Parasite (1982) - Well this film is advertised as the first starring role for one Demi Moore as well as her first husband Freddy Moore. Freddy the musician met Demi when she was just 16 years old and even though he was already married started living with her. They were married shortly after that before her 17th birthday. When this film was made the actress was 19 years old the same year she landed the role as Jackie Templeton on General Hospital. This unfortunately is not the best of films with a story that is bland and without real threat. You always know there is little or no budget when the story is based in a small desert town. Demi plays Patricia Welles a local in the small town.
To set up we see a scene where a mysterious man comes in on a scientist Dr. Paul Dean (Robert Glaudini) while he is working. We never see the man (until later when we learn he is Wolf the Merchant (James Davidson) but see that he does something that terrifies the bound scientist. He implants something in the man's stomach. That is all we see in the setup scene but it makes sense when we later join Dean he entering a compound called work camp 34. He is looking for a safe place to complete his work. This is not it, the sounds of a couple guys molesting a woman can be heard. Dean creeps up on them with his laser gun in hand. Guess what? its the future and he has a laser gun. After fighting with the two men he frees the woman only to have her attack him too. All of this is to give us some sense of time and place.
It is a post apocalyptic world where a good portion of the population have a sickness that makes them violent. He ends up getting in more trouble trying to help the woman out, but all is not bad, the old man Buddy (James Cavan) brings him into his room for a rare treat of coffee and to explain to us some of the specifics of the world they live in.
When he enters a small desert town gas has to be bought with silver, or barter. No one wants American money anymore. He is on the run and looking for a place to hide and finish his work. He takes a room in a boarding house run by Maggie (Vivian Blaine) and goes to the diner for the only food left these days, canned soup. Now the world is taking shape, but need antagonists in the form of a group of local thugs lead by Ricus (Luka Bercovici). He was an orphan raised in the work camps in the suburbs but now as a young adult refuses anything to do with the society run by the Merchants. He and his gang of friends, Dana (Cherie Currie), Bo (Joannelle Nadine Romero), Arn (Freddy Moore), Shell (Natalie May) and Zeke (Tom Villard) drift through life taking what they can to survive. Crossing paths with Dean is trouble for all and if not for the intervention of diner owner Collins (Al Fann) and Patricia it may have ended badly for Dean.
The primary story for Dean is a race against time. He has a creature growing in his abdomen that he keeps sedated with an injection. He has a second one in a canister (of course it gets out) to try to study in order to find a way to kill it. Adding to his pressure is Wolf, the Merchant who is trying to retrieve the creatures. It is never really clear why the Merchants were having Dean grow these creatures. They are dangerous though, if they mature they will spray spores into the air, anyone exposed to the spores will in turn grow new creature. (repeat til no humans exist). The weak premise is never fully explained and the practical part of the story does not give Dean the time to do any studying. In fact he resolves the problem of killing the creature in a simple ah-ha moment. He just decides what will work and it does the first time out. This is a real movie killer.
The toughs let the canister creature out and poor Dana ends up a shriveled mess because of it. Its a strange film in that by the end the gang is very sympathetic. They are just misunderstood kids and had no idea what they were getting involved in. Really its a failure in the script. The toughs are really not so tough just kids with nothing to do in a no where world. We don't learn enough about how this world came to be, besides some vague references to a nuclear war. We really don't learn much about how these people came to where they are or what there motives are. This film is a bit of a mess that way. It alludes to things but through the characters we just don't get enough to care.
Primarily Dean spends his time dealing with the gang of toughs in town and getting to know Pat. Dean is not the great scientist more of a guy used as a plot device to make the story go. We learn when he found out what the creatures were that he was growing for the Merchants that he destroyed all but the one he wishes to cure himself of and the one in the canister he will use to find the cure. Knowing the trouble he would be in he ran. So we have Wolf the Merchant hot on his tail. Pat well just is a local who happens to have a good heart. Demi is young and innocent it is her pre-boobs phase and she barely acts at all int he film. She really doesn't have any role beside helping Dean move the sad and small story forward to its conclusion.
Rating (2.9) 5.0 and up are recommended, some more recommended than others.