Home Page  
 
 

Contamination
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English PCM Mono
  • Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • Italian PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio Commentary by Chris Alexander
  • 2014 Q&A with Cozzi and star Ian McCulloch, recorded at Abertoir Film Festival
  • Luigi Cozzi on the Creation of Contamination - an archive documentary hosted by the director and including behind-the-scenes footage
  • Interview with Luigi Cozzi
  • Interview with Goblin member Maurizio Guarini
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

Contamination

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Luigi Cozzi
1980 | 95 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: July 7, 2015
Review Date: July 7, 2015

Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca

Share:

SYNOPSIS

Branded as a "video nasty" in the UK, director Luigi Cozzi's Contamination takes the premise of Ridley Scott's classic Alien and peppers it with exploding guts galore and a dangerously infectious soundtrack from celebrated Italian prog-rockers Goblin (Deep Red, Suspiria). A cargo ship drifts up the Hudson River. Its crew: all dead, their bodies horribly mutilated, turned inside out by an unknown force. Its freight: boxes upon boxes of glowing, pulsating green eggs. It soon becomes clear that these eggs are not of this planet, and someone intends to cultivate them here on Earth. But who? And to what end? Starring Italian horror veteran Ian McCulloch (Zombie Flesh Eaters), Contamination is an ultra-violent sci-fi epic that really gets under the skin. In space, no one can hear you scream - but on Earth, the terror rings loud and clear!


PICTURE

Arrow Video’s US division unleashes Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination on Blu-ray in the aspect ratio of about 1.85:1 on a dual-layer disc. The new 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation comes from a 2K scan of the original negative.

Again Arrow goes all out and the film looks shockingly good. There is a general softness to the image that looks inherent to the source, but the image otherwise delivers sharp details, rendering film grain nicely and making sure it looks like a film presentation. Black levels look fairly inky so details don’t get eaten up in the shadows, which is good since a lot of the film takes place in dark locations. Colours are also pretty impressive, particularly the overly-red blood that blasts about during the film’s torso exploding moments.

The restoration work is impressive as well. After a rough looking opening shot with a very grainy film stock the rest of the film is quite clean, with a few minor marks remaining. The digital transfer itself is also excellent, with no obvious artifacts of any sort. It looks good, and I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if this is the best the film has ever looked.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

AUDIO

Arrow includes two lossless linear PCM 1.0 mono tracks: an English track and an Italian track, with slightly different subtitles for each (a hearing impaired track for the English one and then what I assume are subtitles that more closely resemble what is being said in the Italian track). Considering the fact both were dubbed during post-production quality wise they don’t differ by much. I did find that the Italian track was a bit more edgy and fidelity was weaker, but I couldn’t really fault or praise either one. If I picked one it would probably be the English one since the dub is less obvious (I assume most of the actors spoke English) while the Italian one is way obvious, giving more of a detached feel, but then that may be part of the charm for some.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

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

CLOSING

I admittedly wasn’t too fond of Contamination in spite of some of its charms (I always get a kick out of watching a film that was at least made with passion on the filmmaker’s part, and this one was) but that doesn’t stop me from actually loving what Arrow has done here. It is an impressively put together edition, from its rather amazing transfer to its very fun and surprisingly thorough supplements that actually got me to appreciate the film (and others like it) a little more. A lot of love went into this by people that obviously care and that ends up being quite infectious when going through everything. I really like this release, a lot, and I’m sure that means fans of the film will absolutely love it.




Share: 



Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca  




Join our Facebook Group (requires Facebook account)

This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection