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Warning Sign (1985)

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A woman working as a security guard in an agricultural research facility finds herself and her co-worker Schmidt fighting to survive against their former friends.


Hal Barwood





Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Waterston ... Cal Morse
Kathleen Quinlan ... Joanie Morse
Yaphet Kotto ... Major Connolly
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Dr. Dan Fairchild (as Jeffrey De Munn)
Richard Dysart ... Dr. Nielsen
G.W. Bailey ... Tom Schmidt
Jerry Hardin ... Vic Flint
Rick Rossovich ... Bob
Cynthia Carle Cynthia Carle ... Dana
Scott Paulin ... Captain Walston
Kavi Raz ... Dr. Ramesh Kapoor
Keith Szarabajka ... Tippett
Jack Thibeau ... Pisarczyk
J. Patrick McNamara ... Connolly's Aide
Tom McFadden Tom McFadden ... Deputy Grazie


In an ultra secret laboratory for the developing of biological weapons, covered as "Biotek", a research center for agriculture, a serious accident occurs, spreading a sinister bacteria in the laboratory. The security guard of the complex, closes and seals the building, with all the personnel inside, making very difficult the struggle for survival, not to mention the actions that the relatives of the enclosed people are thinking to do. Written by Luis Carvacho <lcarvach@lascar.puc.cl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Modern Man. Science has given him the ultimate power to create new forms of life. But with that power comes overwhelming responsibility... and danger. See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

23 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Contact mortel See more »

Filming Locations:

La Crescenta, California, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$707,990, 25 August 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film should be much more highly regarded than it is. In essence, it is the scientifically relevant and somewhat accurate backstory to any "zombie film" since. Case in point is the discussion of the Borna virus, where infections spread rapidly through localized equine populations killing hundreds of those animals. The opportunity to gene-splice and weaponize the virus has been discussed in scientific papers which are easily found today since the advent of the internet. See more »


At 1:34:01, as the antennas automatically fold up on the roof of the command center, a hand can be seen reaching up and catching one. See more »


Dr. Dan Fairchild: What do you think I am, a lab animal, gonna foam at the mouth? Get over here!
See more »


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »


Joanie Forced To Talk
Performed and composed by Craig Safan
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User Reviews

The government are up to no good… what's new?
24 December 2009 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

Durably taut, but rather restraint little low-budget biological thriller that sees a group of scientists quarantined inside a building when a deadly chemical agent they're working on is accidentally released, causing them to become violently homicidal. Caught in the middle of it is a lady security guard, who might just hold the answer for a vaccine, as she seems unaffected.

Confidently directed, thoughtfully written (as it could be seen as a minor blue print for "Resident Evil") and exemplary performed, but "Warning Sign" seems to go by unnoticed, despite it's considerably gripping and unnerving progression. Their low-scale origin is probably what tips it in that forgotten category, because it's not excitingly barnstorming in its thrills or cast. Nonetheless it bestows moments of furious intensity and compact suspense… in what feels like a waiting game after not taking all that long to get into it. The acting led perfectly pitched by Kathleen Quinlan, Sam Waterston, Jeffrey DeMunn, Richard Dysart, G.W. Bailey and Yaphet Kotto. Craig Safan chips away with an ominously airy electronic score. Director Hal Barwood well measured style, ably operates with his actors in constructing a real fearful mood inside the building, but also making the air outside just as dangerously on-edge. When it came to its irony enclosed ending, it felt a little out of place and rather forced than what it naturally built-up.

An earnest, but well engineered sci-fi / horror outing that's more than your simple filler.

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