Movie of the Week: Killdozer!

At some point in pre-history, a meteorite crashes to Earth.  It lands on an island off the coast of  what is now Africa and soon Nature reclaims the impact site, and the big rock with it.  Time marches on, civilizations rise and fall, wars are fought, lines are drawn, maps are changed, and, as is usually the case, Americans show up to get some oil.

A construction crew and their equipment are dumped on the island to build an airstrip for an oil-drilling company.  Kelley, the foreman, is determined to get the job done, on time and on budget, to prove himself to the corporate bosses.  He’s a recovering alcoholic and feels the need to prove himself to the company after years of stellar service.  This job will not go down as one of Kelly’s resounding successes.  Almost as soon as work begins, tragedy strikes.

Kelly and crew-member Mike uncover the aforementioned, long buried, humming meteorite.  Working the bulldozer, Kelly attempts to move the obstruction as his subordinate watches and learns.  As soon as the dozer’s blade touches the meteorite, it emits a blue light which burns Mike and makes the machine go haywire.

Kelly manages to disable the machine and stop it before it can do anymore damage.  The level of damage already done to Mike is enough: he is badly burned and near death.  Before he dies, he tells Kelly about the light and that it jumped into the dozer’s blade.  His final warning to his boss: “It’s a thing.”

The boss dismisses the rant and orders everybody back to work.  Chub, the mechanic, does a once-over on the bulldozer.  He finds nothing wrong with it other than what Kelly’s damage to it.  He certainly doesn’t find anything to make the dozer go crazy.  Kelly still has doubts and orders the machine decommissioned.

Too bad a crewman, Beltran, doesn’t get the memo to stay off the dozer.  He meets a grizzly end.  Once it’s back in working order, the bulldozer begins its killing spree with the alien intelligence at the helm.

Killdozer! is a 1974 made-for-TV movie back when the big three networks made movies of the week on the cheap and, as evidenced from this one, because they could.  Most of those small screen films were forgettable and a lot of them were memorable for all the wrong reasons.  A slim few were great.  Killdozer! is not great, but it is such a hoot you should watch it at least once.

To complete the Killdozer! circle, you should read the story it’s based upon.  How could a killer bulldozer movie not be based upon a classic piece of literature, right?  I read it before I watched the movie– I’m not sure which order to suggest.

The story, by Theodore Sturgeon, is set during World War Two and the construction crew is building an airstrip for military purposes.  The story is more serious  whereas the movie is more unintentionally amusing.  Both are good for different moods.  Watch the movie here while it’s available.

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