Disaster movies have always been a staple of Hollywood. From the big budget natural disaster films like Earthquake and more recently San Andreas to the virus based films like World War Z. During the late 70’s and 80’s the virus and radioactivity films had a nice boom. Films like The Crazies, Rabid, Shivers, and the little less known Warning Sign. I’ve always dug these types of films as they usually lean heavily on suspense and gore as opposed to the standard natural disaster story line. Warning Sign always stuck out more to me than the others because of the surprising amount of great acting especially from Yaphet Kotto as a religious bible quoter, who in my opinion helped to influence the Sam Jackson part in Pulp Fiction. But that’s beside the point.
Warning Sign takes place at an agriculture company called BioTek. In the lab the crew is working on a new chemical called P4. Almost as soon as the film begins a vile of this drug is dropped onto the floor just as the team responsible for it is getting ready to take a photo documenting there success. As everyone moves in for the picture one of the scientists steps on the vile just as everyone in the room removes there masks. This slowly starts the spread of a virus that will not only kill you, but then it reanimates you in a violent state. See it turns out that this company is actually a front for a government run testing facility that is creating new chemical weapons.
As the panic begins to spread inside, it also begins to spread outside as one of the workers has left the building. That brings in the army ran by Major Connolly (Yaphet Kotto) who is there to contain the situation and eliminate the problems unless the people inside can develop a cure for this virus. The local sheriff luckily enough is married to one of the female security officers who is trapped inside. She informs him that a fired co-worker was working on an antidote and he needs to find him and bring him there to help. Another problem also arises when the friends and family of the people trapped inside begin forming a crowd that wants answers and wants to simply storm through the doors to free their loved ones. This would of course release the chemical into the outside world.
A modest hit when it opened Warning Sign is a tense films to say the least. It has blood and gore but it does not rely on it to tell the story. The film plays out more like a pure suspense film leaving the audience to not only wonder what will happen next, but make then await the next jump scare. The film had a nice run on cable and home video and over the years (It was released in 1985) has developed a cult following among horror fans. Luckily for those fans Scream Factory has acquired the rights and are putting this one out on Blu-ray.
The transfer looks great, which is exactly what we have come to expect from Scream Factory as they are the masters of preserving these films. The audio sounds great as well. And as per usual they have included a nice amount of special features.
NEW Interview With Director/Co-Writer Hal Barwood
NEW Interview With Producer Jim Bloom
Audio Commentary With Hal Barwood
Original TV Spot
If you’re a fan of films like Rec, 27 Days Later, and Quarantine go ahead and check this one out to see where it all began. Great acting, a great story (It was still new territory when it was made) and a few over the top effect scenes make this one a winner. Go ahead and add it to your collection now.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars!