So drab it sat on a shelf for nearly 10 years after being completed, The Astral Factor is a thriller about an imprisoned murderer who masters paranormal skills including astral projection and invisibility. Armed with these new abilities, he escapes jail and begins killing women who testified against him. Despite this colorful premise, The Astral Factor offers nothing of interest except for the presence of attractive B-level actresses. The acting is lifeless, the direction is amateurish, and the story is as dull as it is insipid. Robert Foxworth tries to add a little swagger to his leading role as the cop tasked with tracking down the paranormal psycho, but since the climax of the picture involves him shooting an M-16 at the empty space where he imagines the unseen murderer to be, it’s not as if Foxworth ever really had the option of retaining his dignity. Playing the killer, Frank Ashmore is so bland he barely exists onscreen; Ashmore spends most of his time scowling in way that makes him seem constipated instead of homicidal. The various lovelies decorating the movie fare even worse. Marianna Hill appears for one scene as a shrewish actress, while Stefanie Powers appears at regular intervals as Foxworth’s bimbo girlfriend. (Powers’ character refers to herself in the third person, so she makes perky announcements like, “And now, Candy is gonna cook you a birthday dinner!”) Playing the largest female role, a robotic Elke Sommer struts around in bikinis and other revealing outfits during her “performance” as a sexed-up eyewitness. It’s all a tease, however, because The Astral Factor lacks genuine titillation in the same way it lacks genuine suspense. When The Astral Factor was finally released in the mid-’80s—going straight to video, of course—it was retitled The Invisible Strangler. By any name, it’s junk.
The Astral Factor: SQUARE