The Galaxy Invader (1985)

Galaxy Invader

Written and Directed by Don Dohler

Tagline: “Alien menace terrorizes trailer-trash rednecks!”

Run Time: 79 minutes


Oh, and yes, the title shot is off center in the film.

I owe a quick shot of thanks to Karl for generously gifting me a wonderful cache of crappy films, namely, the 50 film Sci-Fi <cough cough> Classic box set. It is a true gold mine of horrid little productions that run the gamut of charmingly absurd ("Cosmos: War of the Planets") to utterly unwatchable ("Kong Island"). It just so happened that one of the movies in the set happened to coincide nicely with the theme of this round table, i.e., pathetic alien invasions. In fact, the ambitiously uncreative title of "Galaxy Invader" fit pleasantly with the roundtable theme as well…so selecting this film was a no-brainer.

I’d like to warn anybody even thinking about watching this film to be warned: This film lacks all charm or appeal. Better yet let me put it this way: It sucks.

"The Galaxy Invader" plods along from one scene to the next while bland paper-thin characters shout their lines at each other in an effort to get through the shot so they can get back to their real jobs. In fact, this movie was one of the tougher movies I’ve had to sit through…and if you’ve seen the Monster Shack Movie Index, that’s quite an accomplishment.

On a side note, director Don Dohler hails from legendary sleeze-cinema John Waters’ part of the country, i.e., back-woods Maryland and has, in fact, along with a few other actors in this movie, had bit parts in a couple of Waters’ earlier films. (Yes, John Waters made other movies before Hair Spray…if you haven’t seen them, then please promptly shut down your computer, send the wife and kids away for a long holiday and rent them all. You won’t be disappointed. Or maybe you will. But you will never forget them.) In a strange way, Waters’ influence is easily seen here, yet this Dohler film is a tedious trudge through a watered down imitation of a John Water’s movie, even worse, it’s without Divine’s unique stage presence or sophistication.

Galaxy InvaderOpen with a chintzy camera pan over a hand-drawn picture of the Earth followed by a cartoon meteor whizzing through space and smashing into our pretty blue planet. Cue the blue-texted ‘Casio Credits’, i.e., cheezy credits accompanied by that ubiquitous, characterless 80’s Casio synthesizer music that everybody went ape-shit over when they found out just how cheaply you could buy a Casio drum machine when they first appeared at the local Radio Shack. After a much too long exposure to the title song (my ears are bleeding), we cut to see some redneck kid, David, out for a drive in the middle of nowhere. (The aforementioned youth is played by Greg Dohler, son of director Don Dohler, and one of the many members of Clan Dohler that had a part in this film.) Oh, a cartoon meteor streaks out of the heavens, does a couple of loops (!) and then crashes into a forest not far from he curious youth.

A POV shot of somebody stumbling through the woods, and I assume it’s the alien’s POV because it’s accompanied by the foleyed sound of somebody breathing into a tin can, indicates that…We Have A Visitor! The Horror!

David races off and phones Dr. William Tracy, an old school professor and UFO buff…what are the odds? After listening to David’s awesomely bland description of the recent events, Dr. Tracy becomes convinced that this might be something worth investigating…well, duh. Dr. Tracy hops into his car and makes the 5 hour journey (!) to meet with David and take a look around the crash site. (I thought it was strange that the drive was so long. I mean, they explicitly mention that it’s a long drive and then they take the time to film them calculating when he’ll arrive, so you’d think that this was some sort of clunky plot point. But no, it never comes up again.)

Meanwhile, the Invader (for lack of a better name) sneaks into the basement of a local house. The house’s occupants hear a noise from the basement, go down to investigate and are quickly dispatched after a token struggle. This scene actually gives us our first glimpse of the woeful rubber monster. Not that I could do a better job at making a monster suit, but hey, this is one obvious Rubber Suit Monster. (Capital R, S, and M.) So, yeah. That chewed up some run time I suppose.

Cut to the Montague residence; a local White Trash family of a particularly loathsome pedigree. The families patriarch, Joe, is a vile alcoholic jerk that dominates his vapid daughters, Anne and Carol, and his equally revolting son, JJ. (Interestingly enough, JJ is played by George Stover, an active part-time actor who has graced the screen in several of John Waters’ earlier works and still appears in a steady dribble of low-budget DTV productions.) After some perfunctory characterization, and I use the term ‘characterization’ in the thinnest sense, Joe gets into an argument with Carol about her boyfriend Michael, and yadda yadda yadda, he ends up grabbing a shotgun and chasing her out of the house. Unfortunately for the viewer, this results in a pointless "foot chase" through the Maryland wilderness while somebody bangs away at a Casio keyboard. As you might expect, the scene’s participants end up discovering the Invader, who was standing behind a tree and watching the debacle.

"My God…what’s that?", JJ asks with as much enthusiasm as a nurse receiving a stool sample.

Galaxy Invader

Without missing a beat, Joe immediately fires his shotgun into the Invader’s side, causing our extraterrestrial visitor to drop a glowing white-ball-thinga-ma-bob onto the ground before running off.

"This thing here could be worth a lot of money!" Joe exclaims as he examines the alien artifact.

"But what’s it for?" asks JJ.

"It’s for something…I’m sure of that," replies the ever alert Joe Montague.

JJ runs home and returns with a wheel-barrow in order to cart away their newfound treasure.

Later that day, back at the delightful Montague estate, we discover that Joe has called local money-man, Frank, and suggested that through his connections they could sell the…thing…for a handsome price.

Galaxy Invader

Eager to show just how, er, valuable, this styrofoam ball, sorry, alien device, really is, Joe "switches it on" by tapping it with a long pole because it’s sooooooo dangerous. Or something. Anyway, the relic’s awesome powers are realized by exploding a wad of firecrackers that a stagehand had placed behind it before the cameras started rolling. Frank watches in mute amazement….much like myself, but for entirely different reasons. After this awesome display of extraterrestrial firepower, Frank realizes that capturing the "green man" who dropped the ball would be worth a hell of a lot more money than the ball itself. Joe agrees, and the two of them head off to the bar to hire some local yokels to form a posse and capture the alien down.

Galaxy Invader

Frank, Joe, JJ, and Vicki discussing the alien’s styrofoam ball, er, weapon

Before leaving for the bar Joe tells the dim-witted JJ to stay behind and keep an eye on the styrofoam ball, you know…just in case, or something. Unfortunately for JJ the alien has discovered the location of the ball and and attacks him from behind. After easily incapacitating JJ with a rubber-claw <whop> to the head, the alien recovers his ball and returns to the woods.

Meanwhile, at the local pub, Frank manages to round up a bunch of flannel-shirt wearing hicks to help hunt down "something" in the woods. Details are to be given out later that evening at the assembly point. Boy, the suspense.

Galaxy Invader

Recruitin’ one of them thar huntin’ posses

After the fascinating Hick-Bar Scene, Joe returns home and immediately notices JJ’s absence. A quick search reveals JJ’s unconscious form sprawled on the ground behind the garage, which probably happens quite often after a couple of drinks.

"The green man jumped me…it must have took the thing," a dazed JJ explains. After fully recovering his wits, JJ suggests to his father that they can recover the "thing" when they catch the "green man." Man, that’s some descriptive dialog, but hey, you get what you pay for.

Later that night, the Flannel Club For Men shows up with dogs in tow. The hunt is on! Woof! Woof!

Beer break.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tracy and David, remember them from the opening scene about a million years ago?, well, after stomping around the woods all evening without finding any sign of the alien, they decide to pop into the local pub to get a bite to eat. Lucky for them, Frank’s girlfriend, Vicki, is drunk at the bar and they overhear her bragging about how rich she’ll be when they catch the "space man". Dr. Tracy lures Vicki over to his booth with the lure of another drink, where she spills the beans about what Frank and the redneck posse are up to in the woods. Dr. Tracy and David quickly pay for their drinks and eagerly head out to try and find the alien before the rednecks get ahold of it.

Galaxy Invader

Unable to resist the allure of a can of beer, Vicki spills the beans

After yet another endless sequence of Rednecks Running Through the Woods shots, the posse spots the beast and gives chase while a’whooping and a’hollaring to wake the Devil. After running through the woods for a while (Excitement!), the alien manages to corner itself…in the woods. How in the hell he managed that is beyond me. I mean, how do you trap yourself in a bunch of trees? Anyway, with the styrofoam ball back in his possession once again, the alien quickly takes aim with his plastic pistol and fires at his pursuers. (Read: a shower of roman candles and sparklers. And yes, the special effects are that bad.) The camera cuts to reveal Dr. Tracy and David, surreptitiously observing from a nearby patch of bushes. I was going to try and figure out how they got there so fast, and to that exact position, but my head really hurts. I guess it’s a really, really, small forest.

Anyway, while the alien is gleefully zapping rednecks, Joe, Frank, and JJ manage to sneak up behind him and tie him up after a brief struggle. Frank chokes the struggling beast into unconsciousness in order to facilitate its transportation back home. Luckily the actor inside the monster suit was kind enough to keep his arms "tied" to his sides even though the ropes had clearly slid down below his waist. Dr. Tracy and David, keeping a safe distance, follow the rednecks back to Joe’s house in order to keep their characters in the film I suppose.

Later that night, Joe and JJ take the alien’s weapon down into their basement to play with it and discover just what in the hell it’s capable of doing. Now, I’m not a military genius, but since this advanced weapons system clearly consists of a silver spray-painted plastic pistol and a styrofoam ball, I’m guessing this won’t take too long to figure out.

Well, then again, it is Joe and JJ trying to figure it out so all bets are off.

"Let’s shoot it into that stairway!" Joe eagerly suggests.

Galaxy Invader

"HOT DAMN! JJ, this is great!"

"Shoot another one, pa!"

(Do you see what kind of crap I put up with for this site? Do you?!)

Meanwhile, back outside in the middle of the afternoon even though it was the middle of the night in the previous scene, Dr. Tracy and David sneak into the Montague garage in order to take a look at the captive alien. Sure enough, there’s the greatest find in mankind’s history hog-tied in the middle of the garage floor next to a lawn mower. (It’s a shot that’s rather stunning in its unpolluted idiocy.)

Galaxy Invader

After admiring the creature for a moment or two, Tracy and David undo the beast’s bonds. Realizing that its free, the alien tears off Dr. Tracy’s arm and proceeds to beat David to death with the bloody limb. No wait. That’s what should have happened to any idiot that would simply untie a pissed off monster. In this movie, however, the creature passively stands aside and waits for instruction, because, you know, he’s one of those nice galaxy invader types.

Upon returning to the garage door, the monster tagging along like a big, green, scaly puppy, Tracy peers out into the night and notes that Joe and Frank are standing just outside.

Wait a minute…night? What the hell? It was broad daylight. Whatever.

After a moment’s reflection, Dr. Tracy comes up with a brilliant plan: sling open the garage door and run like hell.

Frank and Joe give chase, while Joe’s oldest daughter, Carol, retrieves the monster’s weapons (from atop a pile of old magazines next to the sofa!). Coral runs outside into the woods and gives the weapons back to the alien, who immediately zaps her; reducing her to a pile of red hot ash. No wait, I guess I was dreaming. Oh, and how in the hell did Carol meet the monster who was running away from the house with Joe and Frank in hot pursuit. Does your head hurt too?

After running for a bit (through the same set of trees used in the other foot chase scenes earlier in the film…argh!), Frank and Joe stumble upon Dr. Tracy and David. Without nary a moment’s hesitation, Frank takes aim with his pistol and shoots Tracy in the chest. When he takes aim at David, Joe tries to stop him, but Frank insists on killing him because he’s a "witness". (To what? The monster’s existence? So what?!) Just as David is about to join Dr. Tracy in the Great Beyond, the monster jumps out of nowhere and zaps Frank with his styrofoam ball thingee. Joe picks up Frank’s pistol and promptly shoots the alien. (What the…?!) As David wisely runs off, Joe approaches the wounded creature and removes the styrofoam ball (again) and leaves the wounded alien to die in the forest. (Good grief…did you get all that? No? It doesn’t really matter.)

Realizing that her father is out of control, Carol, David, and Michael (Carol’s boyfriend…don’t worry if you don’t remember, it really doesn’t matter: they’re all equally unappealing characters) decide that something has to be done to get the alien gun out of Joe’s possession and back to the alien before their drunken father can hurt anybody. Michael promises to "think of a plan" and they agree to meet the next morning.

I can’t wait.

Galaxy Invader

Anyway, people say things and things happen and, man, this movie is really, really, really dragging. Let’s move this along:

  • Joe wakes up to find the house empty because the entire family has met out in the forest to discuss a way to get rid of him.
  • After a full night’s thinking, Michael’s plan is this: Get Joe out of the house and then grab the gun. Wow. This guy is a freakin’ genius.
  • The recently deceased Frank’s girlfriend, Vicki, swings by Joe’s place looking for him. Joe, drunk as usual, tries to rape her. Charming film, isn’t it?
  • Vicki manages to escape outside, so Joe grabs the alien’s gun and blasts her in the back.
  • Michael and the others eventually reach the Mantague house and see that Joe is passed out drunk on the sofa.
  • With the greatest of care, they take the gun from Joe’s fingers.
  • Wow. What tension.
  • With the gun safely in their possession, Michael and the others run into the woods in order to return the weapon to the alien because they figure that once it has its gun back it will "leave them alone." Uh. Yeah. That’s real smart.
  • Boy, watching people run through the woods just never gets boring. I mean, man, I could watch this all day.
  • Joe freaks out when he wakes up and realizes that the gun has been stolen. After a brief struggle with JJ, who had stayed behind to try and reason with his father, Joe grabs his shotgun and gives chase after Michael and the others.
  • Did I mention that watching people run through the woods is super exciting?
  • After a couple of seconds, Joe spots Michael and chases him and the others through, yes, the woods.
  • Michael, Carol, and David are finally trapped when they come up against a huge ravine. (!) Joe corners them and forces them to drop the alien’s gun to the ground, but…
  • The alien appears out of nowhere…Joe shoots the alien with his shotgun. The creature flops to the ground and dies. (!)
  • Man…that was one lame ass alien.
  • Anyway, a struggle breaks out between Michael and Joe, but Mama jumps in and whacks Joe with the shotgun.
  • The force of the blow transforms Joe into a dummy which is tossed off the side of a cliff by an off-camera stage hand. Note that the cliff shown is not in the forest at all and if that’s not obviously a home-made mannequin then I don’t know what is.
  • Oh, wow, that was the end.

Galaxy Invader

Seriously. You can go now.

Dennis Grisbeck (May 2008)

Afterthoughts

OK, look. I know this was a null-budget sleazoid quicky film made to have some fun and hopefully make a few bucks in the process. I can respect that; I really can. But "no-budget" doesn’t necessarily have to mean dreary, plodding, and unappealing. Yet, unfortunately, that’s just what this movie is…and not much else. There really isn’t anything redeeming in this film that would make it worth watching, even for bad movie "fans" like myself. Frankly, it’s quite boring.

Regarding the <cough> galaxy invader itself, I think you can now see why I chose this film for the roundtable…let’s take a quick recap of the alien’s escapades:

Crash lands on Earth.
Beats up a redneck family.
Shot by Joe.
Beats up JJ.
Beaten up and hog-tied by a rednecks.
Freed by a geeky kid.
Shot by Joe.
Dies.
What an idiot.

By the way, this was the movie that supplied the background scenes in the opening credits of Pod People. I just can not figure out why in the hell that is…and it haunts me.

The movie’s best line and sole high point:

"Oh great! The biggest scientific event in the entire history of the world is being lassoed by a bunch of…rednecks!"

Read more about The Galaxy Invader at

IMDB

4 comments to The Galaxy Invader (1985)

  • Boy this movie hurt. But it was a laugh-a-minute with friends.

    You left out the best parts, too. The parts where it was plainly obvious there were no editors involved in the making of the film whatsoever.

    This can be proven by two scenes:

    First, after the ol’ posse has been riled up in yonder bar, the camera cuts (very hardly, i might add) to Montague’s driveway, with good ol’ montague walking up it to his house. The problem with this hard jump cut is that there is a 1/3 of a second of footage that was accidentally left in the reel that should have been removed from a bad take. You have the bar, then it cuts to Montague standing in front of his car, then the car instantly disappears. What the hell, man? Could no one catch that or remember to remove it from the film strip?

    Second, and you have to see this to believe it. The screen shot above at the end, the (ahem) ravine that Joe gets … knocked off, I think is the word I’m looking for. The review mentions that this is not in a forest–and that’s pretty sad and obvious in itself. However, when the kids stop running and act as if there’s a cliff, THEY’RE STANDING ON SOLID GROUND WITH TREES ALL AROUND THEM. There’s absolutely no way anyone could mistake it for a cliff, and far from the quarry seen above. You must watch this movie just to compare these two scenes…

  • Good call, Daniel. I can’t promise I’m going to go back and watch this movie again (ever), but if I ever drink enough beer and feel the urge for some white-trash pain, I might pop this one in again for old-times’s sake 🙂

  • Guts3d

    Don’t do it, Dennis! You might not survive this stink-fest again! Not saying that you got lucky the first time and survived, but…

  • Vernon

    I have to respectifully disagree. Lol! This movie(to me) is sooo bad it’s funny!
    I’ve watched it 5 times in 2 months. If it was never on MST3K it should have been.

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