Wednesday, January 11, 2012

They Hunt...They Feed...They Kill...You're Next!

Contamination .7(1993)
Director: Joe D' Amato
Cast: Mary Sellers, Jason Saucier, Bubba Reeves

This truly awful curiosity was discovered through Netflix, as my friends and I searched for something better to decrease our dwindling brain cells. Lo and behold, we find this early 90s oddity about killer trees spawned by radiation, terrorizing a mountain community. At least that's what Netflix's description was, but the film actually contained no killer trees, rather it contained boring old vines that slithered and choked most of the supporting cast to death, none too concincingly.

I didn't recognize the film, which is odd for me, until I did a little research and discovered that Contamination .7 was one of only four other titles this one was under! Unbielevably, this was intended as a follow-up to the legendary bad film non-classic, Troll 2(1990), but somehow became a film about killer vines instead. For video it went under the titles, The Crawlers and Creepers, the former contained a video cover I remembered well from my childhood, depicting a busty young woman being entangled by the killer vines in a dark, spooky forest, while military types lurked in the background. Perhaps, it was something instinctive, but I somehow resisted the temptation to rent that all these years ago, only to endure the agony of viewing this disaster many years later.

The film is shoddy looking, like the bad VHS dupe that it was clearly derived from and all shot under the non-direction of frequent hack and softcore enthusiast, Joe D' Amato, who also helmed the ridiculous, Erotic Nights of the Living Dead(1980).
This is one of those movies where a "character" is followed about for ten minutes, while another plot is intersped with no connectivity, only to have said character die for the sake of sheer exploitation. Actually, scratch that, since there's no real exploitation in the entire thing! If any picture could use a dose of some healthy gore and T&A, than it is this film. Nothing much happens in it's excruciatingly long 90 minutes of running time, except bad acting and endless conversation that you'd have to hear to disbelief. The film was so mild that at one point, I could have swore we have stumbled across a kiddie film, but no! There's spurts of gore here and there, including a half eaten face of a pretty young bimbo and an eye gouging that was squirm inducing. However, the way these are introduced into the picture feels silly and trite and they meld little with the rest of the picture.

The plot(?) is one of those tired 50s retreads, where something has leaked(in this case the government dumping toxic waste into the forests) and that's why there's killer vines. It all dosen't make much sense and is even far less compelling on screen. The vines are(not surprisingly) pretty destructible, since any good axe or chainsaw can make good work of them, however these characters, whether it be for budgetary reasons or not, decide to not engage the killer vines. A number of people arrive with firearms throughout the movie, but nobody shoots any of the vines, even the old guy who is somehow armed with a Springfield 45-70 conversion from the Civil War era(where does he get ammo for that!?) and so every death scene is alike, with the dummies falling prey(literally, as they always falld own) and are choked to death.
Through all this, I think the only mild amusement I derived from this production was the hilarious wooden acting from the Sheriff. Now, everyone in this is pretty terrible, even by b-movie standards, but this guy's stilted line readings take the cake. Now from what I gather, everyone who worked on this Canadian/Italian(!) production spoke english, but for whatever reason, the Sheriff appears to be dubbed with a voice reminiscent of a monotone Robby the Robot!

Boy, is this a dumb movie. I'm not even entirely sure why I reviewed it. Maybe to serve as a warning to all those who are drawn in by the "great" plot and the alluring title. This film is the absolute pits. The direction, the acting and the script are all pretty rock bottom. Occasionly, the effects are decent for such a low budget, but they can't manage to overcome the tedium and stupidity to get there. Even for bad movie fans, this is a pretty rancid production. Don't let the Troll 2 connection fool you, either. This one is neither as funny, nor as inventively stupid, as that legendary disasterpiece. Whatever you do, don't get tangled in these vines.

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