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The Alpha Incident (1978)

PG | | Sci-Fi | 24 May 1978 (USA)
A microorganism from Mars, brought to Earth by a space probe, terrorizes passengers in a railroad office.

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(original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Charlie
...
Dr. Sorensen
John F. Goff ...
Jack Tiller (as John Goff)
Carol Irene Newell ...
Jenny
...
Hank (as Buck Flower)
Paul Bentzen ...
Dr. Farrell
...
Dr. Rogers
Ray Szmanda ...
The Official
Lawrence Ripp ...
The Guard (as Sir Lawrence Ripp)
Harry Youstos ...
Alvin (as Harry Youstes)
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Storyline

A microorganism from Mars, brought to Earth by a space probe, terrorizes passengers in a railroad office.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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So horrifyingly close to the truth, it will blow your mind! See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

24 May 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gift from a Red Planet  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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| (DVD)

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Did You Know?

Connections

References Night of the Living Dead (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

The Gift
Lyrics by Dale Kuippers (as Dale Kuipers), Bill Rebane
Music by Tom Barnet
Sung by Deanna Wynand and Don Lasee and The Ramblin Fever Band
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User Reviews

 
Not another Rebane stinker
27 December 2014 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

I saw "Manos, the Hands of Fate" and lived to tell the mediocre tale; I also saw daylight the other-side of "The Lucifer Project" and "Doomsday Weapon", and so I reckon I know a stinker when I smell one, but I can say with confidence, that "The Alpha Incident" is not the proverbial turkey it's often branded.

Bill Rebane's reputation precedes him, but occasionally he does get it right, so credit where it's due, "Alpha" is a moody, atmospheric and suspenseful if somewhat talky thriller about a Martian virus that has potentially infected a small group of mostly bystanders at a remote railway station, forcing them into quarantine under the watchful eye of Government bio-chemist Stafford Morgan, himself also in containment maintaining contact with the outside world via telephone as he awaits news of a much-anticipated antidote.

While it's limited in action, it's not as benign as some other reviews might suggest, with a clever plot twist significantly ratcheting up the tension as the desperate group learn they must not fall asleep, lest a fate worse than death awaits.

The performances from Morgan, Goff and Newell in particular are actually very watchable, not over-wrought and certainly not amateur fodder. Star-billed Meeker might be the biggest name on-hand as the meek railroad pen-pusher, but Morgan is clearly the lead and his reliable presence underlines why he was such a prolific actor in the 1970's and 1980's. There's plenty of sympathy for each of the characters (which are mostly clichés), none moreso than Newell's small-town nubile "Jenny", watching her potential evaporate under the prying scrutiny of small-town rednecks looking for tail to taint.

Rebane-regular Paul Bentzen and dependable supporting actor John Alderman play the scientists desperately trying to develop an antidote before our stricken survivors submit to eternal slumber, with the prospect of failure looming large as the tone becomes more sombre....

While not entirely absent here, Rebane's hard-earned reputation as a plodding film-maker, substituting reams of dialogue for the action a micro-budget can't afford, his narrative is relatively taut and the tension and pathos he builds, quite effective. And if you do persist, you will be rewarded with some cheap (but effective) special effects that won't soon be forgotten - a little bonus material for those who persevere. It's not a great movie, but it's a lot better than its reputation implies and well worth watching.


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