Review Index


Fun, hyper-gory Italian trash!

The Package
     Made in 1982 by sleazemeister Luigi Cozzi (under his Americanized pseudonym “Lewis Coates”), CONTAMINATION (originally released under the moniker ALIEN CONTAMINATION) was one of countless ALIEN wannabes that flooded the market in the wake of that 1977 milestone (a trend that continued well into the nineties with EVENT HORIZON and VIRUS).  This one was made in Italy, where pitches by filmmakers all reportedly boil down to a single question: “What's this like?”  Or to be more specific, what successful American movie are you ripping off?  With Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE, for instance, the answer would have been Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (likewise with Ruggero Deodato's CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, which, in a not unusual occurrence, spawned its own sub genre which we’ll call the Italian Cannibal Movie, which was almost as prevalent as the Italian Post-Holocaust Movie).

The Story
     A deserted ship is discovered in the New York harbor (well, actually a dock someplace in Italy, with exterior shots spliced in to make us think it’s NYC).  When a team of investigators boards it, they find a bunch of large watermelon-like eggs that emit tiny spores causing people to explode.  It’s up to a hot chick scientist and her BF (who demonstrate the spores’ deadly properties by injecting ‘em into a rat, making it pop like a water balloon) to find the source of the strange eggs, which turns out to be a coffee plantation in Bolivia.  Here a batty ex-astronaut, the only survivor of an expedition to Mars, is taking care of a large, slimy, one-eyed critter (severely under lit so we won't notice how cheesy it is) who distributes the eggs and harbors a healthy appetite for human flesh.

The Direction
     Luigi Cozzi is best known for his Lou Ferrigno Hercules abominations (made because they were “like” EXCALIBUR and CLASH OF THE TITANS) and the execrable STAR CRASH (the first word in the title should clue you in as to what film that one is “like”).  When cult movie enthusiast John Martin told Cozzi he enjoyed CONTAMINATION, the reluctant auteur burst out laughing.  Give the guy credit: he knows his limitations.  This is trash with a capitol T, but it's fun trash, a slick, fast moving monster movie with surprisingly potent gore effects.

Vital Statistics

Cannon Film Distributors

Director: “Lewis Coates” (Luigi Cozzi)
Producer: “Charles Mancini” (Claudio Mancini)
Screenwriters: Luigi Cozzi, Erich Tomek
Cinematography: “Joseph Pinori” (Giuseppi Pinori)
Editor: Nino Baragli
Cast: Ian McCulloch, Louise Marleau, Marino Mase, Siegfried Rauch, Gisela Hahn

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