"The Galaxy Invader" (1985)
      [Posted by: Nolan B. Canova, August 1, 2012, 11:32 pm ]

Two Stars

Studio: Entertainment Group     
Starring: Richard Ruxton, Anne Frith, George Stover, Faye Tilles, Greg & Kim Dohler
Directed by: Don Dohler
Rated: None
Running Time: 1 hr 22 mins

Synopsis: A small group of violent, drunken hillbillies in a rural New England area witness a UFO/meteor crash to Earth and discover its inhabitant which they wish to exploit for personal gain.

Nolan B. Canova
Somewhere around Harleyville (presumably in the rural areas of Maryland where this was filmed), young David Harmon (Greg Dohler) stops his car to witness a fireball landing in the woods. Rather than call the police, he calls and wakes up one of his former college professors, Dr. Tracy (Richard Dyszel). The young Prof tells David that due to the distance, it'll be 6 hours before he arrives, instructing the boy to wait on the side of the road until he gets there!

Cut to a young couple having breakfast when their repast is disturbed by a noise in the basement. Cautiously--and armed with a kitchen knife -- they investigate a possible intruder. When they reach the bottom of the stairs, our Galaxy Invader -- looking like a rubber-suited cross between Skeletor and a poor man's Predator -- is waiting for them. Apparently the first stop on his tour of Earth was the first basement he could find.

Next, we visit a country clan also having breakfast (convenient the fireball landed first thing in the morning, eh?) when Ma and Pa argue over their hot teenage daughter's boyfriend, no-good Mike Smith (Cliff Lambert). After alcoholic Pa (Richard Ruxton) violently slaps his impudent offspring, furious daughter Carol (Faye Tilles) runs out of the house into the woods, Pa runs after her with a shotgun(!). Fortunately, her older brother, J.J. (George Stover), chases after both of them to keep the peace. They don't find the hot teen daughter, but instead bump into our scaly Invader friend. Pa takes a pot-shot, natch, but manages only to knock a glowing orb off the alien's belt. The alien hightails it into the woods, but Pa and J.J. recover the abandoned orb figuring it might be valuable.

Finally, Dr. Tracy meets David at the appointed spot and, after explaining to David that a meteor was tracked by authorities earlier and dismissed, both decide to hike up the trail and investigate anyway.

Hot Carol and boyfriend Mike, meanwhile, are making their way back to Carol's father for a showdown. Pa, however, is currently very excited with his new extraterrestrial souvenir and tells Mike to beat it -- at the end of a shotgun, of course. That's pretty much the end of the Carol/Mike plot string for now.

Pa's buddy Frank (Don Leifert) shows up to inspect the artifact that's causing the buzz and decides the "Green Man" Papa Joe keeps railing about the orb came from might be far more valuable. Naturally, they plan to take a posse up to the hills that night and look for it (what else did you expect?). When J.J. departs their company to hide the sphere, said "Green Man" appears from around a corner to zap him and recover his bauble. So much for their find.

Young David and Dr. Drake have given up locating the meteor for the moment as it's getting close to nightfall. They make plans to go into town for some grub and wind up at the same saloon that Joe, Frank, and their yahoo buddies made their posse come together. As almost a nod to the audience of this most obvious script contrivance, David says, "...well, the food's good." They overhear the posse plot and decide to try and intervene.

Battle ensues when yahoos meets alien and weapons-fire is exchanged by both sides. Incredibly, three of the yahoos are able to sneak up behind the alien and throw a net over it! This results in arguably the film's best line by the observing Dr. Drake: "Great. The biggest scientific discovery in the history of the world is being lassoed by a bunch of rednecks!" The boys bring the creature back to Joe's place until they can figure a way to capitalize on it.

Daybreak, and David and Drake attempt a rescue of the hog-tied alien in Joe's shed. Successful, but witnessed, Drake and David are in danger of being shot. Once again, our alien is disabled by a random bullet, Joe steals the orb back and runs.

The alien shows up back at Joe's, presumably to recover his orb and pistol weapon, but is discovered. Thus begins the final seemingly endless cat-and-mouse chase through the woods between drunken, violent Papa Joe Montague and the most harmless and incompetent alien "invader" in history.

Filmmaker Don Dohler is a folk hero to so many of us low-budget indie creature-feature freaks that it's hard to knock him. He created the original Cinemagic magazine and filmed some other low-budget fan favorites (e.g., The Alien Factor, Nightbeast ), but to be honest, The Galaxy Invader has "home movie" written all over it. If the acting level scream "friends and family", well that's because he drafted them all to make this film. Several of the same names come up in the credits and even some of them did double-duty jobs behind the scenes.

Arguably, the most memorable performance is by Richard Ruxton as Joe Montague, the hateful, boozing, violent head of a backwoods clan who all seem cool except for him. They are constantly at odds when he goes off half-cocked about profiting off the alien.

Faye Tilles, Richard Dyszel, and Don Leifert as Carol Montague, Dr William Drake, and Frank Custer respectively also turned in admirable performances, all things considered.

Ironically, the titular alien itself is rather lackluster. An OK, almost zombie-esque design job in the face, the rest is costume shop rubber alien. The "body actor" inside, Glenn Barnes, had little to do but lumber around as menacingly as he could wearing that heavy suit. Although I made a reference to it having a passing resemblance to a poor man's Predator, on second thought, it more closely resembles a poor man's It! The Terror From Beyond Space. As an "Invader" he is definitely bush league, haha, prowling around in basements and running from rednecks!

The 4:3 TV aspect ratio of the film screams "direct-to-video" (which it was) and the cheezy synthesizer action music and primitive title fonts scream "1980's". The Galaxy Invader marks the beginning of the end of an age when low-budget flicks even this cheap were still shot on film.

This isn't a great movie by any yardstick. Well, except maybe for Dohler fans who recognize his trademark production values. Still, the crew's hearts were in it and I give them credit for that.

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