‘Gripping sci-fi terror from beyond…’
The Alien Factor is a 1977 American science fiction horror feature film directed and written by Baltimore-based filmmaker Don Dohler [as Donald M. Dohler] (Blood Massacre; The Galaxy Invader; Nightbeast; Fiend). The movie stars Don Leifert, Tom Griffiths, Mary Mertens and genre regular George Stover.
The film features the special effects of Ernest D. Farino (The Terminator), John Cosentino and Larry Schlecter and was shown frequently on American TV throughout the 1980s, including Ted Turner’s Superstation.
Dohler reworked the same plot in 1982 as NightBeast and made a sequel, Alien Factor 2: The Alien Rampage, in 2001.
A young teenage couple making out in a car when an insect-looking monster attacks. Sheriff Cinder must find out what’s causing the killings. Meanwhile, Mayor Wicker (Richard Dyszel) wants to keep a lid on the deaths so a multi-million dollar amusement park can be built…
“To be sure, there are plenty of technical flaws in The Alien Factor, but much like good punk rock, these flaws do not distract from the bigger picture thanks to the sheer amount of enthusiasm shown by the filmmakers. This feeling is further enhanced by the fact that this was Dohler’s first film, and it is clear that he was learning as he went.” Bad Movies for Bad People
“Extremely cheap-looking, amateurishly acted, poorly edited and filled with continuity errors, awful dialogue and cheesy SFX, this isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. For others, however, it’s going to be a fun and charming no budget creature feature.” The Bloody Pit of Horror
“Dohler spends much of the effort looking for things to do, but his heart is in the right place, striving to generate a sense of time and location to help his endeavor, mixing Ed Wood-style limitation and indie filmmaking passion, coming up with a picture that’s not dynamic but carries a dented B-movie personality, perfect for a drowsy late-night viewing.” Blu-ray.com
“Scenes are decently shot and edited. Dialogue is overwritten and simple but this is part of the fun. Giving us a central character might of helped but an odd astronomer shows at halfway and becomes the hero. You’ll find you like him, and all the others, and everything else by the conclusion.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers
“The Alien Factor is undeniably bad, but it does have a certain energy to it, credit for a guy who went out and just did it. I would not really recommend you go out of your way for it. It is not a good movie, just admirable for the conditions under which it was made.” Critical Outcast
” …incompetent-at-best Dohler’s amalgamation of a standard 1950s aliens on the loose plot line with diverse elements of Jaws and TV’s McCloud thrown in, has become a known entity for aficionados of bad, bad moviemaking thanks to repeated cable showings and a well-received skewering from Cinematic Titanic.” DVD Drive-In
“This one is in line with the monster movie formula, so its doesn’t earn much in terms of insanity points. But the cool creatures deserve a point and the few little twists in the story and a couple memorable performances contribute as well.” Marc Fusion
“One could make quite a list of flaws, from dumb plot moments to editing glitches, but that misses the point: a group of friends who loved monsters and science fiction films got together and turned out a quite respectable 16mm film, one that is better than one might expect of its origins, even with an amateur cast, a virtually non-existent budget and limited experience.” Rivets on the Poster
” …of special interest to his small-but-loyal legion of fans simply for the fact that it came first and pretty much set the blueprint for all that was to follow, minus a small handful of tricks that he decided not to try again. It’s 80-or-so entertaining minutes of homemade-monster-movie nonsense, and around these parts that is hardly a derogatory description.” Trash Film Guru
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“The special effects for the cosmos are well done, but it’s the monster make-up that’s the highlight. The Alien Factor is fun in fits and starts, but the amateur cast pretty much sinks the flick. Their flat line readings and awkward screen presence makes even the simplest of scenes seem interminable. And because of that, it’s a long 79 minutes.” The Video Vacuum
“Executed with a genuine affection for the genre, this is a fine film for fans of both regional and amateur filmmaking. Worth a view, even if you’re not.” Videohound’s Complete Guide to Cult Flicks and Trash Pics
Cast and characters:
Don Leifert … Ben Zachary – Crawler; Blood Massacre; The Galaxy Invader; Nightbeast; Fiend
Tom Griffith … Sheriff Cinder – Nightbeast; Fiend
Richard Dyszel … Mayor Wicker
Mary Mertens … Edie Martin
Richard Geiwitz … Pete
George Stover … Steven – Killer Campout; Camp Blood 666; Sociopathia; The Galaxy Invader; Nightbeast; et al
Eleanor Herman … Mary Jane Carter
Anne Frith … Doctor Ruth Sherman
Christopher Gummer … Clay
Don Dohler … Ernie
Dave Ellis … Richie
Dave Geatty … Man in Bar
Margie Van Tassell … Susan
Tony Malanowski … Ed Miller – director of Curse of the Screaming Dead; Night of Horror
Aspect ratio: 1.37: 1
The Alien Factor was released in the USA on 12 May 1978.
Reportedly just $3,500.
The sheriff’s office was actually a set built in the basement of Don Dohler’s house.
The sequence with the man on the motorcycle was added to the movie after the principal shooting had wrapped in order to pad out the running time to feature-length.
The astronomer and the town mayor incorrectly use the terms “meteor” and “meteorite” interchangeably as if they meant the same thing. In fact, the particle broken off an asteroid or comet is a meteor until it hits Earth and if it doesn’t disintegrate it becomes a meteorite.
Not to be confused with the 1989 movie of the same name.