are well above average and make the long stretches of tedium that little bit more bearable.


The Mule said...

I watched this last night and was disappointed that more of it didn't take place in outer space. The extraterrestrial segments were confined to one or two flashbacks; due to budgetary considerations, I'm sure. So my hopes for a blatant "Alien" ripoff were dashed.

I agree with you, Goblin's soundtrack was rockin'.

Ben said...

It's not a great one, is it? It seemed to me that the boring second half could have been an excuse for a Caribbean holiday for the cast and production team.

It just takes a bit of imagination to do outer space - budgets never restricted Dr Who!