Friday, February 15, 2013

KILLDOZER (1974) movie review

d. London, Jerry (USA)

TV-movie notable for predating 1977’s The Car in the pantheon of possessed pedal pushers, although in this case it’s not that pesky Satan behind the wheel but a kind of extraterrestrial blue light that endows the titular heavy equipment (upon making contact with a recently unearthed meteorite) with a murderous mean streak. Clint Walker, as the foreman of a construction crew assigned to create a landing strip on an isolated Pacific island, plays his role with a steel jaw and stone face, ruthlessly pushing his frantic crew (including Neville Brand, Carl Betz, and a pre-Vega$ Robert Urich) to continue their efforts while they are bumped off one by one.

In addition to its snappy title and high (if lowbrow) concept, Gil Melle’s insistent “boo-weer-boo-weer” electronic score sets teeth on edge as the biomechanical behemoth starts rockslides, levels campsites, and anticipates its human adversaries’ every move. The penultimate action set piece, pitting a steam shovel against the demonic ‘dozer, takes the silver medal to Dinosaurus! when it comes to machinery melees, but remains amusing enough. Fun in a '70s 3rd grader kind of way, especially with Ed MacKillop and Theodore Sturgeon’s cornball dialogue (based on Theodore Sturgeon's novella) greasing the treads.

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