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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Contamination aka 'Contamination: Alien on Earth' [Blu-ray]

 

(Luigi Cozzi as 'Lewis Coates', 1980)

 

Re-Released on Blu-ray in July 2017:

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Alex Cinematografica

Video: Arrow Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:20.715

Disc Size: 48,013,311,893 bytes

Feature Size: 30,038,671,488 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 6-7th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Italian 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English, none (for both Italian and HoH English for the English audio track)

 

Extras:

Brand new audio commentary by filmmaker, Fangoria editor and Contamination super-fan Chris Alexander
Notes on Fantasy Cinema: An archive documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage and director Luigi Cozzi on the birth of Contamination (22:55)
2014 Q&A with Cozzi and star Ian McCulloch (41:05)
Sound of the Cyclops: Maurizio Guarini on the music of Contamination the Goblin keyboardist discusses Contamination s dark, progressive rock score and a lifetime of making music for Italian terror (11:31)
Luigi Cozzi vs. Lewis Coates a brand interview with the director in which he discusses his filmmaking career from past to present (42:55)

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form of Flattery: a Critical Analysis of the Italian Cash-in a brand new featurette looking at the Italian genre movies which sought to cash-in on popular Hollywood blockbusters (17:26)
Theatrical Trailer (3:14)

Graphic Novel (0:54)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
Fully-illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris Alexander

DVD

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: 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!

 

 

The Film:

Following the surprising success of his cheapjack Star Wars knockoff, Star Crash, Italian director Luigi Cozzi was given the helm of this cheapjack Alien knockoff. An alien cyclops causes a man to cover the Earth with nasty eggs (sometimes made of silicone, sometimes close-ups of common olives). The eggs release gelatinous gunk which makes people explode, and it's all part of the alien's plan to take over the world. Cozzi, a less-talented protégé of Dario Argento, at least gets a good soundtrack by using his mentor's house band, Goblin, but delivers a bad film nonetheless. The director admits that the ludicrous monster was made of badly painted papier-mache, requiring 96 separate cuts to look convincing in its big scene. It didn't work.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

In Ridley Scott's extraordinary Alien, a group of intergalactic space jockeys stumbled across thousands of two-foot-high eggs inside a derelict alien spacecraft marooned on a distant planet, and when one of their overeager crew got too close to one, a crab-like, acid-for-blood parasite sprung out of it, fastened upon his face, immobilized and put him into a coma, and impregnated him with a baby alien, which thereafter burst out of his chest and grew into a seven-foot-tall, indestructible monstrosity that proceeded to knock off most of the remaining crew one by one. In Luigi Cozzi's Contamination, an unmanned, straying cargo ship is intercepted as it approaches a New York harbor, it's boarded by the police and health-department officials, who stumble across some green, football-shaped, pulsating objects that resemble eggs; when these objects are touched, they explode and spew an extremely toxic liquid onto the humans, who subsequently explode from the inside just a few seconds later. In an interview, Cozzi freely acknowledged his film as an "illegitimate son of Alien", even going so far as to incorporate a most disagreeable space monster that has to be sparred with in the final fifteen minutes. Cozzi, an avid lover of Alien and sci-fi/horror in general, clearly set out to make a knockoff of Scott's classic, unrivaled 1979 masterpiece, and yet it doesn't go down nearly as bad as it should, because, flaws and all, it succeeds at fascinating us with details of the unknown and serving up just enough in the way of inventive gross-out effects and outlandish story facets to sate those who've come away from several of these knockoffs (like Norman J. Warren's Inseminoid and William Malone's Creature, the two worst of this particular sub-genre) far from enamored of their mediocre-to-asinine end results.

Excerpt from eFilmCritic located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

NOTE: Contamination is the same package in both US and UK - as Michael Brooke informed us on Facebook about Day of Anger: 'As the producer of Arrow's release, I can confirm first hand that the UK and US discs are absolutely identical: we only paid for one master, so there's no doubt about this at all! Which means that no matter which package you buy, the discs will play in any Region A or B setup (or Region 1 or 2 for DVD - and in the latter case the video standard is NTSC, to maximise compatibility). The booklets are also identical, but there are minor cosmetic differences on the disc labels and sleeve to do with differing copyright info and barcodes, and the US release doesn't have BBFC logos.'

 

Contamination gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow Films.  It's solidly in dual-layered territory with a max'ed out bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The 1080P supports solid contrast exhibiting healthy, rich black levels and some minor depth in the 1.85:1 frame.  The high resolution does give transparency to some of the more modest effects. This Blu-ray produces a consistent and clean presentation - looking about as good as it can for digital consumption.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Arrow transfer both English and Italian tracks in linear PCM 1.0 channel mono at 1152 kbps. The score, including Connexion, is by Goblin (Agostino + Antonio Marangolo and Fabio Pignatelli) and, while heavy-handed at times, it suits the production. The lossless can carry the audio's intense bass which support the effects with a very aggressive soundstage. There are optional English subtitles (SDH for the English track and standard English for the Italian track) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.

 

Extras :

I enjoyed the brand new audio commentary by filmmaker, Fangoria editor and Contamination super-fan Chris Alexander - almost as much as the film and it was an pleasurable way to revisit some of the more intriguing scenes. We get Notes on Fantasy Cinema: a 23-minute archive documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage and director Luigi Cozzi talking about the birth of Contamination. There is a 41-minute 2014 Q&A with Cozzi and star Ian McCulloch sponsored by Arrow Films and Sound of the Cyclops is 11-minutes of Maurizio Guarini, Goblin keyboardist, on the music of Contamination. He discusses Contamination's dark, progressive rock score and a lifetime of making music for the 'Italian terror' genre. Luigi Cozzi vs. Lewis Coates is a brand 43-minute interview with the director in which he frankly discusses his filmmaking career from past to present. Imitation Is The Sincerest Form of Flattery is an 18-minute critical analysis featurette on the Italian 'Cash-in' genre which sought to ride the popularity of similar Hollywood blockbusters. There is a theatrical trailer and some screens from the graphic novel of Contamination plus the package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin and contains a fully-illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Chris Alexander. This is dual-format and includes a DVD.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I was anticipating a worse film than the one I saw. Contamination had plenty of weakness but also some surprising strengths. It's goofy, but also has depth - this is no throw-away. The Arrow Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with plenty of appreciated supplements including the commentary. For fans of Cozzi and this genre - you really couldn't ask for more. The film has that appealing intangible that would promote repeat viewings. Yes, recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 22nd, 2015

 

Re-Released on Blu-ray in July 2017:

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

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Gary W. Tooze

 

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