Warning Sign (1985) A Predecessor To Resident Evil Or 28 Days Later? Rage Virus

Warning Sign (1985) poster virus mutant zombie infected rage horror film

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.

Warning Sign (1985) Sheriff Cal Morse (Sam Waterston) popeyes famous chicken cop car jeep

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!

Warning Sign (1985) rage virus mice fighting scientists watching

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.

Warning Sign (1985) Joanie Morse (Kathleen Quinlan) chief security officer

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!

Warning Sign (1985) happy scientists before the carnage say cheese

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!

Warning Sign (1985) Sheriff Cal Morse (Sam Waterston) Dan Fairchild (Jeffrey DeMunn)Warning Sign (1985) Joanie Morse (Kathleen Quinlan) chief security officer G.W Bailey

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).

Warning Sign (1985) Yaphet Kotto aka Major Connolly sunglasses cool

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?

Warning Sign (1985) Sheriff Cal Morse (Sam Waterston) Dan Fairchild (Jeffrey DeMunn) hazmat suits tuneel

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.

Warning Sign (1985) Joanie Morse (Kathleen Quinlan) chief security officer G.W Bailey biotek badge

  • 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 (1985) Blu-ray dvd cover art hazmat suit zobie rage horror

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.

Mikey Wolf

13 thoughts on “Warning Sign (1985) A Predecessor To Resident Evil Or 28 Days Later? Rage Virus

  1. “…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.”
    This is one of the best paragraphs I’ve read in a long time. Ha! Love it!…Funny, I was watching The Breach last night. It had Kathleen Quinlan in it too. She’s quite good. She has a strange sexiness about her. Don’t misunderstand–I’m not being pervy. It’s just what I think.
    Anyway, great post. Still, I can’t help being a little mad at Warning Sign for being a precursor to all the zombie movies we have now. I know I should be mad at Night of the Living Dead too, but I’m not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Under the fur I’m blushing! Thanks Pam. That paragraph does kinda set the scene. One I didn’t even think about but reading back it does sound pretty exciting Hehe.
      Oo just looked up Breach and I’d not heard of it before. Does sound like a pretty good film. I’m very fond of a good Cold War yarn. Good cast too. I’ve added to skyscraper list mountain.
      Kathleen Quinlan certainly looked lovely in Warning Sign and I imagine she still looks great in a more vintage way now. Totally forgot she was in Apollo 13. Nothing wrong with appreciating her sexiness. Boy! did you see the guys at the games convention when a certain actor makes a cameo and makes grown men insanely excited. Yeah he’s well too cool. 🙂

      I do like me zombie’s stupid and a bit moany. You gotta chance to outrun or even knock them over. Hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Haha yes that is in fact the video. Yep they did go biserko lol. It’s very funny. His cgi computer character reaches down and the shot pans on his face and they all completely lose the plot. Not sure how I got there from Mrs Quinlan but hey ho 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember seeing the poster for this at my local theater back in ’85, and wanting to see it for that reason alone…all black, with that ominous red nuclear symbol. Then, I never went to see it. Not sure why…maybe it left theaters before I had a chance to go. But I found it on-line, so I’ll give it a look, finally. I could always use some Kathleen Quinlan in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

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