Monday, December 26, 2011

"Killdozer!"(1974)d/Jerry London

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For the sake of made-for-television horror movies of the seventies, should an unknown alien intelligence possess a man-made instrument for diabolical purposes towards wiping out humankind on the planet Earth, it only stands to reason that it would inhabit the nearest diesel-powered D-9 bulldozer, capable of speeds upwards of twelve miles per hour...I'm guessing the producers of said entry had probably gone through several bottles of 1974 Cristal Brut Millesime and quaaludes by the handful to arrive at the idea of transforming a thirty year old Theodore Sturgeon novella into the 'Saturday Suspense Movie' on ABC, hoping modern audiences would stay glued to the wood grain floor model Zenith, buying into the idea that tv's macho types like Clint Walker and Robert Urich could be terrorized by a killer bulldozer.Yeah, a bulldozer, the bulky, immobile piece of machinery most people should be able to briskly power walk away from, only a damned fool would be unable to see the immeasurable genre potential here.Alan Alda and Randolph Mantooth simply didn't measure up against this blockbuster in the 8:30 pm timeslot.In all honesty, I probably appreciated the production more as a four year old in footie pajamas watching with my parents from the living room rug.In fact, I know I did, having christened my Tonka 'Killdozer' directly afterwards and forevermore.I don't think I even bothered with it much before I realized I could play-kill everyone in my imaginatively dark adventures with the damned thing.If you're currently laughing at how retarded the premise sounds, but thought nothing of buying a ticket to Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive twelve years later, give yourself a crackin' headbutt in the face from me, would you.
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The plummetting meteor hurled towards the prop globe at breakneck speed...
...it's destination, a remote island in the Pacific where some caterwauling hardhats attempt to shift it with their D9, awakening an alien intelligence inside the hunk of space rock, which then possesses the excavator as evidenced by the blue glow of each.Mack(Robert Urich) screams in terror, but for him, it's already too late, as his hardhat and ironic working-class name are no match for the radiation poisoning he's been fatally dosed with.He sputteringly manages to warn Kelly(Clint Walker), the foreman, about the bulldozer before his curtain drops.Naturally, Kelly initially scoffs at the notion that he and his crew are currently being systematically stalked by an evil bulldozer...or killdozer, if you will, but that's exactly what's happenin', Jackson.Forget that the earthmover's already slow traction is further prohibited by the island's sand, or that diesel fuel evaporates with usage, or that the loud-assed engine doesn't really allow for stealthy ops, these guys are effed with a capital F and there ain't no two ways about it.In the workers' favor, is the fact that when the killdozer is on the hunt, it's twin headlights eerily flash like animate eyes and an appropriately wacky synth-based Killdozer theme is played.Now, how could you miss something like that, I ask you.It's virtually impossible to fall prey to a big, clunky machine, right?Right??
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Paying the bills isn't all Judy Landers' sequined mam-missiles and red '57 T-Birds afterall, eh, Urich?
The black dude, Al(James Watson, Jr.), unwittingly finds himself hiding from Killdozer inside some metal piping directly in the evil earthmover's bloody path.Nice one, homeboy.Never to be outdone, Clyde stalls his car out, and instead of bailing out and making a run for it, he remains in the vehicle(right in front of the bulldozer) and repeatedly tries to turn the engine over.Gonna miss you guys.Finally, with just Kelly and Holvig(Carl Betz) still breathing, the men put aside their differences and combine their vast intellects in combatting the big 'dozer together, after an uninspiring square-off with the crane proves fruitless, with dialogue like:"Heeeey, wait a minute.Of course ya can't kill a machine! Don'tcha see our mistake??""Yeaaaaah."They decide that electrocution is the ticket for ol' Killy, then lure it into the generator-rigged trap, flicking the switch and watching it burst into flames as its devilish headlights finally flicker out for the last time.Got 'im!Afterwards, Holvig suggests that they tell the authorities their co-workers perished in a landslide, but Kelly nixes that idea."Nope.", he says."You gotta tell the truth."The truth of the matter is, I'm pretty relieved that this whole affair is finally over.Roll credits.
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The bulldozer turns in the best performance here.Just look at the grim pathos on it's face.
Director London helmed episodes of Kojak, Marcus Welby, Baretta, Six Million Dollar Man, Harry O, Police Woman, Hawaii Five-O, and any other seventies shows worth mentioning, as well as the Shogun miniseries, which he bagged Emmys for.Killdozer remains unrecognized to this day.Walker would turn up in the made-for-tv Scream of the Wolf the same year, as well as 1977's Snowbeast, also a tv production.Urich went on to marry Heather Menzies of Sssssss(1974) and Piranha(1978) fame, and had a lengthy television career on shows like Vega$ and Spenser:For Hire before succumbing to cancer in 2002.Let's just hope everyone involved with this production moved on to bigger and better things.Of course, everybody knows there's nothing to be afraid of where construction equipment is concerned, unless you happen to be operating it under the influence of potentially deadly lithium crystals, or something.Emptyheaded(To call a Caterpillar sneaking up on somebody a stretch is an understatement, for sure) and lethargic in delivering the grainy VHS-ripped goods, 'dozer's brisk running time(just 74 minutes) allows for a singular stomp down memory lane, if nothing else.On the scale, it earns just one Wop from your favorite Terex Titan of genre reviews.Late!
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"Die from cigarettes?There's more chance of a bulldozer sneaking up on me..."
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1 comment:

patrick lordoew said...

I noticed these places had this on dvd Thanks

www.dvdsentertainmentonline.com/product/killdozer-dvd-tv-robert-urich-clint-walker-1974

www.vendio.com/stores/OldTimeMoviesandTV/item/killdozer-dvd-tv-robert-urich-/lid=24221148

 
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