Monday, July 21, 2014

The Alien Factor - Extraterrestrial Zoo Escape

The Alien Factor
Directed by Don Dohler
Written by Don Dohler
Starring: Don Leifert, Tom Griffith & Richard Dyszel 

Unrated - Approx. 80 Minutes

- They brought terror from beyond our galaxy!

Alternate Titles:

Skrekken fra rommet (Terror from the Room) Norway

"She's in shock, Bert, she didn't say ANYTHING!"
                                                                             - Sheriff Cinder

 I love Regional Horror.  To me there's nothing better than when a group of people get themselves together and make a movie simply because they love doing it.  There is an immediate tactile sense to the whole thing, and for my money Hollywood can never beat it.  Even more so, I love the films of Don Dohler.  You can tell that he absolutely loves his films....almost to a fault.  I'm getting ahead of myself though.

That's an interesting spacecraft you got there......not very aerodynamic though...

Aliens wear jeans apparently....

The Alien Factor starts with a young couple making out in their car, which is parked in a field in the middle of winter during the day.  As if that isn't odd enough, an insectoid alien drags the guy out of his car window and mauls him...the girl booking it and getting out of dodge, leaving Romeo behind to get the ol' extraterrestrial pulled pork treatment.  

The local Sheriff thinks that it's a wild animal attack.  He brings the girl and her mangled boyfriend to (I guess) the local hospital (which looks suspiciously like someones house) where a doctor and her assistant (George Stover!) perform an autopsy on the body.  Meanwhile, Mayor Wicker (who is apparently not respected by anyone because they all just call him Bert) is worried that this is going to affect his entertainment park plans for the town.  

What's an alien flick without rednecks going out to hunt them?

There are more mysterious deaths including a fella who is apparently rapidly aged.  Dr Sherman thinks that it may be an advanced case of Progeria (a disease that appears to rapidly age it's victims).  We know better though, because we've seen the insectoid alien as well as a tall furry thing with pincers in it's mouth.  Ew.  

Enter Ben Zachary, a mysterious fellow who offers to help, claiming that he studies the occult, extraterrestrials, etc.  With no other ideas or options, Wicker and Sheriff Cinder employ his help, hoping to rid themselves of this menace.  The Sheriff and Zachary hike out into the woods and discover the downed UFO.  Zachary then starts to receive a psychic message from an alien that's lying dying nearby.  The alien divulges information about the escaped creatures.  At this point Zachary tells the Mayor and Sheriff that he can rid them of the alien problem, but he has to work alone.  

The Insectoid Alien says HELLO!!!!!!

Bigfoot is an understatment!  Look at the size of those things!

Supposedly the deadliest of the aliens....also the cutest.

The ending of the movie is cliched on one hand....but I also didn't see it coming the first time I watched it way back when.  I'm not sure if that's due to the fact that I was watching it at 3am or if the acting is so stiff and wonky that you just can't read emotions, but at any caught me off guard the first time.

A word of warning:  The Alien Factor is not a film for beginners.  What I mean is this:  If you are a lover of "bad" movies, there's a lot to love here.  Everything from the creative low budget alien effects to the hilariously over the top 70's band performing in a local bar is a B to Z Grade movie buff's dream.  If you are just getting into it though, you may want to get your feet wet with another film.  The Alien Factor can be quite talky at times.  Then there's the extended shots of people running around the Maryland woods in the middle of winter.  You really get a sense that Dohler was in love with the images he had put on scene and was reluctant to cut them from the film...hence you have a three minute sequence of someone just wandering around the woods.  This is what I meant when I said that he may have loved his films to a fault.

If I was Sheriff....I'd rock out bad-ass sideburns too!

Ooooh, Bert.  

The Mysterious Mr. Zachary.

There's not a whole heck of a lot of the red stuff, but there are a few dead bodies hanging around.  The guy who get's his lifeforce sucked out (that's the progeria looking guy) is pretty cool.  There's a few shots of the red stuff here and there, but not a whole heck of a lot.

Sorry guys, there's more flesh on display in most Disney movies.

The whole reason to watch this flick!  The aliens are all varied and pretty cool.  The insectoid is a humanoid bug.  It's a like a very low budget precursor to the Judas Roaches in Mimic!  Then there's the big furry one.  He's got goat like legs (though the feet are big weird three toed thingies) and sorta looks like Bigfoot had a love child with a bug.  There's an alien that looks like a Sasquatch got turned inside out and then put on a pair of jeans (!?) and finally a giant lizard type alien that is stop motion animated in the film.

I want to be in this band in the worst way

As I said above, this one is a little rough going in parts and I wouldn't recommend it for bad film novices.  However, if you love these types of films and you want to see some truly wonky acting and some good ol' fashioned cinematic ingenuity (some of the forced perspective shots of the UFO's are really very good) then you can't go wrong.  You've gotta love the sheer wackiness of the whole thing.  Also, there's that awesome band.  




  1. I friggin' love The Alien Factor. If you've never seen it, seek out Blood, Boobs, And Beast (2007). It's a documentary about Don Dohler. The disc is a little pricey now, but it's on Amazon Instant for $2.99. Regional horror rules all!

  2. I do believe i Have Blood, Boobs and Beast in my collection somewhere, though I haven't watched it yet. I will have to pull it out and give it a go! Glad to know there are other Dohler fans out there! Have you seen Alien Factor 2? I've been meaning to watch it for some time now. If you get a chance, check out "Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990: A State-by-State Guide with Interviews" by Brian Albright. Fantastic book!

    1. I've actually scoped out that book before, but I've never purchased a copy because it's one of those that stays kind of pricey. That being said, it's pretty much the only book I've ever run across about the subject. I generally buy a book or two for Pre'Ween each year, so maybe this will be the year. I've already planned on getting Phantasm Exhumed by Dustin McNeill. And no, I haven't seen Alien Factor 2. Can it possibly live up to the expectations created by The Alien Factor?

  3. I highly recommend the book. The interviews with the directors are fantastic and really give insight into the DIY spirit these films have. I particularly liked the interview with J.R. Bookwalter for The Dead Next Door. Prices on Amazon right now are running around the $40 mark. The Kindle version is running a little less at $24.
    I need to get me some new horror books, myself.....

    I doubt that AF2 can live up to the low budget bliss of the original, but dang it, I'm gonna give it a shot anyway!