Paul Dean has created a deadly parasite that is now attached to his stomach. He and his female companion, Patricia Welles, must find away to destroy it while also trying to avoid Ricus and ... See full summary »
Paul Dean has created a deadly parasite that is now attached to his stomach. He and his female companion, Patricia Welles, must find away to destroy it while also trying to avoid Ricus and his rednecks and an evil government agent named Merchant. Written by
Josh Pasnak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Calling PARASITE a good movie is as arguable as whether or not Paris Hilton has had a breast enlargement. It's no secret that I've always had a soft spot for Charles Band's pre-Full Moon stuff. And even though I've liked PARASITE ever since I saw it in my mid-teens, I think I'm not being biased if I say that watching this movie is a worthwhile effort and it's worthy of an honourable mention as an entry in B-movie horror history set in a post-apocalyptic future. Well, "future", is somewhat of a debatable topic here, since the movie is set in the year 1992 (while having been produced in 1982).
PARASITE is noticeable for quite some aspects. One of them being that it was originally shot and released in theaters as a 3-D feature. While 3-Dimensional Photography was a popular phenomena in cinematic history during the 50's (CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, anyone?), its popularity soon fizzled out by the decade's end. Fast forward to the early 80's and we encounter director/producer Charles Band as one of the people (in collaboration with 3-D specialist Randall Larsen) who revived 3-D for a short-lived period and brought it back to theaters. PARASITE was his contribution to the sudden but short wave of 3-D features to emerge around that time (FRIDAY THE 13th PART 3, AMITYVILLE 3-D and JAWS 3-D being the most famous ones). One year later Charles would make another 3-D feature, the sci-fi/adventure flick METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN (another worthwhile watch, if you ask me). The use of the 3-D gimmick is integrated nicely with the rest of the movie (e.g. during a fist-fight you can see a snake lashing out at the camera; the titular parasite creature falling from the ceiling towards the camera positioned on the ground). The two most memorable scenes involving 3-D cinematography involve one killing (a guy gets impaled by an iron pipe; when the camera slowly closes in on the hollow pipe, blood starts dripping out of it) and the parasite-creature bursting out of the head of actress Viviane Blaine (well, not her real head, of course).
The story itself is rather simplistic and sometimes moves at a slow pace, but there are a lot of enjoyable scenes to make up for that. A scientist, played by tormented-looking Robert Glaudini, flees from an oppressive paramilitary government, for which he created the flesh-eating parasite. He takes with him two specimens. One he keeps in a canister; the other creature is growing inside his stomach. We don't get to see much of the futuristic paramilitary government, though. The only information we learn about it, is coming from the various characters our scientist meets when he's stranded in an isolated desert town (amongst them being a group of post-apocalyptic punks and a scarred-by-radiation black bartender). But... there is one black-suited (and laser-armed) villainous Government Agent (called "Wolf The Merchant" and sadistically played by James Davidson) on the hunt for him (it all leads to an enjoyable but short showdown near the end, of course). Children of the 80's will sure love the Lamborghini Countach Car he drives (complete with vertically opening doors). The acting even is fair enough for this type of movie, and another reason to watch this flick is that it stars no-one less than Demi Moore in her second motion picture role ever (although, indeed, one can clearly tell that Miss Moore was only just getting started with her acting career). She plays an all-American post-apocalyptic cutie (that even makes and sells lemonade), eventually teaming op with Robert Glaudini. A small role is also granted to Cherie Currie (Former lead singer of the Runaways).
Another aspect of PARASITE worthwhile mentioning is the work of cinematographer Mac Ahlberg. For one thing, while around the same time (early 80's) his Italian colleagues were still obsessed with getting a spontaneous erection by touching the zoom-button on their camera's, Ahlberg prefers to use slow tracking shots every now and then while equipping his camera with wide-angled lenses. His images bring a dusty and desolate feeling to PARASITE. And then there's the contribution of Stan Winston, who designed the creature and did the make-up effects. While far from being his best work (hey, the man was just getting started too), most of the effects are quite grotesque, slimy and deliciously cheesy. I wouldn't want it any other way in a movie from the early 80's.
I can understand that, to some, PARASITE might be considered a post-apocalyptic snooze-fest (with bad acting, bad special effects and whatever else they might find to nag about). But my love for it and the joy I got out of (re-)watching this slightly offbeat and rather obscure 80's gem, encourages me to be generous in my final rating. I can say one other thing too even: Once you've seen one of Charles Band's older movies and liked it, there's a big chance you'll like all his other stuff up until the early 90's too (whether he produced or directed it doesn't even matter). Reportedly, there were plans to produce an inevitable sequel back in the early 80's, simply titled PARASITE II. I think it's safe to say that, sadly, we can abandon all hope of that ever happening, in this year of writing, 2007.
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