Monday, April 15, 2013

Eurotrash Weekend Viewing: ALIEN CONTAMINATION and CAT O' NINE TAILS

Busy weekend of painting the kitchen here at Casa Taylor, but I did manage to squeeze in a couple Eurotrash views.

While trawling through the Amazon Prime streaming listings on Friday night I discovered Luigi Cozzi's ALIEN CONTAMINATION, a favorite from the 80s rental store era. I still have fond memories of sitting on my buddy Lou's living room floor, stashing empty beer cans under the sofa as we heard his dad come in from a night on the town. Rather than head to bed he proceeded to drop into a chair and relentlessly bust our balls about how a bunch people sit in a room in Italy coming up with movies these two goofballs in New Jersey will rent.

Even though it was the cut US version distributed by Cannon, it's still a funky and fun explodey sci-fi/horror/action hybrid. No matter how many times I see it that exploding lab rat always gets me and when it veers into the mind-control cyclops territory, well, I'm all in. Would make fun double bill with LIFEFORCE.

After watching the first half hour of CAT O' NINE TAILS on Saturday night I was able to polish it off on Sunday evening, and as ER contributor John Grace opined at the ER Facebook page it is "creaky and dull". It starts off nicely enough with Karl Malden as the blind puzzle lover overhearing bits of blackmail talk and other audio clues, but then it turns into the James Franciscus show with him running around as a hot shot reporter trying to solve the rash of mysterious murders and what they have to do with the break-in at the genetic research facility.

Malden's character disappears for long stretches and the audio-centric REAR WINDOW riff concept sorta gets tossed out the, er, window. Long and drawn out, the flick has a few fun moments and Argento stages several strangulation murders as brutal affairs, but the whole thing left me feeling very "who cares?".

I've come to the conclusion that I enjoy the period of Argento flicks from SUSPIRIA through OPERA but everything before or after that era sorta leaves me cold. I still have to work my way through some 90s and early 00s titles like SLEEPLESS, TRAUMA and STENDAHL SYNDROME (not to mention, shudder, DRACULA) though I'm not even sure why I'm doing it at this point!

What did you watch this weekend?

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