Random Film of the Week(end): Killdozer!

I’ve never trusted machines much even though like most of you, I tend to take them all for granted. Heck, we built those stupid machines (and even built the robots that build most machines today), so it’s not like they’re going to NOT do what we want them to like a mistreated pet suddenly turning on its owner, right? RIGHT? Wrong. Granted, plenty of industrial and freak accidents claim some while humans using machines constructed for menial to major tasks to kill other humans has been a thing ever since man started inventing and building stuff. Someone gets mad enough or crazy enough and even the most innocent looking tool gets used to do someone in, usually in a pretty messy manner. If Lizzie Borden had say, an old rolling pin instead of an axe, she might have merely lumped up her parents and not hacked them to bits. Even with an axe, bad aim is still pretty deadly…

Of course, add alien interference to the mix and you get the worst sort of killing machine – one you can’t stop merely by pulling the plug, calling for assistance or getting as far away as humanly possible. Universal’s 1974 ABC TV movie, Killdozer! was one I saw way back when it was first shown and it stuck with me for years. Every time I came upon a construction site, I ended up crossing the street or going out of my way to find a new route. Now, I just laugh at this one because it’s a nostalgic relic that got a new lease on life, strangely enough, after yet another human took it upon himself to use a machine for purposes it was never intended for…

Adapted from a 1944 novella by Theodore Sturgeon, the film is about a construction crew on a small island off the coast of Africa who have to deal with a alien-possessed bulldozer trying to do them in. Yes, it’s cheesy fun today, but back in 1974, this one was kind of frightening to some of us kids. Especially those of us who had those big and heavy metal Tonka trucks that you could probably kill someone with if you swung them hard enough. Anyway, this one’s 73 minutes of tension, mean dying off by a few bulldozery means and a showdown for the ages. Well, not really – the pissed off piece of construction equipment is tamed for good by some more man-made ingenuity someone should have thought of sooner if they weren’t screaming and dying and running away. But it works excellently well for the pre-computer era where this flick would have been over in under ten minutes because someone would have just downloaded an app and used that to control the killer Caterpillar.

(Thanks, CAT Products!)

The funny thing about this flick is, I’d bet that in the fake real life world this film takes place in, I can see all these macho he-men having to sit down and watch the infamous Shake Hands With Danger multiple times until it was seared into their brains. Of course, absolutely NOTHING in that classic work safety video mentioned an alien meteorite full of evil energy taking over a rig and turning it into a death weapon. Oops. Hmmm… I say someone should remake not only this flick, but Herk Harvey’s short film to include the possibility of “outside possession” as a potential hazard. Hey, this sort of “remote hacking” counts too.

Which means of course that I’ll be giving construction sites an even wider berth when I stumble around town. Like maybe a few blocks worth of space. Bulldozers can’t drive through a skyscraper or up the sides of buildings, but and alien possessed construction crane or three means “there goes the neighborhood” and quite literally at that! Of course, I’m paranoid enough as it is, so I’m going to be the guy stating safe inside at home watching this flick on a loop while reading that old Marvel Comics adaptation while you’re all outside being terrorized by now-sentient machinery out to take over the planet.

-GW

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