With my fellow Laser Blasters discovering – much to the adulation of the Web – the secret ending of Mac and Me last week, I decided to dig into my VHS collection and pull out the like-minded kids(?) movie Making Contact from 1985.
After the death of his father, Joey (Joshua Morrell) gains telekinetic powers just as his house is besieged by supernatural forces. Will his abilities be enough to save him and his mother?
This movie is fucking bonkers. That’s really the only way I can put it. It's a good pairing with Mac and Me because it shares equal levels of ridiculousness (coincidentally I also watched 1991’s Motorama this week for the bizarro trifecta) with no regard for reality whatsoever.
So where do I start with this one... An early film from Roland Emmerich, I wager he was a fan of the work of Henry Thomas (E.T., The Quest, Cloak & Dagger et al) and decided to do his own take. So with his Thomas clone Morrell in tow, Emmerich made something that definitely showed the seeds of the blockbusters he'd be making just ten years later. I mean, looking at the monsters in the maze sequence, it's not a surprise that he eventually did a Hollywood Godzilla movie.
|Joshua Murrell as Joey in Making Contact.|
Making Contact busts at the seams with the decade it was filmed in. Beyond the bombastic score by Paul Gilreath (at least in my version, I can't believe the German cut is twenty minutes longer) and the reckless child endangerment that was a staple of the era, every frame is crammed with eighties ephemera. If Mac and Me had McDonalds, Making Contact heavily leans on Star Wars, having presumably dodged copyright infringement by being a largely German production. I mean Darth Vader shows up for fuck’s sakes!
This movie just kept piling it on, from the kid’s powers (for which nobody seemed to react appropriately I might add) to his sentient robot Charlie and the possessed dummy that just showed up in the second act. In between, it was all about playful emulation as I saw elements of E.T., Poltergeist, Time Bandits and even 2001. It was also chock full of visual and practical effects that filled me with nostalgic glee.
Making Contact is one of those movies where the events and human behaviour depicted were so off-kilter – like when the mother treats a burned hand by putting it not under a tap but in a goldfish bowl then adds ice with the fish STILL IN IT – you wonder whether it was actually made by aliens who had been studying our culture from afar. This was a fun watch where I spent most of the running time slack-jawed in a mix of wonder and bewilderment.