I got a beast in my belly...pass the Pepto-Bismol...
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 09/23/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I knew I was in trouble last night shortly after the credits began rolling for the film Parasite (1982) as the name Charles Band came up, not only as producer, but also as the director. If you're not familiar with the name, know that he's the man behind such cinematic atrocities like Laserblast (1978), The Day Time Ended (1980), Robot Holocaust (1986), and Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (1989)...that's not to say every one of his cinematic ventures stink on ice, as when you churn out as many crummy films as he does, you're bound to get lucky once in awhile...but that's not the case here. Starring in the film is Robert `Who?' Glaudini (Wavelength, The Alchemist) and a young Demi `It's pronounced dem-EE, you fool' Moore (St. Elmo's Fire, One Crazy Summer, G.I. Jane), in her first starring role (her first actual role was in a 1981 made for TV feature titled Choices). Also appearing is Luca Bercovici (Rockula, Scanner Cop), Al Fann (Curse II: The Bite), one time member of the jailbait girl band The Runaways turned actress Cherie Currie (Foxes, Twilight Zone: The Movie), Tom Villard (One Crazy Summer, Heartbreak Ridge), Miss Vivian Blaine (Guys and Dolls), James Davidson (The Mechanic), and B movie favorite Cheryl `Rainbeaux' Smith (Caged Heat, Revenge of the Cheerleaders, Vice Squad), in a minor, but certainly revealing role...
After a really awkward opening sequence, one that, I think, tried to set up how a scientist named Paul Dean (Glaudini) accidentally infected himself with a parasitic organism and escaped from a secure facility, we see him driving around in a van, stopping at an abandoned work camp, encountered some violent, mutated types. He manages to fight them off (in a slow motion fight sequence) and then leave, making me wonder what the hell was the point of the past ten minutes of footage...now is probably a good time to mention the story is supposed to take place after some sort of apocalyptic, nuclear event, and atomic fallout has ravaged the major cities. Anyway, Dean boogies on down the road and eventually arrives at a small town, rents a room in a flophouse run by an old woman named Maggie (Blaine), who informs Dean that, while she doesn't clean up the rooms, she would participate in helping to mess them up, if you know what I mean...file this under `things that make you go blecch'. All right, so here's the deal...Dean created these parasitic organisms for some mysterious corporation/gooberment agency (Why? Who knows? It's never explained), realized the dangers, destroyed the all the creatures but two, one of which is in a silver container he has with him, and the other actually inside his belly. Now he's trying desperately to figure out how to kill them before it's too late, as the more they eat, the bigger they get, and then the hungrier they become...some local punks, led by a dink named Ricus (Bercovici), cause trouble and steal the container housing the specimen, which they let loose upon opening (they thought valuable goodies be inside)...Paul finds refuge with the local goodie goodie named Patricia (Moore) who helps him for no good reason, but may regret her assistance as Paul is being pursued by a ruthless corporate agent named Wolf, who drives a sweet, black Lamborghini Countach (complete with flip up doors), carries a wicked laser wand, and is intent on recovery what was stolen, no matter the cost...
Was Parasite, touted as "The First Futuristic Monster Movie in 3-D", the beginning of the short lived 3-D fad of the early 80s, one that brought us such craptastic features like Jaws 3-D (1983), Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D (1982), Amityville 3-D (1983), and Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983)? Most likely...actually, the film did pretty well, costing well under half a million and raking in around seven million, probably mostly due to the novelty of the stereoscopic aspect (it sure wasn't the stellar story or amazing performances that drew audiences). Sadly, that element didn't carry over onto the DVD release, so what we're left with are a lot of scenes where things are flying towards the camera for no apparent reason. The story is fairly haphazard, and limps along hobbled by unnecessary plot points, like the bit about those populating the story are the remnants of post apocalyptic event. The only good reason I could discern for the inclusion of this was it being a way to explain why there are so few actual people in the film, which, in reality, was probably due to a limited budget. Ultimately it could have been left out (along with a number of other things), and the story would have been just as good (good, in this case meaning rotten). I'm unsure what prompted those involved to cast Robert Glaudini as the lead, as he was hardly hero material, feeling like secondary character at best here, one who would be killed off well before the movie ended. Overall the acting is pretty crummy, but this is more due to deficiencies within the script rather than poor performers, in my opinion. In one scene where Patricia rescues Dean, she's trying to get him to talk, but he's tight lipped, and she issues the following bit of nonsense..."You don't talk much. Maybe a little rattlesnake tea will loosen your tongue a little." Who in the world talks like that? It's not an overly awkward bit of dialogue, but just enough to create a niggling sense of annoyance of having to listen to it...and the film is littered with clunky stuff like this...and get this, the movie had three, count `em, three writers. I did like the make-up effects featured on the people eventually consumed by the parasite, as it was somewhat gruesome, but the parasites themselves, created by Stan Winston, looked odd, like slimy, wriggling, pulsating ten-pound sacks of mud with huge mouths and lots of razor sharp teeth. We actually don't see a whole lot of them, but when we do, the sequences are memorable and even gory. I think my favorite bit happened after the gang of youths stole the container Dean was keep the specimen in, thinking it stored something of value, and the one punk opens it up to see what's inside. Now, any normal person would have probably dumped the contents out on the floor, but this genius sticks his hand inside the darkness of the container and sez "There's something wet in here." As you can imagine, he gets what he deserves...all in all I think this could have been a better feature, had it not been hamstrung with such poor writing, which is a lot more noticeable sans the 3-D effects of the original release.
Anchor Bay Entertainment provides a decent wide screen (the aspect ratio is listed as 2.00:1 on the DVD case), enhanced for 16X9 TVs, picture on this DVD, but since the film was originally presented in 3-D, there's a noticeable grainy quality through while watching the movie in regular old 2-D, which bothered me a little at first, until I got used to it...as far as the audio, there's two options one being Dolby Surround 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. Special features include a theatrical trailer, touting the movie's amazing stereoscopic process, along with interesting liner notes by Fangoria writer Michael Gingold, and a 5X7 reproduction of original poster art, both contained on a DVD insert.
By the way, if you're interested in buying this DVD, I'd suggest doing what I did and buying the Anchor Bay DVD Fright Pack: Man's Worst Friends, which features six films including Parasite (1982), Lucio Fulci's The Black Cat (1989), Slugs: The Movie (1988), Bruno Mattei's Rats: Night of Terror (1984), Zoltan, Hound of Dracula (1978), and Dario Argento's The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971). It's available here on the Amazon website, at a really good price, and cheaper than buying the individual releases.
Flat and cropped presentation of widescreen 3-D movie
Jeffrey Leach | 10/29/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This was released to theatres in 1982 in full color polarized 3-D and widescreen (using the clear grey glasses) and on a low budget level was kind of fun. It is interesting today as it was Demi Moore's first film. I bet she leaves it off her resume these days. This DVD is presented flat and the widescreen image is cropped to fit the TV screen. I think they should have released it letterboxed at least. The 3-D is the main reason to watch the film anyway, so this DVD isn't really worth owning in my opinion. Better to search out the 3-D widescreen tapes that are out there (unofficially?)"
Cheesy, oh so cheesy!
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 01/08/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You would think Demi Moore's first film, the aptly titled "Parasite," would attract more attention from moviegoers. Actually, I accidentally saw a few minutes of Moore on one of those late night talk shows recently and the host "surprised" her with about thirty seconds of cheesy footage from this 1982 film. The actress took it all in good stride, giggling and squirming over her histrionic performance in the film. After having seen "Parasite" in its entirety, I would have to say Moore is one of the bright spots in the movie, a painful admission for me considering my dislike for most of this actress's work. What can you expect from a Charles Band film, though? Yep, the producer of such shlocky pap as "Laserblast," "Puppet Master," and "Blood Dolls" is the driving force behind "Parasite." As serious horror fans know, Band worked under the Empire Pictures label before starting Full Moon Productions several years later. Low budget cheese lovers have learned to adore many of Band's inept pictures; but then again, how can you ignore a guy who consistently used puppets, dolls, or midgets in his films. Band has some sort of fixation for miniatures, a mania put to good use here with the cheesy looking parasite thingies. Set in the future world of 1992, "Parasite" tells the story of the hapless Doctor Paul Dean. Dean worked for the merchants, or minions of ruthless corporations whose goal is to turn the population of the United States into slaves. The doctor, who wrote a book on parasites, created a vicious type of organism for the merchants. Why? Who knows, but in the course of his work Dean becomes infected with one of these grotesque organisms and runs away from the merchants in order to seek a cure before it kills him. He heads to the small town of Joshua, located out in the desert, where he runs into a gang of miscreants led by an escaped merchant slave, an elderly hotel owner with a penchant for pancake makeup and huge wigs, a cranky gas station owner, a restaurant proprietor with a huge scar on his face, and Demi Moore. Moore, who of course will become the heroine of the film, grows lemons on a little farm outside of town. No one in town is particularly friendly to outsiders, especially one in as shaky and sweaty of a condition as the shambling Dean. The doctor knows he must work quickly if he is to kill the parasite before the merchants locate him and bring him back to the city. But wouldn't you know it? Dean keeps another parasite in a metal container that the town thugs promptly steal and release with disastrous consequences. The parasite is a nasty looking creature, long and rubbery with huge teeth. The creature attaches itself to a person and proceeds to feed upon the victim until they turn into a shriveled up husk and die. Fortunately for Dean, the one residing in his abdomen is in hibernation due to periodic injections of some strange fluid. The doctor is the fortunate one since those unlucky enough to encounter the other parasite die in extraordinarily gruesome ways. Think John Hurt in "Alien," with the creature bursting out of stomachs and faces with the concomitant spray of saucy effects. The gore, more than any other element of "Parasite," helps move the film along. We never learn just what went on in the outside world to bring about such an unfortunate series of events. One of the characters mentions in passing that he left New York City when the atomic debris raining out of the sky began killing people. We also notice that gasoline costs roughly fifty dollars a gallon, silver rather than paper currency is the only acceptable mode of exchange, and merchants carry around some cheesy looking laser wand that can cut off people's hands with seeming ease. Merchants also drive really nice Ferrari type cars with nifty doors that open upwards rather than outwards. It figures the corporate types would get all the perks in the future. The merchant who comes for Dean is a rough sort, a guy clad in a three piece suit who thinks little of slapping poor Demi around in order to get information. We learn from Dean that this is the guy who acted as liaison between the corporations and the government in the parasite program. The summary of the film sounds impressive, but almost nothing seems to happen in this movie. I had little idea what was going on until roughly forty-five minutes into the picture.I kept thinking about Band's film "Laserblast" as I watched "Parasite." The two films share similar locales, both have a mysterious figure showing up and asking a lot of questions (the merchant here and a government agent in "Laserblast"), and both have some nice slow motion violence. In "Laserblast," we saw a lot of hilarious car explosions and fires from numerous camera angles. Regrettably, we don't see nearly enough of this type of action in "Parasite." Granted, we do get a funny slow motion fistfight scene in the beginning, along with a guy on fire towards the end, but no cars blow up here (probably due to a sluggish car market caused by the apocalypse). One thing we do get from this film is much better performances from the cast. All the actors do an acceptable, if occasionally goofy, job playing their parts. Moore stands out, not surprisingly, and even strikes a pose eerily reminiscent of her teary scene at the end of "Ghost" eight years later. "Parasite" is a worthwhile film for cheese lovers, although Moore fans might wish to avoid it and watch instead some of her (supposedly) worthier projects."