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Shaun vs. Contamination (1980)

Contamination1

After mysterious, egg-like objects capable of blowing up bodies are found on a derelict ship, a mismatched trio investigate where they came from and come to realize the eggs may be “Alien” in origin.



 

Judging a Book by its Cover

Contamination1-Well, I don’t think there’s any doubt that there may be some underlying inspiration from Alien which came out the year prior.

-Those eggs definitely look familiar, but you feel them in your blood?  That sounds painful as hell.  No wonder that floating head is screaming.

-And look at that floating head in that super comfy helmet, it’s gigantic on him.  Maybe he’s upset he couldn’t get one in his size?

-If you can read the tiny print, you’ll notice “Music by Goblin” which alone is enough for me to watch it.  I love their crazy soundtracks featuring wonderful synthesizer scores.

 


 

You feel them in your blood!

Directed by Luigi Cozzi

Starring Ian McCulloch, Marino Masé and Louise Marleau

The film opens with a derelict ghost ship being brought in to New York City Harbour where, upon initial inspection, it appears abandoned.  A few mutilated corpses later however, a research team finds slimy, green eggs in the ship’s storage.  One of the eggs blows up and sprays its liquid insides over the whole team whose insides blow up almost instantly afterwards.

contamination5

I’m going to lay off ketchup and mustard for a while.

The only survivor of the egg-tack, police officer Tony Aris (Masé) joins a high ranking government official (Marleau) who brings along a disgraced astronaut (McCulloch) as they attempt to find the origin of the eggs and also who the hell is transporting them all over the place.  These things are dangerous after all!

contamination4

I suppose they could be slime-covered avocados…

Not surprising to anyone who glanced at the front cover of the movie, the eggs are alien in origin but an even bigger mystery is who brought them back from space and are transporting them all over the world?  The clues lead them to a coffee plantation in Colombia where the final battle for the entire planet will take place.  Not every final battle has to take place in New York or Los Angeles.

contamination2

This is Mr. Rader and this is Mr. Coffee.

So is the movie really influenced by Alien?  Obviously, yes, but not to a degree where I’d call it a rip off.  The eggs share a similarity in look to the cocoons that house the Face Huggers in the Alien saga but if you think you’ll see low-budget Xenomorphs prepare to be disappointed.  The “aliens” that come out of the eggs are merely in a liquid form though when sprayed on a living being, they make the victim’s insides blow out, almost like a Chestburster would.  And in true Italian cinema fashion, there’s plenty of blood and guts thrown in that it put the movie on the Video Nasty list!  The scenes where the victims’ insides explode in volcanic viscera might sound gruesome but the effects look cheap and ineffective after the first couple of times you see them happen.

contamination3

That’s some serious cholesterol problem.

As typical for an Italian import, the film is laughably dubbed to the point of where I’m not certain if the original script was used at all or if the dialogue was seriously re-written.  If the story was going to be taken seriously, it’s hard to keep from snickering at the brisk pace the voice actors have to deliver their dialogue.  What isn’t brisk, however, is the pacing.  There are several long, boring lulls as the film clearly lost focus at some point.  The change in tone and pace nearly put me to sleep and I floated into the final act which brought me back in because the film became slightly interesting again.

contamination6

All hail President Kang!

The film may be worth watching if you’re interested in seeing what it took to push film boundaries a few decades ago, but those same effects aren’t up to snuff now after such a long time has passed.  If you’re watching it because of the Alien connection, don’t bother, it’s barely there.  The two main reasons to watch the film don’t deliver what you’re looking for and what’s left is an average sci-fi/horror flick at best.  That Goblin score was pretty good though!

TL;DR

Story: 3 – Alien eggs on a derelict ship launches an investigation that uncovers a conspiracy that affects every human on the planet!  Lack of focus and dull pace really bring the movie down.

Blood: 5 – Yeah, it’s gruesome at first but when the victim suddenly gains fifty pounds of “effects” under their clothes, the effect is lost as you watch guts shoot out of their bodies.

Nudity: 0 – Nada!?

Overall: 5 – The main reasons for watching the film aren’t exactly entertaining and the lack of focus and dull pace really bring the movie down.

Trivia

-Director Luigi Cozzi envisioned a more animated final creature to end his film with but due to budget constraints the monster was made animatronic and suffered many malfunctions during filming.

-Cozzi wanted to hire the same cast of Zombi 2 (Zombie in North America) since it made so much money.  Only one actor, Ian McCulloch, signed on for Contamination.

-The film’s alternate titles are Alien Contamination, Contamination: Alien on Earth and Toxic Spawn.

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