This one threw me off a little, but not necessarily in a bad way.
My expectation for this one going in was that it would be good, wholesome, schlocky fun. And by that I of course mean I expected it to be really really bad.
And it kind of was…
But it also kind of…wasn’t?
The film opens with a meteorite falling from outer space. So far, no new ground has been tread. But the meteorite lands on an uninhabited island. The opening shots of the film are actually fairly beautiful. The picture quality, camera work, and editing are pretty clean all the way through. I appreciated the unique setting. Not that islands filled with danger were unfamiliar horror tropes–they did make a few of those. But there are no mad scientists or giants bugs here (not that there’s anything wrong with those things). Here we have a group of construction workers who are building an airstrip for an oil company. It’s not five teens going to a cabin in the woods, or to “the point” to make out. Though, again, there is nothing wrong with those things. But it’s nice to get a look at a group of people you don’t see every day, doing something you don’t hear about every day.
When a bulldozer blade smashes into the meteorite we saw earlier in the film, a blue, alien energy is transferred from the rock to the dozer, causing it to come to life and go after the workers, killing them off one by one.
There’s a definite, not-as-good The Thing vibe to this movie. You have the alien entity. You have a cast of characters doing a particular, interesting job in a very remote place–their isolation plays a direct role in the plot, adding a great deal of tension to the film. The acting isn’t award-worthy, but it’s passable. The characters are clearly defined, and there is tension between them from the very beginning. This tension is exacerbated by the introduction of the possessed dozer, so that even when the dozer attacks are anticlimactic, suspense is maintained by the character conflicts. You have the overbearing boss, the cold, calculating cowboy, the man on the edge of madness after losing his best friend, and one or two characters constantly working to keep the peace between these more volatile characters. For a made for TV movie from 1974 about a bulldozer possessed by an alien, Killdozer is pretty damn good.
She Who Wears the Flesh of Her Enemies has made her decree: