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VHS MOVIE REVIEW : CONTAMINATION
WRITTEN BY SAUCERMAN AT BLOODSPRAYER.COM

Greetings, readers. This marks the beginning of something new we’re doing here at the Blood Sprayer; you see (and Kristy or Wes could explain it better than I can, but I’ll give you the gist) in the 1980s in England, the VHS boom and the open availability of violent films on VHS led to something of a scare fueled by religious groups under the rallying cry of “Think about the children!” This led to a putsch, of sorts, and the passing of the Video Recordings Act of 1984, enforcing stricter censorship on VHS.  Some 72 films were put on a list of “Banned Films” and over the coming year we will be profiling each of them in turn.  By luck of the draw, my number came up first, and so I present to you, Luigi Cozzi’s 1980 sci-fi/horror clas-sick, CONTAMINATION (sometimes listed as ALIEN CONTAMINATION).

Spoilers ensue.

A cargo ship, out of control, drifts into the New York City Harbor.  It’s forward momentum checked, a  Coast Guard team boards the vessel.  The crew is discovered to be dead, and horribly mutilated in a fashion suggesting they exploded.  The cargo hold is discovered to contain box upon box upon box of “coffee,” though upon further inspection it’s discovered that this coffee has been replaced, not with Folger’s Crystals, but with football-sized, warty greenish eggs that explode and spray acid when handled.  This acid, in turn, causes any human being who comes in contact with it to violently explode, with enough force to send their guts rocketing across the room.

I think people will notice the substitution, to be honest…

Colonel Stella Holmes is assigned to investigate the eggs and where they come from, teaming up with NYPD Lieutenant Tony Aris.  The “acid” is found to be a bacteriological slurry, and the eggs a delivery vector for explosive infection.  They also discover a warehouse full of eggs and a network of “dealers” ready to distribute them to New York City’s water supply.  These dealers are swiftly executed and the eggs destroyed.

When the biological research team (who detonate a rat in the name of science — the little rodent is placed in a glass tank, and a sample of the bacterium from the eggs introduced into said tank, causing the rat to explode with enough force to completely coat the interior of the tank — all six sides, completely stained in gore!) discovers that the bacterium corresponds to no known Earthly agent, Holmes is reminded of a manned mission to Mars a few years back — one from which an astronaut returned insane, babbling about eggs…

Cue Ian Hubbard (Ian McCulloch, who earlier appeared in Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBI 2), a whiskey-soaked wreck of a man.  He tells Holmes of his voyage, with fellow astronaut Hamilton, to the Martian North Pole, where they found a pulsating, humid cavern in the ice…after which he remembers no more, but is brought in to investigate with Holmes and Aris.

The intrepid trio find their way to South America, and the “coffee” plantation the eggs are originating from.  Here, they find Hamilton, believed dead following a plane crash six months earlier; he’d faked his death.  Now, in the thrall of a bloated, slobbering alien cyclops, shrouded in fog in the bowels of the plantation building, he has begun disseminating the creature’s bacterial slime-eggs as part of the monstrous extraterrestrial’s plot to conquer the Earth.  The cyclops, using it’s hypnotically-flashing eye, lures Aris within reach of it’s drooling, hungry proboscis; it begins to lure Holmes in as well, as Hubbard and Hamilton face off; it is up to Hubbard, that whiskey-soaked wreck of a man, to save all of humanity.

Written (story treatment and screenplay, at least) and directed by Luigi Cozzi, who’d earlier struck science fiction gold with STARCRASH, starring Caroline Munro, Marjoe Gortner, Joe Spinell and David Hasselhoff.  Music by Goblin, who’d worked closely with Dario Argento for years.  Alien cyclops created by Georgio Ferrari, who would later build the shark for Italian JAWS clone GREAT WHITE, and serve as special effects supervisor for 1991′s underrated tribute to classic horror, POPCORN.  CONTAMINATION is Italian rip-off GOLD.  Yes, I said rip-off; CONTAMINATION was made in the wake of Ridley Scott and Dan O’Bannon’s classic sci-fi horror film ALIEN; though borrowing little more than the egg imagery.  Cozzi was and is an avid science fiction fan, and while tapped to create a film that would capitalize on ALIEN’s success, he took it entirely in his own direction.

One film that Cozzi took inspiration from (which sharp-eyed and sharp-witted readers will have already noted) is Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBI 2, aka ZOMBIE.  The opening sequence of the uncontrolled boat drifting into New York Harbor is lifted directly from Fulci’s eyeball-skewering classic.  Additionally, utilizing actor Ian McCulloch, who played the hero in ZOMBI 2, and even having him refer to a laborer on the “coffee” plantation as a zombie…

It should be no surprise why CONTAMINATION landed itself on the Video Nasty List: Multiple graphic sequences of slow-motion exploding torsos seem the sort of thing to piss of the Morality Police of the United Kingdom or, really, most countries.  The special effects work for the gore is effective, looking like it mostly utilized animal offal; there’s a couple sequences where the actors are noticeably “plumper” right before blowing their guts across the floor.  It’s cheesy, yeah, but was gruesome enough to offend those with stomachs too weak to handle the extra-chunky marinara.  Compared to many of the splatter films that were to follow, CONTAMINATION is fairly tame; and really, I think we can all agree that there is no such thing as an “excessive” number of graphic sequences of slow-motion exploding torsos.

I should note that I actually have a personal history with CONTAMINATION; in December 2008, when I began reviewing films, CONTAMINATION was the first film I reviewed, chosen by dint of being the first film on the first disc of Mill Creek’s “Nightmare Worlds” 50-film DVD compilation.  It proved a gateway into the strange world of international exploitation cinema and for that, I am forever in Luigi Cozzi’s debt.

Vive il Cozzi!

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VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SURF NAZIS MUST DIE (1987)
From badmovienite.com

Best Bad Quote:
“Taste some of Mama’s home cookin’, Adolf!”
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When one thinks of bad movies, Troma Entertainment usually comes to mind. With titles like Killer Condom and Chopper Chicks in Zombietown, Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma empire embodies everything we love about bad movies. Troma has always been the anti-thesis of the Hollywood Studio system, making ridiculous, crass, and often times shocking movies on a shoestring budget. Going into Surf Nazi’s Must Die, I was psyched to watch over-the-top Neo Nazis terrorizing the beaches of Los Angeles. By the end I was left with “bad movie blue balls.”
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Sometime in the near future, Los Angeles has been leveled by an 8.6 magnitude earthquake and one gang sets out to rule the beaches, the Surf Nazis. Lead by their leader, Adolf, the Nazis go after anyone and everyone who gets near their waves. After the Nazis kill Leroy, an innocent oil worker, Leroy’s black and mild smoking granny vows to avenge her grandson’s death by taking out the Surf Nazis, one by one.
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Sounds promising right? A revenge tale set in a post apocalyptic world reminiscent of The Warriors (one of my favorite movies of all time.) I was already sold, and when I watched the trailer and saw this badass, big, black woman riding a Harley with a gun in her hand, I was in love. Unfortunately I fell victim to my expectations being raised too high. The biggest issue I had with this movie is its glossing over of the main conflict. They don’t show Leroy’s death? His death is the central focal point of the movie, and you’re not going to show that? It was done so poorly it wasn’t even clear what happened until it abruptly cut to Leroy’s grandmamma crying over a closed coffin that we are to assume is Leroy. I realize that Troma movies don’t have large budgets and therefore have to make certain sacrifices, but when multiple and subsequently unimportant rival gangs are shown being massacred, how do you not show Leroy die?!
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Despite the fact that Surf Nazis Must Die starts off REALLY slow, it picks up in the second half with the gratuitous gore one has come to expect from a Troma movie. Troma’s quintessential tongue-in-cheek nature is also found with the all characters being named after famous members of the Third Reich, except for Smeg (short for smegma) and Hook (who wields a large cartoonish hook for a hand).
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While Leroy’s grandmamma’s perfectly executed one-liners while enacting her revenge seem almost worth waiting for, I still found myself unable to move past the blatant disregard of Leroy’s death. The director chose the wrong corners to cut and cheated the maximum amount of campy fun that could’ve been had while watching, Surf Nazis Must Die.
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Rating:
2 out of 5 Enthusiastic Hitler Youths


VHS MOVIE REVIEW : THE BODY SHOP (1973)

God knows that I try to give no-budget horror films like this a lot of leeway but, holy shit, this film is insufferable. This is about as low budget as you can get and still call it a movie. There's threadbare sets, bad acting, annoying music (by William Girdler, of all people), chainsaw editing, lots of terrible post-synch dubbing and direction that can best be described as "huh?" Since this film is directed/produced/written and lead-acted (among other jobs) by the same person, J.G. 'Pat' Patterson Jr., it's quite obvious who is to blame. The story is simple (maybe "simpleton" is a better word): Dr. Donald Brandon (portrayed by Patterson, using the pseudonym "Don Brandon, America's No. 1 Magician") loses his beloved wife Anitra (Jenny Driggers) in a car accident (since this is a low budget film, we don't actually witness the accident, we just hear about it), so he, along with his mute, stogie-chomping hunchback assistant Greg (Roy Mehaffey), go about creating a whole new Anitra using the body parts of other women, onto which Dr. Brandon intends to insert his wife head as the final step. At first, Dr. Brandon and Greg rob graveyards for their body parts, but when those extremities aren't fresh enough to be revived (he wraps them in tin foil and zaps them with electricity like they were yesterday's leftovers), he begins hypnotizing young women, bringing them to his laboratory and cutting off the body parts that he finds "perfect". Greg simply disposes of the unused parts in the handy acid bath pit Dr. Brandon has in his lab. After killing enough women for parts, Dr. Brandon creates the "perfect" (his favorite word) woman. The only problem is, she's horny as hell and hits on every man she sees (even Greg, who Dr. Brandon kills by planting a meat cleaver in his hump!). This drives Dr. Brandon over the edge. He ends up in a looney bin (It looks more like a prison. Since when do looney bins have iron bars for doors?), reliving all the horrific moments of his life in his deranged mind, still dreaming about the perfect woman. His creation (who walks around in nothing but a bikini) gets picked-up on the side of the road by some horny guy in a beat-up van. I have the feeling that she's going to be more than he can handle. I really can't describe how awful this film is, not to mention how illogical the whole story plays out. One first has to wonder where Dr. Brandon found a hunchback assistant named Greg. Did he have him before his wife died or did he advertise for one after she kicked the bucket? If he had Greg before his wife died, what exactly did he do for the doctor? Trim his hedges? Cook his meals? One also has to wonder how Dr. Brandon picked up that marvelous skill of hypnotizing women without uttering a word. All he does is look at them and the next thing you know, they're on his operating table having their limbs removed without the benefit of anesthesia by scalpel or hand saw. Really, who wouldn't want to have that kind of power? THE BODY SHOP (also known as DOCTOR GORE) could be forgiven those transgressions if it weren't so damn boring. It's nothing but long stretches of tedium interrupted by some scenes of extremely fake-looking gore, which was also supplied by Patterson. I do have to admit that there were two instances in this film where I laughed out loud, even if it was for the wrong reasons. The first instance was where Dr. Brandon and Greg finished their first unsuccessful experimant and we hear a big booming knocking sound on the soundtrack. Dr. Brandon turns to Greg and says, "Get that, it might be the door." What they hell else could it be? Large woodpeckers? The second instance comes again when someone knocks on the door. It's the middle of the night and when Dr. Brandon opens the door, it cuts away to a hick sheriff obviously standing in the middle of a field during the day asking if everything's OK and making sure nothing illegal is going on. It's apparent that this clip came from an entirely different film (probably some regional moonshiner flick). It's hilarious in it's ineptitude. I wish I could say the same thing about the entire film but, unfortunately, it's just a boring mess. A lot of people think H.G. Lewis had something to do with this film since filmed an introduction for it on the old United Home Video VHS edition (under the DOCTOR GORE title), but the fact is Lewis never viewed the film before he filmed the introduction. Even by Lewis standards, this film is a dud. A lot of reference books claim that Patterson committed suicide when he couldn't obtain a theatrical release for this film, but they are wrong. He did obtain a regional theatrical release through distributor Variety Films, the same company responsible for distributing the ultra-sick rape porno flick FORCED ENTRY (1972). Patterson directed another film, THE ELECTRIC CHAIR (1975), as well as supplying makeup effects for other films (THREE ON A MEATHOOK - 1972; AXE - 1974) before dying of cancer in 1975. In THE BODY SHOP, he chain smokes like a fiend. Also starring Jan Benfield, Howard Stewart, Nita Patterson and Bill Simpson as the sheriff. This had multiple VHS releases from Paragon Video, United Home Video and Something Weird Video, who also offer it on DVD. Not Rated. { text from critcononline.com }

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