Friday, December 19, 2008

Contamination (1980)


Contamination starts out with a helicopter circling New York to find an abandoned cargo ship (in a homage to the giant ant flick Them!). When they board the ship they find a slaughtered crew that seem to have exploded. In the hull they find thousands of coffee bean boxes containing green, football sized, pulsating eggs. When one of the egg reaches its boiling point it shoots its toxic slime all over the crew searching the ship, who meet the same fate as the ship's crew they were searching for... exploding chests!

When National Security finds out about this they begin an investigation that leads them to astronauts that have been on Mars, coffee plantations in Columbia, and a giant cyclops alien. The head of the security team, a cop, and the last surviving member of the Mars expedition set out to discover the reason these green eggs of death were heading for New York. They are lead to a warehouse, where the workers there are not about to speak and would rather fall victim to these eggs.

After this the movie starts to hit a slow point, turning from over the top sci-fi to a detective style. Though necessary to progress the plot, it really leaves you anxious for more of what reeled you in to begin with. As we find out the mystery of who is behind the eggs, and why, we discover that they are not of this world, and most people dealing with them aren't of their right minds. A giant alien cyclops that looks pretty cool and is a major 50s throwback really makes the climax great.

Contamination won't blow your mind (maybe your chest) with how well written it is or how tight Luigi Cozzi's direction is, but it will entertain you for 95 minutes. The effects are great even for such a modest budget. Originally titled "Alien Arrives on Earth" in Europe and "Alien Contamination" in the US, this film is nothing short of a blast.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Inferno (1980)


Inferno is the sequel to Suspiria and is every bit as good. Argento keeps the surrealism and atmosphere overflowing throughout along with the extreme lighting. It is a film that gets better with each viewing as you can dig deeper into every detail and every nuance. The soundtrack is typical Goblin, pumping and driving. The Italian electro-rock legends achieved film score perfection with the song at the climax of the movie. The writing is typical Argento, somewhat disjointed and not the best, but it just doesn't matter as that is not why we watch his films.

It can be argued that the surreal chaos achieved with Inferno would never be duplicated. I've yet to see anything like it. Argento fans argue over whether this film is on par with Suspiria or not, and both sides have valid points. I think they are perfect to watch back to back, and even though I prefer Suspiria, the underwater scene and the climax in Inferno are among my favorite moments in film history.