Arrow then goes the extra distance with the supplements, creating a selection that I must admit I found far more interesting than the film (and in an incredible sort of way, made me actually appreciate the film a little more).
First is a rather infectious and fun “fan” audio commentary by Fangoria’s editor Chris Alexander. After going over his career and what he intends to do with the track (he states it’s not a scholarly track, and at best he’ll just repeat anecdotes he picked up from the filmmakers) he gets into details about the film. Despite the fact he doesn’t intend this to be a scholarly track or a track about the production it still has plenty of moments that fit into those categories. Even if he doesn’t know every detail about the making of the film he does give a great overview of films of this type, gory Italian films that “ripped off” Hollywood hits, and the large amount of them that came out during the 70s and 80s, and does offer his admiration for Cozzi’s brisk editing and style throughout. He also does talk about the various actors (specifically Ian McCulloch) that appear and talks about Cozzi a bit more. Occasionally he can’t help himself and makes fun of some of the plot holes and stupid choices made by characters throughout the film (he even suggests that a remake that fleshes out certain aspects of the film more should be made), but there’s nothing mean about it and it all obviously just aids in his love for the film. It’s a fun track and one worth listening to.
Arrow next digs up an archival feature from 1980 or so, a 23-minute documentary (I guess) featuring Luigi Cozzi talking about the making of Contamination. After an odd beginning Cozzi then talks about science-fiction in Italy and then the film. Mixed in here we get to see his rather large collection of sci-fi paraphernalia and then behind-the-scenes footage which I found oddly fascinating.
New to this edition (and put together by Arrow) is 41-minutes from a Q&A Session with Cozzi and actor Ian McCulloch that took palce after a screening of the film. It’s a very loose (maybe a little too loose at times, like when they talk about the film being financed by a drug cartel) and informative discussion, with Cozzi talking about the film’s production and then his reaction to it being added to the list of “Video Nasties,” something he was surprised by. McCulloch talks about his career to an extent and then his work on this film, while also sharing some funny anecdotes, not all of which are related to the film like a surreal one involving him being attacked in his hotel room. A funny and informative session that I’m glad was included here.
The Sound of the Cyclops is another insightful inclusion, an interview with Goblin band member Maurizio Guarini. In the 11-minute interview he talks about the group and the work they did on various Italian horror films, specifically Dario Argento’s, while also talking about how they came to do this film. He also gives an overview about that particular industry and shares stories about his band mates. Edited in here and there is Guarini showing the keyboard he used for this score.
Next is the rather lengthy Luigi Cozzi Versus Lewis Coates, which presents Cozzi talking about his career, from how he got to be the “foreign correspondent” for an American monster magazine at the age of 16 to his various directorial efforts. It’s very, very long at 43-minutes, and the fact it’s really just Cozzi sitting there talking to the screen for most of that length doesn’t make it feel shorter, but Cozzi certainly has a passion for what he does and sci-fi/fantasy as a whole, which keeps the feature from lagging. He also gives some decent insights into the film industry at the time while also talking about his body of work.
Arrow then provides a new feature called Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery, a 16-minute discussion featuring writers Chris Poggiali and Maitland McDonagh. The two talk about the fascinating period of Italian cinema during the 70s and early 80s, where filmmakers had a really bad of habit of ripping off Hollywood blockbusters, and even rip-off the rip-offs (as evidenced in the various Django films). They cover some of the more infamous rip-offs (a film called Great White which ripped off Jaws right down to the advertising) and how these types of films were used by American distributors like Cannon Films. They also talk about their use of former American stars, or recognizable American actors, to hopefully boost box office, with Fred Williamson being a particularly popular choice for many of these types of films. Never condescending to the films it’s a fantastic overview of this period of filmmaking in Italy, and a great primer for those only somewhat familiar with them (like myself).
The release then ends with the film’s theatrical trailer and a booklet with a short essay by Chris Alexander, giving some general details about the film and its production. The booklet then features some photos. Arrow also gives the release reversible packaging with the featured side displaying the new artwork created for the release and the reverse featuring artwork based on the original poster. The first printings (and I assume it will only be limited to first printings) also comes with a sleeve presenting the new artwork.
The supplements in the end are all rather fun to go through, and to an extent they made me appreciate the film a little more than I did initially. A solid set of supplements. 9/10