Field Guide to Invertebrates: Parasite

Parasite (1982)
Critter: Unclassifed ecto-/endo-parasite of human hosts
Size: It starts small, but eventually gets about Chihuahua sized
Modus Operandi: This is a bit complicated, since the two specimens in the film behaved entirely differently- Specimen A: Burrows into gut, eats host from inside, eventually exploding from barely-living host’s gut, releasing millions of reproductive spores; Specimen B: Attaches to host’s exterior with 6 suction cups arranges in 2 rows of 3, drains all of victim’s blood and moves on to a new host.
How the Menace Emerges: The evil corporation that runs the world had them engineered by a parasitologist for nefarious purposes
End Goal: Kill, Kill, Kill!
It’s the 1980s and CGI has yet to be invented. Ahhh, practical effects, how I miss you so! The critter effects in Parasite were created by a super crew of Stan Winston (Aliens, Monster Squad, Jurassic Park), Jim Kagel (The Thing (1982), Running on Karma) and Lance Anderson (The Thing (1982), Pet Semetary) and it shows. In fact, the critters are the only parts of Parasite that are truly worthwhile. After all, Charles Band (better known as a producer of the Puppetmaster series and head of Full Moon Pictures), is not known for making fine films. Other than a crazy dream sequence and some fine critter moments, this movie is a run of the mill 80s post apocalyptic affair, with nonsensical gangs of thugs and expensive petrol. Parasite was originally shown in 3D, and some of the scenes tailored for this type of showing look a bit silly when they are flat. One such scene focuses in on a pipe jutting out of a dead thug’s stomach and seems to pay homage to one of my favorite scenes from 1979’s Tourist Trap, which I don’t mind at all. Since Band was the producer of Tourist Trap, I suppose we can’t call it “ripping off”. Just as a side note, this is one of Demi Moore’s first films, and her only real purpose here seems to be to look concerned and be slapped around.

Nit-picking Science: I don’t know what it is with you movie scientists and your love of auditory pest control. What the hell did taking a “fluid” sample and exposing it to various frequencies actually tell you?


nervenet said...

While I haven't seen Parasite - though your review makes it seem like it might be fun - I have to mention that Charles Band, while undoubtedly an absolutely bottom-dollar-line horror-schlock producer, funded four early Stuart Gordon films, including the great From Beyond, and if my memory of old Fangoria issues holds true, had sort of a mentor role with Gordon on Re-Animator (though I can't qualify that statement). Band's company produced it (though Band himself wasn't directly involved) and his brother Richard Band took all the best bits of the Psycho score that were not shower related and recycled them for Re-Animator's score. Any family that lovingly rips things off that way - including their own earlier work - certainly deserves props.

Amber said...

I'm with you, nervenet! Band might be a horrible director on his own, but he has made a lot of fun movies possible. Without his financing, we may never have seen Castle Freak, RobotJox, Cellar Dweller, From Beyond and Tourist Trap. I have yet to see most of his self-helmed films, but I'll bet that they have good scores and some good critter effects, even if they drag along, story-wise. Props given!