Contamination (1980) Review

One from the re watch pile…
Contamination (1980)

Arrow Video’s Contamination Bluray


Film: Italian horror is totally my jam. Even though Re-animator is my favourite horror film, I can’t resist a good… or a bad Italian horror, fantasy or scifi film. They are sometimes nonsensical, sometimes brilliant, but always totally entertaining.

This film was written and directed by Luigi Cozzi, also known for Starcrash and one of my favourite films The Killer Must Kill Again, but here under the alias ‘Lewis Coates’. It has a super score by my favourite band Goblin, and really feels of it’s time, especially if you are an Italian horror film regular.

Contamination: Louise Marleau as Col. Stella Holmes


A freighter arrives in New York with a dead crew and a cargo of boxes of coffee from South America which actually contain some kind of egg which explodes if under any kind of heat, infecting those who are exposed to its bacteria, which then causes them to explode.

An investigation is started, headed by Colonel Stella Holmes (Louise Marleau) along with the survivor of the first egg encounter, police lieutenant Tony Aris (Marino Masé). They experiment on a few of the eggs and come to the conclusion that they are not of this earth, and perhaps the only person who could help them is the only surviving member of a Mars mission, returned astronaut named Commander Ian Hubbard (Ian McCulloch). 

Contamination: Ian McCulloch as Cmdr. Ian Hubbard


Very soon the three are on the trail of the eggs on Earth which leads them to South America, and the secret as to how these eggs made their way here…
Cozzi’s love of science fiction is well on display here, and the heavy inclusion of 70s/ 80s Italian gore makes it a keeper. This film isn’t too disassociated from American 50s scifi as at its core, it’s actually kind of wholesome, with its military trying to end a world-threatening event plot. It’s just the exploding chests and copious amounts of blood, landed it in the list of video nasties in the 80s in the UK, which is where it’s notoriety comes from.

Contamination: eggs… so many eggs!


That finite excuse for that notoriety though may have come from Cozzi’s use of Peckingpah-esque slo-mo for every single chest explosion!!

For years people have said it’s an Alien rip off, and even though Cozzi claims to have been inspired by it, I think it’s unfair to make the comparison. Yes there are eggs, and yes, there are exploding chests, but just because these two elements feature in it to me don’t make it slightly comparable.
Contamination is heaps of sci-fi fun with a dash of 80s gore, and it’s a fit that sits well!
Score: ****

Arrow Video’s Bluray menu screen


Format: The edition of Contamination reviewed in the U.K., region A and B Bluray released by Arrow Video. The film runs for approximately 95 minutes and is presented in a nicely cleaned up 1.85:1 images with a choice of and Italian or English mono soundtrack. It’s not the sharpest image you’ll ever see, and there is the very occasional speck onscreen, but they are minor quibbles for a film of it’s vintage.

Score: ****

Extras: As ever, Arrow have the goods with this release!

Luigi Cozzi on Contamination is an older… sorry, I mean ‘archive’ interview with the director of the film, where he discusses the origins of the film and the process to make it. Cozzi narrates the whole thing, and gives us a look as some behind the scenes footage as well.

Contamination Q&A is an session of questions proposed to Cozzi and McCulloch, hosted by Arrow’s Ewan Cant. It’s an entertaining and amusing discussion for sure.

Sound of the Cyclops is a talk with Goblin keyboardist Maurizio Guarini which for me, as a Goblin fan, was really interesting.

Luigi Cozzi vs. Lewis Coates is a career retrospective interview with Cozzi.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery delves into the ‘Italian Copy’ films that aimed to emulate the success of films like Jaws, The Warriors and Dawn of the Dead, amongst others.

We also have a trailer and black and white graphic novel based on the film, which has some pretty cool indie styled artwork. I don’t get why you’d make a comic an extra on an actual disc, as I’d much prefer an ACTUAL comic included in the packaging like Arrow’s release of Demons.

Also, there is a commentary by Fangoria’s Chris Alexander which is a fan commentary, but Alexander knows his stuff!

Hidden within the disc, one will also find really cool alternate covers for the cover, one with original art and the other with cool new art by Ghoulish Gary Pullin (whose amazing artwork can be found HERE!)  and there is also a fully illustrated booklet with a piece by the aforementioned Mr. Alexander, and details of the restoration.

Score: *****

Contamination: Marino Masé as Lt. Tony Aris


WISIA: Heaps of gore and heaps of corn, you better believe I’m coming back for more!

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