Years before Roland Emmerich dethroned Irwin Allen as the undisputed king of big budgeted disaster porn, the German born filmmaker started out in 1985 with the foundation of Centropolis Film Productions (now Centropolis Entertainment) with his sister and producing partner Ute Emmerich and the production of his first major motion picture, the English language science fiction thriller Joey.
Renamed Making Contact in the US before excising some twenty minutes of footage and completely rescoring the whole thing, the film concerns a young boy played by Joshua Morell who comes to believe he has made contact with his long deceased father while fending off a demonically possessed ventriloquist dummy which summons a myriad of other demons threatening his family and soon mankind itself. It’s up to the boy to take on a telekinetic battle with the demons in the spirit world.
Clearly somewhere between attempting to do Steven Spielberg with heavy doses of Poltergeist thrown in along with some metaphysical lunacy ala The Manitou, Joey aka Making Contact isn’t so much a “good” movie per se as it is a curiosity for fans of forgotten 80s films and disaster fans keen on digging out the stepping stones that brought Emmerich to where he is today. While moviegoers are undeniably divided with mostly negative reviews of his films dogging his filmography, it’s interesting to see the future Irwin Allen starting out in the film business trying to emulate the filmmaker who was all the rage at the time of the film’s inception.
Tying to come across this film hasn’t been easy with a few remaining New World Pictures VHS copies floating around and the long out-of-print Anchor Bay DVD exceeding the $200 range in some instances. Thankfully the good folks at Kino Lorber will be putting this scalping collecting business to bed with a remastered blu-ray containing both the original German and reedited American versions of the film.
Slated for May 9th, 2017, fans of Emmerich, forgotten schlock and pretty anything just plain 80s right now should rejoice at the announcement of the reissue of this long thought dead and buried knockoff. If nothing else, it should give junkies of the New World/Vestron era of VHS driven science-fiction horror something to chew on. Who would have thought our generation’s Irwin Allen tried his hand at becoming the next Spielberg?
- Andrew Kotwicki