In the 80s, Contamination was on the UK’s video nasty list; you couldn’t legally watch it. In 2012, that seems utterly ridiculous - especially since, when it was reclassified a few years ago, it earned itself a 15 certificate. There’s nothing particularly offensive or subversive about this film - it’s just that it features multiple slow motion shots of people exploding.
Basically, Contamination is Luigi Cozzi’s take on Alien. At the beginning of the movie, a ghost ship rocks up in New York, full of coffee crates that turn out to contain large bulbous green things. One policeman describes them as “like avocados, or some kind of mango,” but these things definitely aren’t edible - they’re alien eggs, filled with acid. When they heat up, they explode, and everything that the green goo touches is destroyed.
Through a series of incredible “intuitive” leaps, Col. Stella Holmes deduces that the eggs are part of a terrorist plot to blow up New York. With the help of a random NYPD cop and an alcoholic astronaut who claims to have encountered the eggs before on a recent trip to the polar ice caps of Mars (!), she traces the coffee company back to Colombia in an effort to defeat the terrorists.
Contamination is a ridiculous film on many levels, but the dialogue is a thing of beauty. I don’t even know which bit to quote, it’s all so fantastic. So, when Holmes goes to visit the sadsack astronaut to ask for his help, he objects to her questioning with “What else do you want to know about me? How many times a week I screw?” and she answers, “If you’re always in that state, it’s obvious you couldn’t get it up even if you used a crane.” The eggs are described, in proper Garth Marenghi style, as “Eggs. Eggs! Longish eggs. Eggs like footballs.” And on arriving in South America, when Holmes says she wants to shower and dress more appropriately for the climate, the cop screeches “Jesus Christ! The world is about to be wiped out and all this broad’s worried about is getting changed!”
Although there’s an awful lot of sexism expressed by characters in the movie, it’s notable that both the colonel in charge of the mission and the top scientist are women. Gender politics are the least of Cozzi’s concerns, though: this movie is all about the exploding alien eggs and the exploding human guts. It’s very splattery, very silly, and lots and lots of fun.