Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 27 - Contagion (1987)

The cover of my VHS copy of Contagion

Contagion (1987)

Director: Karl Zwicky
Format: VHS (CBS/Fox)

What starts off as a killer-in-the-Australian-outback flick in the style of Wolf Creek, with elements of Deliverance, soon turns into The Shining in the Australian outback, in this rare Ozploitation offering.

John Doyle (who according to IMDB went on to semi-fame playing a recurring character, Roy Slaven, on various Australian TV shows) is real estate agent Mark, who is driving along a deserted road one night when he sees a girl being attacked. He tries to intervene but falls foul of a group of feral bush people (which is where the Deliverance part comes in - even down to the butt-rape).

Escaping, Mark ends up at a beautiful mansion owned by eccentric multi-millionaire Roderick Bael (Veteran actor Ray Barrett, THE REPTILE, also the voice of John Tracey on the 1960s THUNDERBIRDS TV series). It is also home to a pair of alluring platinum blonde babes, both of which Mark ends up in bed with.

Soon Mark is promised wealth and all the naughty times he can wish for, but there's a price. To make his every wish come true, he has to start murdering the people in his old life.

His girlfriend (Nicola Bartlett) finds the "mansion" and tries to save her man, but is he victim to an evil trio of people, or something more supernatural? Or is Mark just plain going crazy?

The plot is different enough to be interesting from start to finish, kind of like an extended Twilight Zone episode, only set in the Australian outback. That setting makes for a great sense of remoteness, adding to the sense of dread, while director Karl Zwicky (best known for directing and producing Aussie soap operas) employs some excellent camerawork that adds to the suspense and intensity.

The acting is also excellent, particularly Doyle and Barrett. The women at the "mansion" are quite hot and get their kit off regularly. There are a couple of nice kills (including the use of a fire extinguisher) and enough blood and gore to keep most horror fans happy.

Previews on my VHS tape: War of the Roses, Nightwish, Nightbreed, The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover

No comments: