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"Alien Contamination" and "Black Angels"

By Scott Phillips

NOVEMBER 10, 1997: 

Alien Contamination (1981)

Was there a better decade than the '80s for Italian movies? OK, I guess Dario Argento made Deep Redand Suspiria in the '70s, but I'm talking about the wave of Dawn of the Dead, Alien and Road Warrior ripoffs that gushed forth from our spaghetti-bending brothers like spumoni through a goose for that wonderful 10 years or so. While you'd never call director Luigi Cozzi one of the more accomplished Italian filmmakers, you certainly can't say that his attempts aren't entertaining--his Star Wars riff Starcrash (featuring super-hot British babe Caroline Munro and Joe Spinell as the bad guy) is one of my favorites, and I'd wrestle a greased ape or two for his cheeseball Hercules flicks starring Lou Ferrigno. Unfortunately, while Alien Contamination has moments, it never quite rises to the level of Luigi's other stuff (Jesus! How's that for a meaningless statement?). When a mysterious, apparently uninhabitated cargo ship cruises into New York harbor, a bunch of cops in biohazard gear are sent aboard to check it out. The entire cargo seems to be comprised of boxes of coffee from the Univerx Company, but the cops soon discover the boxes actually contain big, creepy, mustard-slathered eggs. One hapless fellow hefts a particularly large egg and it explodes in his face, showering several cops with corrosive goo. Before you can say "Scanners," the cops are bursting open like dead pigs (no pun intended) on a hot summer day, their entrails flailing throughout the hold. A survivor teams with an Ice-Queen government chick to solve the mystery of the eggs (sounds exciting, eh?), and just when their investigation hits a dead end, the Ice-Queen suddenly remembers "that Mars mission a few years ago"--you know, the one that left one of the astronauts babbling maniacally about "eggs?" Anyway, cop and Ice-Queen hook up with the discredited astronaut, and the three head south to the Univerx Company's headquarters--actually "the egg plantation"--run by the other Mars explorer, who's been in league with the eggs since visiting the red planet. Good grief. It's all pretty slow going, and by the time the "alien cyclops" rears its shlappity ol' head I was itchin' to fire up Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64. Worth renting, though, if you wanna hear the cop say "I feel like somebody's scratching my head--but from the inside." (Paragon)

Black Angels (1970)

I've had this tape laying around for months, but finally watched it thanks to the endless prodding of Dana at Il Vicino. That sounds kind of dirty, but you know what I mean. This oddball biker flick concerns the rivalry between the Choppers, a (real) all-black bike gang, and Satan's Serpents, a bunch of white bikers led by the tough-but-enlightened Chainer, who insists that "any beef we have with the Choppers is about territory, not color!" But despite what you might think, the titular "Black Angels" are actually the two white (and ridiculously bogus) cops who drive aimlessly through the movie. The flick opens with a supercool extended bike chase after one of the Choppers smashes Chainer's window while he's getting it on with his ol' lady. In flashbacks during the chase, we see the troublesome Chopper telling his squeeze how he's gonna take Chainer out "because Chainer is all white! His white is pale, pale and sick--and I hate all sickness!" After proclaiming himself "a new shade of black," he instigates the chase, which comes to a jarring end when the Chopper dumps his bike while trying to jump a ravine. The problem is, after this unbelievably great first 10 minutes, the movie becomes pretty much your standard, rambly-assed chopper-opera until the last 10 minutes, when it suddenly becomes a biker version of Do the Right Thing, as the Choppers and the Serpents clash in an orgy of badly-choreographed violence. While disappointing in that it doesn't live up to its potential, Black Angelsis essential viewing for that opening sequence and a plethora of gut-wrenchingly awful songs (if I ever hear the one about "eating cigarettes" again, I'm buying a gun). (Something Weird Video)


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