Parasite (1982)

Hey, it’s Demi Moore! This is her second film, and she was only 20 at the time. But she’s not the hero of the film, she’s a young woman with a passion for growing lemons and wearing baggy pants. Instead, our hero is Bob Glaudini, who plays Dr. Paul Dean. Instead of cooking up things in the kitchen, he cooks up exotic new parasites for the government, thinking somehow that this will be a good thing. It’s not, and the good doctor gets himself infected by one of the parasites he created. So he takes another parasite to experiment on, kills the rest, and flees. But in this post-apocalyptic wasteland, where runaway inflation and a mega business guild known only as the Merchants has effectively taken over the government and instituted Soviet-style work camps, Paul has little hope. He’s now being pursued by one of the Merchants’ own, a one-gloved assassin named Wolf, and his parasite is slowly growing in size.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the name that is tingling in the back of your mind is “Alien.” Yep, it’s an Alien knock off, with a Stan Winston-created blood sucking worm with a killer smile that loves to sink its teeth into things and explode out of old women’s faces. Unfortunately it also takes its dear sweet time showing up on screen, so we have to watch a good 45 minutes of characters trying to develop and an “evil” group of wasteland teenagers try to appear threatening. And there’s the crazy fake rape scene at the beginning too, in which I guess the tied-up woman went insane and developed Stockholm syndrome real quick and helps her tormentors attack the guy who just rescued her. High art, this is not.

So what are the highlights? The parasite, when it finally shows up. Most everything else is filler, and while there are a couple of interesting characters in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, most are either stereotypes (angry gas station guy, friendly old man, valiant but scarred African American supporting cast member) or they are woefully pathetic (teenage kids). Unfortunately, the big villain falls into that second category. Wolf is about as physically menacing as a Wall Street stockbroker armed with a laser pointer, and outside of the few times he gets the drop on someone, he’s about as effective in a fight. I can pull better evil out of my ass, dude!

Above all, I found this film middle of the road. It’s not so terrible as to become laughable, but there isn’t enough to make this even approach the idea of a good movie. And there are awkward mistakes, like the closeups of a man being burned to death which show it’s obviously a stunt guy in a fire suit that’s about twice as big as the guy getting burned, or a kid getting his ear cut off and then having it back on later.

Also, if you didn’t know it from the poster, this movie is in 3D.  If you’re still not sure, the trailer will fill you in on it.

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