Saturday, June 4, 2016

Killdozer (1974)

          Enjoyably stupid escapism with more than a tip of the hat to the iconic, Steven Spielberg-directed Duel (1971), this made-for-TV sci-fi thrilller is about exactly what its title suggests: a bulldozer that kills. The narrative justification for this premise is almost laughably lazy, because a meteor falls to earth, and when the blade of the bulldozer strikes the rock, a field of blue energy transfers from the meteor to the machine. Presto-chango, the heavy equipment is possessed! And that’s nearly all the story the film provides, notwithstanding some lip-service material about how the protagonist, a construction-crew foreman, puts efficiency over safety and therefore is slow to react once several mysterious deaths occur. (Well, mysterious to the characters, anyway—we, the viewers, see the Killdozer causing the deaths.) Fitting the lunkheaded nature of this movie, the leading man is 1950s TV star Clint Walker, an amiable man-mountain whom none would ever mistake for an avatar of dramatic nuance. Other members of the sausage-party cast include reliable tough guy Neville Brand and versatile TV thesp Robert Urich.
          As for the plot, it’s so thin as to barely merit description. Lloyd Kelly (Walker) supervises a small crew tasked with clearing land for an airstrip on a remote island in the Pacific. Naturally, this means the men are isolated between visits from supply boats, so once things get screwy, they’re on their own. After the aforementioned close encounter between the bulldozer and the meteor, the titular mechanical monster starts Killdozing, although the first few incidents take place while the victims are alone, hence the time it takes for survivors to correctly assign blame. After that happens, the Killdozer goes into full attack mode, destroying the work camp and with it the survivors’ supplies. Watching the film, it’s impossible not to wonder why the men don’t simply retreat to high ground and stay there until help arrives, but in the realm of dopey genre pictures, it’s better to go with the flow. Otherwise, the viewer would be denied the pleasure of watching survivors try to outwit the Killdozer. Chew on that one for a minute—and if you like the taste, then seek out Killdozer for 74 minutes of brain-cell-murdering silliness. If not, give this baby a wide berth.

Killdozer: FUNKY


Peter L. Winkler said...

Later remade as the equally stupid The Car.

Eric Gilliland said...

Maybe this one inspired Stephen King to write Christine!

Rich said...

Aw man, I LOVE "The Car!"