It's hard to really say which film started this tradition (it's certainly not localized just to Italy), but its coverage started on this site with a review for Zombi 2, the unlicensed sequel to Romero's Dawn of the Dead. Zombi 2 spawned semi-official sequels (to itself) like Zombi 3 and Zombie 4 (the E in Zombie showed up with the fourth one for some reason). However, Zombie 5 was a film that was filmed and released before either Zombi 3 or Zombie 4, but was renamed to cash in on their successes (and it was hardly the only film to go by the name of Zombie 5 either). Zombie 6, likewise was an earlier film (six years older than Zombie 5) that was renamed for those same purposes.
One of the more heinous examples of this Giallo pilfering was Alien 2: Sulla Terra, a film so bad, I actually wished it was real at one point, just so I could die. Obviously, Alien 2 was an unauthorized, unofficial, unlicensed, uninteresting and unacceptable sequel to 1979's Alien, in which a bunch of interstellar alien eggs filled with star beasts hitchhike down to Earth to wreak havoc. That was released in April of 1980. In August of 1980, to make sure Cozzi could cash in, this film was released: Contamination - Alien arriva sulla terra. Sound similar? Well, it is. In this flick a bunch of interstellar alien eggs filled with star beasts hitchhike down to Earth to wreak havoc.
This film does have two notable items to differentiate it from its thieving contemporary. The first is that it stars Ian McCulloch of Zombi 2, the second is that this film, unlike its all-but-forgotten predecessor, has been unintentionally immortalized as a "Video Nasty" by the UK office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Did the ban work? Well, I can't imagine I'd have sought this sick flick out if not for this nefarious distinction.
In truth, the film is just about as bad as Alien 2 and is every bit of the travesty that Alien fans might fear it is. A derelict boat finds its way into New York Harbor (like in Zombi 2), is boarded by the police, who find that the crew is dead, replaced by something more horrific and deadly (like in Zombi 2). US Government agent Colonel Stella Holmes (Louise Marleau) and NYPD cop Lieutenant Tony Aris (Marino MasÚ) discover that alien eggs (yes, just like in Alien and Alien 2) are the culprit, and they're the harbinger to an alien invasion where mankind will be the main course.
So, the government must send its best and brightest (and in their absence Holmes and Aris) down to some Caribbean island to try to stop the evil. But they can't go down to this island to fight the monsters without Ian McCulloch, can they? No. They couldn't in Zombi 2, so how can they here? McCulloch plays Commander Ian Hubbard, a seemingly psychotic ex-astronaut who is convinced that there are alien eggs on Mars just waiting to take over. So... they waited half the movie to contact him, why?
We learn, thanks to Hubbard's ramblings (don't you love that this dude's name is "Hubbard"?) that a Martian cave is filled with these eggs, and that he and his Astronaut Amigo Hamilton (Siegfried Rauch) have returned, never to be the same again. Uh... one of them... uh... might have something inside him. Yep. Saw it.
I'd say "the rest is predictable", but everything in this movie is predictable. The only real vague surprises come in which film Cozzi (who actually credited himself as "writer" also) will rip off next. I wonder what role co-writer Erich Tomek actually played in this pilfering. At least Tomek kept his own name. Cozzi used the pseudonym Lewis Coates for this film... which, incidentally, is the same name he used when he wrote and directed both Ferrigno Hercules movies.
So, is Alien Contamination all bad? Yes, yes, oh yes! There's not even any nudity! But it is kind of interesting to note the similarities this film shares with later (vastly better) films. The government agents battling conspiring syndicate collaborating with alien invaders does sound a little like The X-Files. Further, Alien Contamination does give us a glimpse (well, more than a glimpse) of the star beast laying the eggs. We didn't learn this canonically until 1986's Aliens. Sadly, this "cyclops" looks a lot less like the Alien Queen than it does the hideous flying finger monster from It Conquered the World, who "learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature... and because of it, the greatest in the universe. He learned too late for himself that men have to find their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can't be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And when men seek such perfection... they find only death... fire... loss... disillusionment... the end of everything that's gone forward. Men have always sought an end to the toil and misery, but it can't be given, it has to be achieved. There is hope, but it has to come from inside, from Man himself."
Ah, that felt good. Amazing how bad a movie has to be that it can only be improved by me quoting a 1950's B-Movie.
Kids, I love Italian Flicks, but Alien Contamination isn't a B-Movie. It's not even a C-Movie. It's... man... what letter comes after Z? Alien Contamination gets a DOG! It's not as bad as Alien 2 (which is a backhanded compliment at best), but it's also hardly a quality piece of cinema, even by Euro-rip off status. Didn't I swear off of Giallo a while back? Crap. Of all things to get addicted to. I surrender. Video Nasties. Bah.
They came from Beyond the stars.
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