FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

May 10, 2016

VHS Week Day 9: PARASITE (1982)

As I always suspected, the future looks mighty terrible. Gas is $41/gallon. Regular currency is worthless. Electricity only works sometimes. Everyone is grimy and hair is woefully unconditioned. People are tattooed and forced into labor camps. Yes, there are some genuine pew-pew laser guns around, but mostly everything is dirty and depressing and life can be summed up thusly:

"It's gettin' so a fella can't get away from the goddamned sickies no more."

Parasite is set six months after Donald Trump is sworn in as President in a post-nuclear 1992 world gone to heck. Paul Dean is a scientist harboring parasites in his stomach and in his future-thermos. He's pursued by a man in a suit who drives a future-car; it seems Paul absconded with these parasites when he found out that The Company had evil intentions for them, and now The Company wants them back. Paul tries to hide in the desert, but he runs afoul of a gang o' thugs that would be right at home in Friday the 13th Part 3. Demi Moore takes him to her lemon farm (not a euphemism) and he tries to solve this whole mess by doing some science. Can he destroy all the parasites before they kill him? Can he destroy the parasites before The Company reclaims them? Can he destroy the parasites before the parasites fart out a million spores that will turn into more parasites? You won't get any spoilers outta me, fool!

nom nom nom

This may prove a controversial stance, but I'm going to say it anyway: I don't much like parasites. I'm sure they serve some kind of purpose as a link in the grand cosmic food chain, but I say no thank you. I've read too many sensational news stories like "Parasite Swims Up Dude's Urethra" and "Parasite Lives in Some Lady's Brain for 15 Years" to think they're anything but a l'il tiny real bad time. I'd even go so far as to call them one of my least favorite things on Earth. When I saw that Paul was harboring the parasites in his stomach, I was like..."Paul, you crazy!" for that's how much I do not like them. Mind you, the parasites in Parasite–designed by the mighty Stan Winston!–aren't microscopic jerks, but rather they are approximately the size of a Corgi and they have a shit ton of teeth. They do kind of go into and burst out of people regardless of their enormousosity, so I guess they still count as parasites, although I can't say for sure as I am not a scienceologist.

And yeah, you read that correctly: Demi Moore's lemon farm. Parasite marks her first starring role and she's about as unremarkable as you might expect from someone in their first starring role. Not that she had a whole lot to work with here–I mean, it's a Charles Band film called Parasite–but still. I was way more excited when I saw Cherie Currie's name in the opening credits, but sadly she only has about two lines and then she gets infected and dies. Okay, that's a spoiler you'll get outta me. But that's it, no more!

This movie is small in scope and budget, so we've got limited locations and a steady rotation of three types of scenes: Paul sweats and frets, the thugs thug it up, and The Company dude looks for Paul. The action occurs mostly towards the end when the parasite goes nuts and infects several people, and I'm sure it would look great if I was watching this on anything besides an extremely dark and muddy VHS copy. I could kind of see slime? And blood sometimes.

It was also a hoot–well, that's overstating it...let's say it was a lite hoot–picking out all of the obvious 3D!!! moments in the film, as originally it was shown in three whole dimensions. Among the things that point at/travel towards the camera:
  • a pipe that juts from an abdomen
  • a hand that kind of points 
  • some goo that drips
  • parasites that fly toward you
I'm not sure whether or not you can tell by what I've written, but rest assured, Parasite is pure schlocky early-80s monster movie fun. And just think, I'm saying that even though much of the action was obscured by VHS darkness and I could barely see the parasites. Although considering my hatred of them, maybe that's for the best. 


G.A. Redman said...

I vaguely remember this one. Doesn't one of the parasites explode out of someone's face at one point. That must have been somethin' in Anaglyph 3D.

Stacie Ponder said...

Yes! That was the best death as far as these things go. She got all shriveled and gross, then ka-blam. What a way to go!

Traveller28 said...

I have a soft spot for this one from way way back on VHS (1985/1986?). It's up there with Titan Find (AKA Creature) for me.

Also, the UK video box art was pretty groovy and Empire Video (the UK arm for Brand's movies) always had groovy trailers/previews.

Stacie Ponder said...

Ha, I love that it has "from the director of Halloween" on's true, if by "director" they mean "producer"–they're the same thing, right?!

AE said...

Well, you had me at "designed by Stan Winston," "the size of a Corgi" and "shit ton of teeth"! I'm in.

(Have you seen "The Deadly Spawn"? It's no Charles Band joint but it's pretty good 1983 monster-movie fun.)

Stacie Ponder said...

I saw that so long ago, I don't remember a thing about it! I should get it and have a double feature with GALAXY OF TERROR.

AE said...

Which I have not seen but it looks amazing!

Maxwell said...

If I remember correctly, Parasite was originally 3-D. This doesn't excuse, but might help explain, some of the quality issues. It's funny that you mention Friday the 13th in your post. That was 3-D too. I saw that one in 3-D. The eye popping scene only makes sense to those behind the 3-D glasses.

Stacie Ponder said...

Yep, it was originally 3D...I mentioned that in the review! ;) As was F13-3, you're right. I love all the BIG THREE DEE moments in both where stuff pops out at you...or is supposed to. 82-83 was a big time for 3D!