October 30, 2009

The Alien Factor

This one popped up, every now and then, on the Saturday afternoon creature feature. Don Dohler's "The Alien Factor" (1976) was shot around Baltimore and, judging by the on-screen results, cost around $80.00. I'm not knocking it, there's a sense of honest, blue collar craftsmanship to these old, low budget schlock fests that is painfully absent from today's direct to DVD or made for the Sci-fi network sleeping pills. The artwork below is actually from the old VHS sleeve that always caught my eye at the video store near my house (I remember it had a green sticker, meaning it was suitable for all ages.)

But believe me, the box art only hints at all the chocolaty goodness at the center of this movie. Wooden acting, garbled sound, poor lighting, cheap effects; it's all there, kids. And best of all, a menagerie of some of the goofiest monsters this side of Sid & Marty Krofft.

This guy is my favorite, It's some kind of Bigfoot-ish creature with extra long legs. On film, it looks like fake fur wrapped around a pair of Romper Stompers.

Then there's this dreamboat from the planet of the skinless people (actually, the reveal of this monster was a pretty effective sequence. It had me hiding behind the La-Z-boy.)

I know it's a generational thing, but I will always champion films like this (Legend of Boggy Creek, Shriek of the Mutilated) against the wretched studio blandness that crowds the shelves at Best Buy. Because, despite their limitations, They were labours of love from genuine film fans and they always entertained.


  1. Tim: I have to admit after your write-up, I'm dying to see this! It sounds great. I love the screen shot of the monster walking across the lawn. It actually looks kind of scary! I'm in. -- Mykal

  2. Make sure to get into a 70's frame of mind for it. It's best appreciated from a ratty denim bean-bag chair with a bottle of Frosty root beer and a can of Pringles. Also, it helps the mood to have your sister in the next room blaring her stupid England Dan & John Ford Coley. Periodically yell "Mom! Make her turn that crap down! I'm trying to watch TV!" Seriously, Retromedia put out a decent DVD in 2002, if you can still find it.


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SketchUp/Screw-up by Timothy P. Butler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.