Movie Reviews 321 – Parasite (1982)

While lesser known that B Movie maven Roger Corman, Charles Band has made as much of an impact with nearly 300 producer and more than 50 directing credits since the 70’s and he’s still going strong today. His many movie series include Puppet Master (a dozen films and another on the way), Trancers, Gingerbread Man, Evil Bong (yes Evil Bong is a series) and Demonic Toys. And just like Corman his films range between the remarkably original and fun to the mind numbing ‘What the hell was that I just watched?’. Parasite is one of those films that falls somewhere in between those extremes with glaring flaws but teetering on approval for the little things that do work.

The story takes place sometime in the future but aside from the use a laser weapons and the absurd acrylic pyramids placed above the 60’s era gas pumps you wouldn’t know it wasn’t contemporary. I think the use of a black Ferrari by the antagonist  was also supposed to deliver that futuristic feel, but … come on … it’s a Ferrari.

Dr. Paul Dean (Robert Glaudini) is on the run from laser armed uniformed men as he makes a dash across a desert. When he manages to elude his initial pursuers who are after some thermos sized container he takes up a room in a remote, nearly vacant town. We then learn that he escaped from some conglomerate lab where he had developed a parasitic lifeform for which he is now trying to find a cure. His quest is both altruistic in saving humanity but at the same time personal as he himself has parasite now growing under his abdominal skin. And time is running out fast.

The townfolk include a lone barkeeper, a rowdy group of young adults, an elderly glamour obsessed inn keeper and a young woman trying to maintain some level civilization (Demi Moore in only her second feature). Dean has to contend with the youths who are determined to find out what is in the cannister as well the Ferrari driving Wolf, a the top tier hunter from the conglomerate intent on stopping Dean from finding a cure. Although the exact reasoning behind the logic is never made clear the parasites are supposedly keeping mankind in check and under the control of the conglomerate. But when the youths finally get their hands on the cannister and unleash its contents, Dean’s plan unravels and everyone in town are in immediate danger.

The awful pretense of the futuristic setting aside as that could simply be lumped with budgetary woes, the film just does not make sense in so many ways. Why would any conglomerate care about perpetuating a parasite on a world already on the edge of dying? Are we to assume that this desolate backdrop is not the norm everywhere else? If that was the case why do the handful of residents stay there? There is talk and even evidence of dealing with nuclear fallout but if anything that even diminishes the argument that the conglomerate need those parasites.

But if you can put up with all the plot holes story does have a few interesting characters and those parasites, well the one unleashed from the canister anyhow, goes a long way to deliver the so fun scares. The slithering mass goes through several growth stages and it’s ever bigger chompers manages to get hold of people in some neat effects scenes.

One thing worth mentioning is that was originally filmed as a 3D movie so you can expect some weird camera angles and seemingly nonsensical zooming into objects during viewing in plain old 2D. And if you’re in the Charles Band bandwagon, you’ll feel right at home.

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