United States - 1985
Director - Hal Barwood
CBS/Fox Video, 1986, VHS
Run Time -1 hour, 39 minutes
With virtually no introduction Warning Sign launches into a near apocalyptic real-world frightmare scenario set in the semi-rural American west. At a time when genetic engineering was still the stuff of science fiction, Warning Sign makes fiction out of science-fact by cashing in on post-Nam distrust of the Federal Government. Opening abruptly with an accident at a bio-engineering facility somewhere, an ensemble cast of second stringers makes this otherwise simplistic bio-terror film worth almost every minute. Later films like Outbreak and even 28 Days Later would use similar elements of disease induced (read “human-induced-disease”) apocalypse to terrify audiences, but neither had the level of contextual paranoia that sustains Warning Sign’s eerie relevance nearly three decades on.
Warning Sign is less about the pathology of microbes than papering over the rift in post-Vietnam American society between ‘real’ (small-town) America and the mysterious and deceitful Federal Government. Both are drawn two-dimensionally in Warning Sign, but the symbolism is clear; there is no longer any love (or trust) lost between the two. This is further emphasized by Yaphet Kotto’s role as the head of the Fed and the only significant character of color in the film, further emphasizing the estragement of the Government from the national average.
This nice Polish poster is from Wrongside of the Art where they have a number of other good posters and lobbycards.