Parasite (1982)Reviewed By Scott Weinberg
Posted 05/02/04 18:07:04
"Parasite" marks the big-screen debut of Ms. Demi Moore. There’s some more minor trivia that you probably already knew before. But I cannot imagine any DVD enthusiast who’d buy a movie solely because it was someone’s debut, so it’s not a particularly useful piece of trivia. (And yes, in case you were wondering: Demi is awful in this flick.)Most people who would bother to review Parasite (all six of us) would begin by documenting that horrid early-80’s “3-D resurgence” that moviemakers mistakenly believed audiences were clamoring for.
Sure, it’s important to document the legacy of Parasite in relation to the brilliance of movies like Jaws 3-D, The Treasure of the Four Crowns, Comin' at Ya!, Friday the 13th Part 3(-D), and of course Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn. I for one cannot imagine a universe in which the lack of new 3-D technologies would prevent such classic cinema from being produced.
Trivia and minutiae aside, here’s what you really need to know about Parasite: it’s really, really... bad. It goes way beyond “why did they make this?” bad and occasionally wanders into “what were they even trying to make?” territory. You might imagine that a horror movie with so little action would have an extensive and detailed plot. You’d be wrong. 12 Angry Men has less dialogue than this movie does. Here’s what I could glean of the plot based solely on the mumblings of a few unenthused actors and a production design based solely on the ‘futuristic grime’ motif:
The year is 1992 (keeping in mind that Parasite was released in 1982) and the world has become a windswept husk of a planet. Well, you must ASSUME that the whole planet is a pile of mud, since Parasite offers only one meager backwater of a locale, and this is a place that makes downtown Detroit look like Disneyland after a fresh scrubbing. I realize that the intent was to make the world look scarred and barren, but rare is the film that you’ll want to shower during.
The plot follows one manic scientist as he tries to rid himself of the self-created parasite currently residing in his belly. The scientist (obviously under the assumption that he may need a spare) carries another ravenous parasite inside a shiny steel container. Yep, you guessed it: precisely the sort of shiny steel container that will catch the eye of any futuristic sleazebag wearing spiky hair and a few of those old Madonna bracelets.
Scientist shows up in town, 25 minutes pass as he chats with the locals, futuristic bullies steal the canister, 24 more minutes of barely-related chit-chat goes on, parasite gets out and bites someone nastily, 13 minutes of talk (only some of which is related to the actual parasite currently feeding on Jimmy Ray’s neck), some wet splattery thing is paraded onscreen in lieu of cohesive gore, more talk, end credits.
Look, I really like cheeseball horror movies. But the golden rule of “dummy movies” is quite simply this: Don’t bore me! (Actually, that’s the ONLY rule!) If you added up all the potentially entertaining ‘horror bits’ from the first 73 minutes of this movie, you’d have the cinematic equivalent of a postage stamp. (The three-cent kind.) I’ll never knock a movie for being stupid or derivative or unoriginal as long as it’s simply fun to sit through. Nothing in Parasite even comes close. The brief gore splatters occur way too late in the game for anyone to care, and the creature (early work by FX genius Stan Winston nonetheless) is about as horrifying as Miss Piggy covered in barbecue sauce.
Acting? Ha. Screenplay? Oh, please. I’m stunned that it took three human beings to pen something stolen from the grimiest Italian imports of the early 1980’s.The only thing really horrifying about "Parasite" is that "Mystery Science Theater 3000" went off the air before taking a whack at this terminally stupid 3-D junkfest.
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