Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Killdozer - 1974

It’s crazy to think this movie is over 40 years old now.  It doesn’t look bad.  The cars they drive are all jeeps and construction equipment; all of the vehicles haven’t changed much in 40 years.  Still all big, yellow, anonymous machines.  That, and the fact that it’s filmed on an island and thus we don’t see any towns, signs, etc., makes it feel like this hasn’t aged badly. 

The aging factors to this movie are mostly in the small details, the ridiculous font titles that come on as the credits roll, and the occasional time you can see some of the men are wearing bell bottom pants.  That, and the soundtrack.  The minimalist, all synth score is a thing of beauty, truly.  So over the top and abstract, that sounds like someone noodling around on a Moog or something similar.  The composer Gil Melle was not stranger to soundtracks, so I wonder what his inspiration for this soundtrack really was.  He is also the composer for another made for TV movie I own, “The President’s Plane is Missing”.

The first shot of this cult movie is an asteroid speeding towards Africa, then the shot of an island. Construction on an island off the coast of Africa is underway.   A ragtag group of construction men are busy building a site for a drilling crew.  The asteroid seen in the first shot has landed on the beach and when they hit it with a bulldozer, a blue light from the asteroid transfers to the bulldozer.  A construction crewman observing this somehow gets injured by it, and dies after telling another crewman supervisor Kelly about the light he saw.  Of course, Kelly doesn’t believe him.  However, the dozer is now infested with whatever the light was, and after trying to drive the dozer and experiencing a loss of control, he knows something is wrong.

So the crew mourns the death of the crewman, and Kelly orders the dozer inspected.  It is at this time they notice the dozer makes a slight ringing sound coming from the blade.  Kelly orders that the machine should not be used in the field.  The dozer is soon turned back on again by another unknowing crewman and it destroys the only radio the men have to contact anyone off the island.  Then when the crewman who started the dozer jumps off of it later, the dozer chases him and kills him.  Kelly, again, is the only witness to this happening.  It is at this time that Kelly tells the remaining 3 guys about the dozer killing the men.

Long story short, after Kelly tells the other guys, it become man versus machine, and the machine definitely holds its own for the majority of the film.

The script is pretty minimal and tight.  The length of only 73 minutes means that everything happens pretty fast.  The movie does a good job with pacing, the first 20 minutes fly by.  It’s an interesting, actually very well done film.  It does contain some cheesy dialog and ideas, however.  The three guys left on the island each have their moments when they can really ham it up.

One of the lines Kelly says is:  “It’s too heavy to hang, it’s too big to put in the gas chamber”.  Yeah Kelly, and it also doesn’t have lungs nor does it have a neck….  Great job guys.  The dozer itself is pretty cool.  The front blade is threatening looking, and the dozer has two little lights that almost look like eyes, especially when they change in brightness levels. 

But tell me that this shot isn't cool.  It’s not a bad movie!  It definitely deserves it’s following.

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