A Movie Review by Robert Long II ©2016
Starring Tom Griffith, Richard Dyszel, Don Leifert, Mary Mertens, Richard Geiwitz, George Stover, Eleanor Herman, Anne Frith, Christopher Gummer, Don Dohler, Dave Ellis, Margie Van Tassell, Tony Malanowski, Debbie Pietron, William Cosentino, Rick Cosentino, Greg Dohler, Kim Pfeiffer, Joey Merenda, Ann Hanks, Lon Talbot, Glenn Barnes, Jack Campbell, Daniel White, Britt McDonough, William L. Brown, Cathy Oldaker, Donna Foster, Toni Watcheski, Ed Watcheski, Johnny Walker, Larry Schlechter, John Cosentino
Music by Kenneth Walker
Cinematography by Britt McDonough
Film Editing by Don Dohler and Dave Ellis
Makeup Department: John Cosentino, Britt McDonough, Larry Schlechter
Second Unit Director/Assistant Director Tony Malanowski
Special Effects by Bill Cosentino, John Cosentino, Ernest D. Farino, Britt McDonough, Ted Rae, Larry Schlechter
Visual Effects by Ernest D. Farino
Produced and Directed by Don Dohler
Story Synopsis: A spaceship containing alien specimens for an intergalactic zoo crashes on Earth near a small town. The animals escape, and soon the town folk are dying off, one-by-one. It’s up to the local police and a stranger by the name of Zachary to track the beasts down before more innocent lives are lost. This is the first feature for Baltimore filmmaker Don Dohler.
Wow, this is the independent movie that has never lost steam. Because it came out roughly at the same time as the original STAR WARS, THE ALIEN FACTOR has been celebrated around the world for nearly 40 years. It has appeared in numerous science fiction and monster magazines, inspired countless filmmakers, and as of only a couple of years ago, it got a hilarious-but-loving send up by CINEMATIC TITANIC. And now – thanks to Fred Olen Ray of Retromedia – it has a spectacular blu-ray release.
The most phenomenal thing to point out is that the image is just INCREDIBLE. Taken from a 16mm print in very good condition, the image is color corrected and sharpened to the point of being crystal clear. Keep in mind the VHS and DVD transfers in the past; this transfer leaves those completely in the dust.
The aspect ratio has been cropped from its 4:3 frame to 16:9 wide screen. To be honest, it was done so well I didn’t notice the top and bottom cropping. Purists may be disappointed that this was done. If they still have the DVD version, they may want to hold on to them just for the correct aspect ratio.
The sound is fairly clear as well (compared to earlier releases). Nice clean up on the mono track and the dialog and soundtrack packs a lot of punch. Once again kudos to Retromedia for doing such a fantastic job on restoring the elements to the cult classic film.
The other area that Fred Olen Ray excelled in was giving the Blu-ray an incredible amount of extras. Partnering up with actor George Stover, this addition of the movie has been released filled to the brim with goodies. the first would be that the movie has a tremendous commentary track, featuring 15 members of THE ALIEN FACTOR’s cast and crew. No one overlaps one another so the remarks are easy to make out, and a lot of fun, detailed information is brought forth about this production. Since Don Dohler had passed, George Stover gives the viewer some information about Don during the commentary as well.
The next bonus feature of note is a modern retrospective with several members of the cast and crew. Done in alphabetical order, there are several interviews that give a great look into what this film means to the individuals that were involved with it, and what part they played.
Another extra is a look at the 1993 ALIEN FACTOR reunion. This is basically a Q & A session of the cast with the audience. In attendance was Don Leifert, George Stover, Dave Ellis, Anne Frith, Richard Dyszel, and Chris Gummer. Well worth the watch!
Another cool extra is that we get THE ALIEN FACTOR – the television years. This section includes an episode of CREATURE FEATURE starring Count Gore De Vol (Richard Dyszel) interviewing filmmaker Don Dohler about his new (then) sci-fi spectacular ALIEN FACTOR.
The viewer also gets a six minute tour with George Stover as he shows off some of the original props, art, and costumes from the movie. It’s great that these items have survived after all these years.
Always fun are blooper reels, and this one doesn’t disappoint. running a few minutes, it shows that the cast and crew had a good sense of humor about themselves when things go wrong on the set.
The final extra is the deleted Leemoid scene that was done by Britt McDonough. It is narrated by Britt himself, and he talks about how he constructed and animated the creature.
FINAL RATING: 10/10 SPACE ALIENS. This movie has always had a lot of heart and elbow grease behind it, and is a lot of fun to watch. There is a reason why this has been a beloved cult classic for so many years. From the low budget to the sheer creativeness of everyone involved, this movie just does not slow down. The fact that Retromedia did such a beautiful restoration of the film is just the added delicious, gooey icing on top of an already yummy cake. Oh, and the first 1,000 copies are signed by actor George Stover. DO NOT LET THIS ONE SLIP THROUGH YOUR FINGERS!
In order to pick up this fantastic movie, click on the image below: