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Alien Invasion Night

4th Apr 04

The combination of Contamination and The Deadly Spawn looks like a Zombie Club double-bill made in Heaven. We'd heard of both, knew they were very gory and so our hopes were obviously high...

This evening's selection is presented by Jim in association with the Ian McCulloch School of Etiquette and Personal Grooming.

Contamination The Deadly Spawn 


Contamination (1979)

Plot
Our first offering for the evening stars Ian McCulloch (of Zombie Flesh Eaters fame) and is a late 70s, very gory, previously banned 70s Italian horror (like Zombie Flesh Eaters) which starts with a deserted ship floating into New York harbour (like Zombie Flesh Eaters) but ends up in the Caribbean (err, a bit like Zombie Flesh Eaters).

It also has some big green eggs in which explode when they get warm, spraying any bystanders with deadly alien ooze that makes them explode too.

Jim
On paper this movie looks like it's got everything a film needs to become a cult favourite. It stars that world famous, zombie dodging Glaswegian from Zombie Flesh Eaters, is from the director who learnt his trade from Dario Argento and was previously on the UK video nasties list. So how come then this film sucks so much? Did McCulloch and his Italian sidekick (Marino Masé) drink their way through most of the budget, or is an Italian spaghetti sci-fi Alien rip off just doomed from the start?

Not that it's all bad; the guys in white coats tinkering with massive dials in the background of the lab scenes are unintentionally hilarious, and the grue is good, but for the most part this baby's a real turkey.

At one point we did get a little excited when we thought one of the extras shouted "zombie!", but unfortunately we misheard him; he actually said "white zombie" and was referring to some guys with white so-called radiation suits on, that had obviously got lost trying to find their way onto the set of The Crazies. Never mind.

Rawshark
The first few minutes of Contamination were really enjoyable in a 'b'-movie tense sort of way. A cop and his mates board a ship to find several dead bodies and a few pulsating green balloons (the eggs), but then everything goes downhill faster than World Skiing Championship.

Great (terrible) sets, bizarre characters (Louise Marleau plays the "Colonel of Special Division 5!"; McCulloch is an alcoholic astronaut returned from Mars), the same gore effect again and again (oh, look another chest explosion), and at one point a character is locked in a bathroom with an egg for what seems like 3 hours. "Help! Let me out! There's an egg!" No shit, sherlock.

Hmmm... for genuine fans of Ed Wood only. And don't even get me started on the alien at the end. That creature would have been turned down for Dr Who!

Zomblee
Wow... I loved that alien creature at the end. Or maybe it was just the music in that scene. Was the huge beast really that bad? Eeerrrr....yes. The thing yours truly liked about this film was the Goblin (or is it The Goblin, or The Goblins - I do wish they would make up their minds) soundtrack. Some music from this film was stolen for Zombie Creeping Flesh (don't even think about going there) and to be honest, I have to congratulate Bruno Mattei on his choice because this soundtrack really does rock out in that early 80's synth-rock kind of way.

But what about the film I hear you ask? Well, if you're ever going to watch Contamination and Deadly Spawn in the same night, make sure you watch Contamination first, even though the term 'supporting feature' doesn't really fit here. I can't imagine this 'feature' supporting much really. It really does seem with some of these films like they don't even TRY! Some of the gore is good enough; the chest bursting scenes were reasonable, and done in slo-mo, with nice cracking rib cage sound effects, unlike the strange sounds the green alien eggs seem to make. What IS going on there?

Great music. Rubbish film. Avoid, but buy the soundtrack.

Contamination

Director
Luigi Cozzi

Cast
Ian McCulloch
Louise Marleau
Marino Masé
Siegfried Rauch

Rating
Jim
Rawshark
Zomblee

Runtime
85 mins

Available From

Amazon UK
Amazon US
CD WOW

Click on the icons above to purchase this title and support Eat My Brains!


The Deadly Spawn (1983)

Plot
Our second feature is a classic cheapo 80s Alien splat-fest about tonnes of little slug-like critters with teeth terrorizing a small American town.

Zomblee
This film was eagerly anticipated by myself, and I think my gore colleagues at Zombie Club were also looking forward to getting their teeth into this one. (Sorry!) Deadly Spawn rocks, and it rocks with loads of really big teeth. “Mankind VS the ultimate eating machine!” But alas, Elvis Presley was nowhere to be seen…

The film opens with a meteor / alien spawn falling to earth, people get eaten, some spawn make their way to a local basement, and then the main characters are introduced to us. Some of whom are eaten. This is not one to be taken seriously, so we didn’t take it seriously. There was excitable shouting going on; this is pure camp fun, obviously made by people with a love for the genre, with a micro-budget at their disposal.

The gore is good, the puppets are great, and the film is not as stupid as a lot of others. The characters are pretty cool for a low budget quickie, especially Charles, the little 10-year-old kid, who doesn’t exactly scare easy! And another thing – you won’t want to switch it off!

The Vipco DVD presentation is the usual sub-standard embarrassment. Full frame, not razor sharp, and a TEXT ONLY cover for a film which had a wicked sleeve illustration. Nice one, Vipco – you did it again, you bunch of tossers. (The version shown above is a different release)

Jim
Yeah, this one caught me by surprise. It's refreshing to see a very low budget picture made well, with a decent stab at acting all round and impressive gore. It kind of makes you jealous more than anything - you think to yourself, "Man, a little cash and a lot of inventiveness goes a long way. Maybe we could make something like this..."

Of particular note is the scene when the OAP Tupperware party gets invaded. I can't think of any other movie where aliens attack old folk, and here the little critters properly go for it, biting whopping great chunks out of all and sundry. There's also the obligatory 'critter falls in blender accidentally gets served as part of the sauce' scene. Euch.

Rawshark
Now this is more like it, a 'b'-move with a heart. McKeown invests a lot of time in his characters in this film and it shows. In addition to the above-mentioned OAPs and 'Indiana-Jones-type' super kid, we have the great mum Bunny, wacky Uncle Herb, and a couple of opposing-view's science-student brothers.

The creature effects and gore-work are top-notch (especially considering the film was reportedly shot for $20,000!), and the little critters when shown in close-up are genuinely horrible looking things.

Lots of fun, lots of laughter and shouting at the screen; great beer and pizza entertainment. Not quite as good as the similar Squirm, then, but if you like your monsters small and wriggly, and served with a slice of cheese (with the exception of the ending, but I won't spoil that for you), then this film's for you.

The Deadly Spawn

Director
Douglas McKeown (his only film)

Cast
James Brewster
Elissa Neil
John Schmerling
Ethel Michelson
Judith Mayes

Rating
Zomblee
Jim
Rawshark

Runtime
85 mins

Available From

Amazon UK
Amazon US
CD WOW

Click on the icons above to purchase this title and support Eat My Brains!


Conclusion
And there you have it. We were all hoping for Contamination to be the next Zombie Flesh Eaters, but it turned out to be as ridiculous as Greedo shooting first.

Deadly Spawn, on the other hand, impressed the shit out of us, so let's hope those rumours that Blue Underground will be releasing a DVD special edition in the near future are true.

Next week... Melt Night!


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