Contamination was recently issued as a blu-ray/DVD set in the U.S. and the U.K. by Arrow Films. The transfer is fantastic, offering an image that is bursting with color and detail. Even the dark interiors that open the film and dominate the finale look great here. Both Italian and English mono soundtracks are provided (in lossless form on the blu-ray), with English subs for the Italian track. Both sound nice and clear, also giving a boost to the throbbing Goblin synth-prog score.
Arrow has packed out the set with extras a-plenty. A commentary track by Fangoria editor/filmmaker Chris Alexander starts things off. It’s done in a “fan commentary” style and Alexander’s gift of gab keeps it engaging: he offers background detail on the cast and crew and talks in humorous terms about his history as a fan of the film, including fun stories where he tries to sell it to disbelieving audiences and a great little anecdote about hanging out with Cozzi and Ruggero Deodato at a film festival.
There is also an array of video extras. A vintage 23-minute documentary is hosted by Cozzi, who gleefully admits using the film to pay homage to his sci-fi heroes as he walks the viewer through the filming process. It includes plenty of on-set footage. A recent festival Q&A with McCulloch and Frizzi runs 41 minutes, covering an array of production stories including how the film’s premise was quickly slapped together to sell at MIFED and McCulloch’s misadventures with a midget thief while on location in Colombia.
An 11-minute interview with composer Maurizio Guarini allows him to talk about the vintage composing and recording methods used for the film as well as touching on the complex personnel history of Goblin. He even plays a few snippets of the score at his piano. An extended sitdown with Cozzi features the director talking us through his entire career, painting a portrait of him as a sci-fi fan made good who learned his craft on the job.
The most unusual featurette features critic Maitland McDonagh and historian Chris Poggiali talking about Italy’s history of doing celluloid cash-ins built around Hollywood hits. They talk about the controversial Jaws ripoff Great White, reveal tricks the filmmakers used to make their films look American-made and even discuss the Road Warrior-inspired post-nuke cycle. They pack a lot of insight and fascinating detail into just under 18 minutes.
The package is rounded about by a highlight reel-style trailer, a complete gallery of a graphic novel done for the film and an enthusiastic set of liner notes by Alexander. If you like this film, this is the best way to see it on home video.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Contamination, click here.
(Full Disclosure: this review was done using a check-disc blu-ray provided by Arrow Video U.S.A. The disc used for the review reflects what buyers will see in the finished blu-ray and the liner notes were provided to Schlockmania in PDF form.)