Nov 3, 2011


Only due to a strange blue hue emanating from a restless meteorite does Killdozer take sentience and proceed to pick off its blue collar victims one by one. Directed by Jerry London, one who could easily be considered an inner-company chameleon in the television industry, Killdozer represents all the knowledge accumulated at this point in his career while still reflecting just how much he wasn't privy to. Taking a talented cast of rugged actors, some even iconic, London weaves sick desperation through a patchwork quilt of a sci-fi tale that concerns its biggest obstacle as an "aware" and malevolent bulldozer that seeks nothing but extermination of those who awakened and fed its discourse. Now, given the material granted by Theodore Sturgeon in the form of pulp patronage, Killdozer's cinematic cousin can only tread so far before its fuel supply ceases to feed its starved mechanized workings. The reason behind Killdozer's refuse-to-die cult attitude is surely based on marquee jests. That, and Conan O'Brien's meticulous slip of the tongue. How could one not chuckle at the mere mention of Killdozer, as I had when I heard of Death Bed as well as comedian Patton Oswald before me. Film like this serves more duties as an oasis of punchlines hardly tapped than of something considered recreational annulment. These projects are crude comedy resources just waiting to be harvested, really. Had Killdozer been born with humor in mind then maybe the tale would fare differently. Nobody enjoys self-aware shit unless they've got non-conformity on the mind. With London's ability to pick up a television episode at random and direct with iconoclasm in mind - breaking down a once unique vision of primetime luster in order to continue the assembly line of case and trial comes the soul-stretching remnants of something so moderate and tasteless in execution that it becomes near impossible to categorize. Such is the case for Killdozer; an example of a film living in the shadow of its title.

Starting off strong with dead-sight of the meteorite hurtling towards earth almost clumsily, you get the implication that simple serenity wouldn't last on Earth. Civilization would occur in the future, guaranteeing not a short enough rest from the dark abscess of space. But London quickly and briefly abandons the science-fiction badge for the camaraderie and destruction-loving nature of a group of working class construction workers on a Pacific island. Soon after the opening credits are we "treated" to the origins of our catty tractor come-to-life in a quick spurt of virility as man controls machine all too forcefully. As soon as you know it, dozer blade meets rock and sets to course the vindictive nature of the non-material being while simultaneously fatally poisoning the one worker not situated behind the drivers seat. Alien radiation is the only cause of death up for assumption at this point in time. Not before long is when the subtle hysteria kicks in as we watch an often unmanned piece of machinery trample radios, tents, the basic necessities for off-civilization survival, leaving only a handful of perturbed men feigning superstition and hanging on to bare threads of earthly exceptions. After all, that's one thing that makes up the sometimes grand essence of horror/terror - those earthly exceptions - that moment in time we all submit to when nothing can be ruled out. Not to say that your lifetime will include made-for-TV sobriety or a rough tumble act of gymnastics while trying to outrun a remarkably slow killing machine, but this aspect of horror is the last thing one can really cling on to anymore for an effect - which doesn't include a vast amount of differing mutilations. That's really just medical pornography mixed with big-breasted track and field - here's looking at you, slasher films.

During this moment in the Killdozer canon is when the string of continued denial of otherworldly interference becomes tiresome and the short-supply of charm becomes noticeably absent. After witnessing friend after friend fall victim to Killdozer, always in an unbelievable and idiotic fashion (who would hide from a rampant machine in a thin pipe just begging to be crushed?) to the heavy metal plate adorned by the crawling constructor, the denizens of Killdozer's wrath continue to play transparent as to what is occurring. In such an age where people toy with the idea of world-ending disasters and various notes of apocalypse daily, one would think the feeble mind of man would collapse easier than Lloyd Kelly's - leader of the outfit and a disbeliever to the very end (I don't count his scripted acknowledgment, that bastard was too stubborn to turncoat so swiftly). Even at just an hour and nine minutes does the runtime of Killdozer weigh in deep to my dormant filmic narcolepsy. I in turn washed my sorrow away with early morning liquor which only furthered a bad day. A film that drones on as slow as Killdozer should be put to death without trial. I accept fully the label of novelty to Killdozer's name but refuse to acquiesce to the misinformed opinion that is "Killdozer rocks!" Killdozer is not hip, cool, underrated, or amazing. You will not feel better about enjoying it unless you grew up with the film and in turn, allowed it to affect your impressionable mind. Killdozer is slow and painful, a brain-death as agonizing and embarrassing as allowing your friends to know just what you've finished watching. It's not that I hate Killdozer. My negativity is more due to the fact that I hate myself for not stopping while I was ahead and playing something else, anything else. As long as something actually occurred would my spirit rest easy. Stick to snippets for this long-term poisonous experience in dry cinematic mediocrity.



jervaise brooke hamster said...

"That D-9er cost 90...", i always remembered that line. I wish Soiled Sinema would reveiw films like this all the time, pure magic, shame about the directors surname though.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I wish every geezer in the world could be like Clint Walker, all-American, rampagingly heterosexual, and still alive at the age of 84.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Perhaps its time to reveiw a few more classic TV movies, "Surviving" (1985) for instance.

665+1 said...

Downloaded this on account of being a fan of Killdozer the band ("Going to the Beach" is as good as it gets). Thanks for sparing me the effort of slogging through it!