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Parasite

***
1982

‘…a horror film with a few novel ideas, some nasty gore, and a few dashes of humour…’

Just to clear up any confusion; this is not the 2020 Best Picture winner at the Oscars, but a dubious multi-toothed alien thriller made in 3D and featuring Demi Moore. Few will make the mistake of renting one instead of the other; each has their own merits, but Charles Band’s 1982 film probably has the edge for ironists due to the novelty factor. Filmed in 3D, Parasite is an Alien knock-off on an obviously low budget, but there’s a few grace notes that make this palatable to genre fans, not least Moore’s breakout performance as a lemon farmer.

Moore rates this as her worst film, which, if you’ve seen Blame It On Rio, Nothing But Trouble or Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, is quite a boast, but she’s probably right, even if Parasite isn’t that bad. It’s the story of a scientist named Paul Dean (playwright Robert Glaudini paying his rent) who is hired to create an Alien –style killing machine, but accidentally gets infected with the parasite in question. Dean escapes from the government agency that employs him, also known as the Merchants, but takes with him a more developed Parasite in a metal canister. That creature is inadvertently freed when Dean gets assaulted by a random street-gang who look like they’ve walked out of a Whitesnake video, and Dean battles to recapture it before the Merchants’ dogged bounty hunter catches up with him. 

Although set in the future (if you can imagine, 1992!), Parasite largely takes place in a desert garage, boarding house and a few exteriors; it looks very cheap, but then again, what should the future look like if people are scattered to desert communities? In a world that makes Nomadland look like Vegas, it makes things stranger that Vivian Blaine, so memorable as the spirited Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, turns up here as Miss Daley, an aging actress who the parasite uses as a host before bursting out of her noggin like a tomato in the microwave. In a film devoted to creating Alien-style gross-out moments in 3D, Blaine’s exit is probably the high/low point, although blood flowing in our faces through a metal tube that another character is impaled on takes some beating.

Band went on to create dozens of horror movies, but Parasite was arguably the success that his career was based on; while there are dull patches, Glaudini, Moore and Blaine are better than a concept like this deserves, and the 3D effects still look cool even in 2D. It’s a horror film with a few novel ideas, some nasty gore, and a few dashes of humour; Dean isn’t just an expect on parasites, he literally wrote the book on them. It’s called The Pathology of Parasites and he carries it around with him for most of the movie. Needless to say, it comes in handy as a means of understanding the strange world depicted here.

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  1. Misty wants to know if Demi is showing any skin in this one? She wants to know if Demi has got “skin in the game”? I didn’t ask her why she wanted to know . . . 🙈🙉🙊

    • I think there’s specific websites dedicated to this kind of information, but I’ll save your search history by saying NOPE! Alien parasites are a yes!

  2. For a moment with Ms Moore involved I thought I was going to tumble onto something autobiographical. On a lighter note, there are always worse alien films than the worst one you ever saw.

    • I’m not sure why this one passed me by, although there’s a noticeable difference between the futuristic ads and the crummy production served up here. Big fan of Demi, although even she is shamed by this low-rent film. But Miss Adelaide?

  3. A terrific old fave, made more fun because Demi Moore! who is undoubtedly one of our movie sweethearts and does a fine job being a bit of a cute damsel here.

    • There’s no prizes for acting in a film like this, but Demi really does make something of a thankless task here…

  4. Bonjour tout le monde! I got stuck at Lemon Farmer, how do you herd lemons I wondered as I did my daily chores, are they uncaged lemons do you think enjoying the sunshine and fresh air or are they fed in troughs and only let out for half an hour a day. And now I’ve read the rest of the review I feel more could have been made of the lemons. Disappointing, so Nope.

  5. Love that trailer. All it does is sell the 3-D. “Be assured Parasite is the most gripping and frightening movie you will ever see . . . ” Whatever happened to the great age of hyperbole? These guys didn’t dial anything back.

          • I don’t know. They seem very defensive culturally over here and it may be blocked. I may have to wait for a French remake, or just settle for that Korean flick.

                • They couldn’t even afford Demi Moore, or a multi-toothed alien. I think you’ll like this one. The 3D means it’s money shot-tastic, you won’t miss the 3D scenes! And Moore really digs deep as a lemon farmer….

                    • Just a quiet café au lait at home, then I may sit at the bistro later. Or just a walk about the streets. I’ve become quite a flaneur of these attractive boulevards. There’s a girl who looks disconcertingly like Jean Seberg out hawking the New York Herald Tribune that I’ve taken a fancy to. The trials of not being able to go home.

                    • I picture you sitting like Hemingway outside a bibliotechque, perusing their catalogue for whatever French people have instead of Lep movies….

                    • I was just sitting at a table, perusing an old issue of Cahiers, when an elderly gentleman introducing himself as Jean-Luc stopped by and asked if I wanted to attend the cinemathecque this evening for a retrospective of some of his work. I dipped a Madeleine and said I would consider it. This Parisian exile begins to wear. Please send money. Several thousand Euros should get me home.

                    • Ah yes, I remember it well; the ruminations of a true Maurice Chevalier! I’ll see if i can whip up a few sou to bring you home….

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