By the end of his horrific day, County Sheriff Cal Morse (Sam Waterston) sat thinking to himself, maybe, just maybe, he’d rather be back in the murder and mayhem of The Killing Fields of Cambodia! Wiping sweat and blood from his brow he sank back into his chair. One thing for sure, he’d definitely prefer to be sat in his squad car eating Popeyes chicken.
Tagline – A secret experiment has gone wild – and they’re all going to pay!
The town had been falling apart, unemployment and poverty had plagued the town until a scientific center had been set up creating jobs for many of the residents of the small California community. It was experimental pesticide manufacturer called Biotek. With vast amount of employees working throughout the facility alongside the scientists busy creating different strains of pesticides to help build bigger and better batches of corn. Only a select few knew the fact that Biotek was a front for a secret military laboratory!
The laboratories were kitted out with all the latest technologies. Systems and procedures put into place guaranteeing the quarantine of the potentially deadly viruses, mutated germs and other nightmarish bacteria. Fail safes, airtight containment, decontamination and even its own security guard overseeing the complex. Joanie Morse (Kathleen Quinlan) is Sheriff Cal’s wife. Newly trained Joanie is about to have her security training put to the test.
When you play with fire, all the fail safes in the world can’t save you from getting burnt. Especially when unforeseen, accidental human error is involved. Little do the two top scientists Dr Schmidt (G.W Bailey) and Dr Nielsen (Richard Dysart) and all their happy colleagues, celebrating a new breakthrough, realise they’re on course to having a very bad day!
Tagline – Pray for the people trapped inside. Pray that they never get out!
Soon the mayhem and carnage will start. First the mild mannered scientists calmly go through the motions they’ve been trained for. But then the twitching starts, the anger rises. Boils and blisters form. It’s not long before scientists turn from their sweet mutant germ and gene splicing selves into axe wielding maniacs and rage zombies.
Dr Nielsen – “I Feel rage, BEAUTIFUL RAGE!“
The lab is on total lockdown and Protocol One activated. And with doing so the military turn up led by that cool dude with the shades, Yaphet Kotto aka Major Connolly. With the Major running the containment of the facility, sheriff Cal is a thorn in his side and he’s soon to be joined by another. Cal teams up with washed up drunk hippy and unemployed scientist Dr Dan Fairchild (Jeffrey DeMunn).
Can Cal and Dan help save the day without getting infected, chopped into little pieces or shot by the Major’s army? Not only does poor Major Connolly gotta deal with those two mavericks he’s also got a raging pitchfork gang of ole locals demanding answers! Tune into the violence, disorder and pure pandemonium to find out who didn’t listen to the Warning Sign?
A Few Things I Learnt….
- Warning Sign is directed by Hal Barwood and written by both Barwood and, at the time, writing partner Matthew Robbins.
- Both writers look like they came out the same kind of film school as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. With some writing connected to Lucas Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB the short film before THX 1138. Also Spielberg’s first major film The Sugarland Express and also adding some additional writing to the classic Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
- The two would also work on the 1981 fantasy action film Dragonslayer where Matthew Robbins would direct.
- Funny to see G.W Bailey out of his Police Academy outfit.
- Warning Sign has to be a direct predecessor or at least some homage or influence to both the Resident Evil series and 28 Days Later. I’m sure it’s the first time I’ve seen the madness of infection turn humans into raging zombies or at least homicidal maniacs . So many of the comparisons used cross over into those franchise and many more.
Warning Sign was a surprising entertaining treat. Yeah you could see how it was going to play out but frankly it didn’t matter. It rocks along at a good pace, throwing in some great characters. The veggie, boozing hippy Dan was great fun. Still in bed in a drunken haze “I don’t need a ride home sheriff, I’m already here!“. Then you got Joanie trying to keep to the security book through all the mayhem. She’s tough and can take a few “shocks” here and there!. They even chuck in Cal with a polio damaged leg being a germaphobe but that ain’t gonna stop him? is it? “It’s different for you! Germs are your job!”
Thanks for dropping into the wolf lair. Wishing you happy film watching.