Parasite (1982) 3D Blu-ray Review

The suspense may be lacking but the 3D is really great. 2.5 Stars

There is neither great art nor great thrills on display, but there is great 3D to be found in Charles Band’s Parasite, and Kino Lorber’s release of this marvelously restored movie from cinema’s Silver Age of 3D is not to be missed.

Parasite (1982)
Released: 12 Mar 1982
Rated: R
Runtime: 85 min
Director: Charles Band
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
Cast: Robert Glaudini, Demi Moore, Luca Bercovici, James Davidson
Writer(s): Alan J. Adler, Michael Shoob, Frank Levering
Plot: Paul Dean has created a deadly parasite that is now attached to his stomach. He and his female companion, Patricia Welles, must find a way to destroy it while also trying to avoid Ricus, ...
IMDB rating: 3.8
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Studio Canal
Distributed By: Kino Lorber
Video Resolution: 1080P/MVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 25 Min.
Package Includes: 3D Blu-ray
Case Type: keep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 10/22/2019
MSRP: $29.95

The Production: 2/5

One of the movies that ushered the Silver Age of 3D films into the 1980s, Charles Band’s Parasite doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a B horror film with low budget effects, modest direction, and mostly underplayed performances, but in 3D, the movie offers an interesting variety of three-dimensional visual treats that make the movie worth a visit. Its narrative and acting might not stay with you, but some of the 3D work most definitely will.

In a post-apocalyptic America of 1992, scientist Dr. Paul Dean (Robert Glaudini) has created for the state a deadly parasite which a government agency known as the Merchants plans to use to clear away undesirables and enemies of the state. But one of his parasites has lodged itself in his stomach while he has escaped a prison camp with a second one in a thermos which he plans to study so he can learn how to destroy them before they can kill him and the rest of humanity. Local farmer Patricia Welles (Demi Moore) takes pity on the suffering scientist and tries to help him, but local punks called the Ray Guns led by the psychotic Ricus (Luca Bercovici) and a sinister government agent Wolf (James Davidson) are both after Dean for their own purposes.

Written by Alan Adler, Michael Shoob, and Frank Levering, the screenplay is no great shakes though the trio manage to add in three or four moderately effective terror sequences which, had the filmmakers had a bigger budget or a more creative director, might have really been something (blessed with some early model and miniature work by future Oscar-winner Stan Winston, several bursting effects and cadaverous head shots are top notch for such a low budget thriller). Instead, most of the time, the narrative plods along with a violent spasm of activity every fifteen minutes or so abetted with wonderful use of 3D even when the sequences where it’s attached are obviously tacked on simply to use the medium to its fullest (a loony who attacks the protagonist gets impaled on a length of pipe, the film’s supreme moment of 3D effectiveness). Director Charles Band seems at his most desperate in an early scene when a woman (Cheryl Smith) is being attacked and has her shirt ripped off by a couple of goons going the rest of the lengthy sequence bare-chested just for the prurient pleasures of the movie’s intended audience.

Despite his flat delivery of dialogue, Robert Glaudini does have a rather haunted look about him as the tortured scientist, and he’s an easy character for the audience to identify with. Demi Moore in a very early role looks lovely and fresh-faced and has some of the same swagger here that she’d use more expertly in the next decade in A Few Good Men and G.I. Jane. Al Fann as a congenial local bartender gives the best performance in the movie while Luca Bercovici and James Davidson as the movie’s dual bad guys offer a decent amount of malice which works counter to their surprisingly conventional handsome features. The wonderful Vivian Blaine pops up in a couple of scenes as a one-time top star reduced to renting flophouse rooms to the stranded while attempting to pretend middle age has not descended upon her. Tom Villard and Cherie Currie play two of the title character’s more gruesome victims.

Video: 4/5

3D Rating: 5/5

The film is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 in a 1080p transfer using the AVC (2D)/MVC (3D) codec. By conventional standards, the image is soft due to the split 35mm frame being used for the over-under 3D system effectively reducing the resolution to that of 16mm film. Still, the image is free of all age-related dirt, dust, scratches, and debris, and color in the 3D version seems closer to realistic levels and more in control than the 2D color timing. Black levels are good but not great.

The 3D has been restored by the 3-D Film Archive, and, as usual, their work is impeccable resulting in 3D that’s as impressive and involving as in any of the 3D films of the Golden Age (though the movie’s quality can’t match the best of the earlier era, of course). Pop outs are numerous and lots of fun. Beginning with the creative main menu screen and right into the main title credits which float in front of one’s face, there are lab tables, snake tongues, fingers, broken glass and wood splinters, parasite slime, and numerous parasite strikes that come right at the audience (not to mention the earlier notable pipe that juts out from the screen to within millimeters of one’s face). The director has placed lots of objects on differing planes within a shot to enhance the 3D effects never for a moment letting the viewer forget that he’s watching a 3D film.

Audio: 4.5/5

The disc offers two DTS-HD Master Audio tracks from which to pick: the original mono in 2.0 and a remixed 5.1 (which is the default). The mono track is very powerful with excellent highs and lows, and the 5.1 uses Richard Band’s sometimes screechy music cues and jump sound effects to fill its surround channels at appropriate scare moments (at other times, the surrounds are very quiet). Both tracks have been digitally cleaned to remove age-related problems with hiss, pops, crackle, and flutter.

Special Features: 5/5

Audio Commentary: co-writer and associate producer Alan Adler does a fine job remembering all he can about the movie’s three-week production schedule sharing stories about many members of the company both before and behind the camera. His comments thin out a bit as the movie runs, but fans of the film will want to hear what he has to say.

From the Inside Out: Writing Parasite (10:38, HD): writers Alan J. Adler and Michael Shoo each separately comment on their improvised writing technique putting down the film’s scenario in a week.

Three Dimensions of Terror: Filming Parasite (15:12, HD) director Charles Band, co-writer Alan J. Adler, production manager Charles Newitt, art director Pamela Warner, and make-up artist Karen Kopeck share stories of their work on the movie.

Symphony for Slimy Slugs: Composing Parasite (8:42, HD) composer Richard Band talks about his contributions to his brother’s movie.

Parasitic: Creating and Designing Parasite (6:23, HD): Lance Anderson who got his introduction to professional film work with Stan Winston in his creature workshop discusses his work on the movie.

Restoring Parasite in 3-D (2:25, 3D/HD): text overlays point out the work done by the 3-D Film Archive to restore the movie’s glorious 3D effects.

Image Gallery (8:07, HD): promotional materials, make-up shots, and production stills play in montage.

TV Spots (1:01, HD): two spots

Radio Spot Ads (1:31): three spot ads

Theatrical Trailer (1:29, HD)

Reversible Cover Art

Overall: 2.5/5

There is neither great art nor great thrills on display, but there is great 3D to be found in Charles Band’s Parasite, and Kino Lorber’s release of this marvelously restored movie from cinema’s Silver Age of 3D is not to be missed.

Published by

Matt Hough

editor,member

4 Comments

  1. Johnny Angell

    I have this on order and I'm happy to read the 3D is good. Thanks for the review. BTW, is the commentary on the 3D version or only the 2D?

    No matter which version you choose, you'll have access to the commentary and all of the other bonuses. I watched the bonus featurettes from the 3D layer and listened to the commentary with the 2D playing.

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