Tuesday, February 3

Contagion (1987)

Directed by Karl Zwicky
90 Minutes / Sony Home Video / Unmatted Full Frame

A man (Mark) traveling home at night tries to help a woman being assaulted on a desolate, tree-lined road. He encounters a band of nomads, but soon after escapes and stumbles upon a mansion in the middle of the woods. Two beautiful women and English Hugh Hefner-like investor inhabit the manor. The group push Mark to become one of them and he gradually becomes obsessed with the allures they present. As Mark's wife desperately attempts to figure out what's happening, he begins to hear disembodied voices and resorts to murder to erase all in his past.

This is a hard film to peg down hailing from Australia with a title that makes no sense. The allusions to Kubrick's The Shining are obvious, even going as far to feature an opening aerial shot of a car traveling a forested road and recreating its own take on the famous axed door scene. It also mixes in elements of a sexual thriller and a bit of the slashfest conventions of the day. There are a few holes in the plot, but the film really tries to construct something interesting from the mish-mash and generally succeeds. Zwicky employs many tricks in his direction, from slo-mo, awkward angles, and Raimi-esqe chase sequences. Worth tracking down cheap, but of course it's no replacement for the classic it looks up to.

Film: 6/10
VHS Video: 4.5/10 (blurry)
VHS Sound: 6/10 (decent, nothing more)

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