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8/10
Don Dohler's master-work
Red-Barracuda20 March 2016
Man, you've gotta love Don Dohler. He was the man responsible The Galaxy Invader (1985), an alien film which transcended its low budget restrictions and was a laugh-a-minute, extremely entertaining bit of sci-fi hokum. I thought that Dohler couldn't surely top that one and subsequently found his earlier horror film Fiend (1980) to be nowhere near as psychotronically entertaining. However, having seen his debut firm The Alien Factor I figure I must now have surely seen Dohler's true masterpiece. This one is pretty similar in plot-line to Galaxy Invader, except where that latter movie had a sympathetic E.T. influenced alien, The Alien Factor sports a trio of vicious nasty old-school monsters and so this sci-fi effort has one foot firmly in the horror genre too.

The story starts directly after an alien spaceship crash lands in Maryland resulting in three deadly aliens being released to terrorize the local population.

Like all of Dohler's films this one was independently made and low budget. But also, like his films in general, some actual care has been taken to make the film as good as it can be. Sure, there's lots of dodgy acting and ropey dialogue (which add a lot of fun value it has to be said) but some effort has also been taken in other areas. For instance, we have five different aliens in total, and all are rather interestingly designed. There is some stop motion work used for one of the creatures - a giant invisible lizard, we also have a giant insectoid, there is a hairy enormously tall yeti-like creature, a white haired space pilot and a shape-shifting being with a monstrous face. It's all very commendably done, with lots of imagination involved in the design work. Accompanying all of this is one of the most insistent synthesizer scores you will ever hear, it's a soundtrack that takes every given opportunity to sound 'futuristic' - in 1978, this was the sound of the future. On the other hand, space is also found for more traditional music, via a performance of a song from a rock band called Padding...I mean Atlantis. Again, details like this, merely add to this film's overall charm.

I would have to say that this one is a great example of an independent, low-budget b-movie. The film-makers never forget to keep things interesting. It's one of those films whose very shortcomings actually seem mostly like positives too and that is quite a rarity. The film eventually wraps up on a pleasingly ironic and downbeat fashion, which seemed a perfect way to end this particular story.
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Don Dohler, why isn't this man a cult idol?
Nozze-Foto12 February 2002
What can I say about this movie? PLENTY! I discovered it right where it belongs, on TV at 3 in the morning, and it snapped me to full consciousness. The aliens are unbelievable, the plot is okay, the acting is priceless and the ending even goes for poignancy. The plot? Oh yes there is one. A bunch of strange monsters show up out of nowhere and terrorize a mountain village. A stranger named Zachary discovers they came from a spaceship the crashed in the hills and nominates himself as a one man committee to round up and/or destroy the alien beasts.

Now you have to see these monsters to believe them. One is a humanoid insect. His costume was made by spray painting cardboard with enamel and it was destroyed when it got rained on! A furry monster looks like the sort of outfit Gene Simmons of KISS might wear to a Halloween party right down to the 24 inch platform boots. The last is the best, a stop motion animated something-or-other that is invisible for most of the movie but who finally materializes for the end. They forgot, or could not afford, to matte out the background so the thing is transparent for all its scenes. Is that all? Not nearly! How about live music from a musician called "Lon Talbot" and 2 go-go girls who dance like they are on Valium? How about an alien who wear blue jeans and looks like his skin is made of wicker? Jinkies this movie is an instant classic! I loved it! Don Dohler made other films but this one is the most fun. Can we take Edward D. Wood off that pedastal now and put Don Dohler in his place? His films deserve to be seen and talked about; especially this one.
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One of the best Z films I've ever seen.
forum-118 February 2001
I know this movie well since I am Sheriff Cinder. Some of the negative comments I've seen used to really get to me. But that was when I was a lot closer to the project. After all, that was almost 25 years ago. I find them quite accurate and funny now. It is a fun film to watch with a bunch of friends (if you're into this genre). Believe it or not, I can't get my hands on any good copy of this movie. By the way, I just ran across some of the original paste-up boards, for Cinemagic Magazine, that Don Dohler (director) and I use to publish before and during the time we made The Alien Factor. What a kick it was to look over that stuff. If you haven't seen this film, get your hands on it and let IMDb know what you think!
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7/10
It deserves better than a 4.1 rating.
Hey_Sweden24 May 2016
Objectively speaking, the feature directing debut for Maryland-based regional filmmaker Don Dohler may be very crude and indicative of a very low budget at every turn. But while a movie like this may lack the spit and polish of typical Hollywood product, it has something that a lot of those big productions don't have: heart. "The Alien Factor" has the irresistible appeal of movies made by friends who just wanted to get together and have a good time. The design of the monsters shows some imagination, and overall this qualifies as cheese of the very best kind.

A spaceship containing three dangerous alien creatures crashes to Earth. The creatures escape, and begin to slaughter various unlucky locals. The intrepid lawman on the case is Sheriff Cinder (Tom Griffith, who sports a great hairdo and mustache), who has the help of people like his deputy Pete (Richard Geiwitz) and Dr. Ruth Sherman (Anne Frith) and her nephew Steven (George Stover). Then along comes a mystery man, Ben Zachary (Don Leifert), and he seems to know more than he's letting on.

This endearing bit of schlock often falls back on director Dohlers' dialogue, but when the monsters show up and are doing their thing, the movie is a great deal of fun. The tall monster, the "Zagatile" (performed by John Cosentino) is particularly delicious - wait until you get a load of the legs on this thing. The final monster, the stop motion created Leemoid, shows the most invention. The final quarter of "The Alien Factor" is definitely its best one.

While there may be no Oscar contenders here among the cast, they create likable enough characters. Richard Dyszel amuses as a stereotypically sleazy mayor, and Mary Mertens is good as pushy reporter Edie Martin. That's Dohler himself playing Ernie, and his kids Greg and Kim can also be seen on screen.

Kenneth Walker does the music score, which is sometimes positively goofy. Ernest D. Farino, who went on to have a substantial career in Hollywood, designed and animated the Leemoid and also devised the opening credits sequence.

Most agreeable, for any lover of regional B cinema.

Seven out of 10.
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7/10
It's a hoot!
Leofwine_draca28 October 2015
THE ALIEN FACTOR is my first exposure to the no-budget sci-fi works of auteur Don Dohler, and coincidentally it's his first film as director. People are criticising this for being goofy, amateurish, filmmaking at its worst, but to them I say go and watch the works of a contemporary - like Robert Emenegger's BEYOND THE UNIVERSE - see how corny and plain boring they are - and then criticise this one. Dohler knows how to entertain, and that's the important thing.

The plotting in THE ALIEN FACTOR is pure hokum, of course, involving various alien monsters roaming around in the woods and the efforts of local townsfolk to kill them. The acting is amateur level, as you'd expect, and the production values are just about adequate given the film's lack of budget and expertise. And yet how can you not like this? The pacing is fast, the alien costumes are a hoot, and the lo-fi special effects are a delight to watch. There's even a tragic climax that I didn't expect to be moved by. If you're any kind of a fan of low budget filmmaking, I'd recommend giving Dohler's work a chance - you might just enjoy it...
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6/10
A+ for effort in Grade Z Production
plowe164 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
For a young Super-8 aficionado, growing up in the late 70's, Don Dohler was legend. Best known as the editor for Cinemagic magazine (and the Film Magic books), he would feature articles and how-to-do tips on everything from latex modeling to stop-motion to optical effects on the cheap. Of course, a big chunk of the contributions came from those who worked on his own features, including John Dods, John Costentinio, and Ernest Farino (who later did the stop-motion fx on THE TERMINATOR). And for anyone who read Film Magic, a big highlight was the design of the Zagatile beast that Constentino designed for use in Dohler's first feature THE ALIEN FACTOR. Constentino detailed the making of the beast, sort of an alien Bigfoot costume for a guy on stilts. Needless to say, the contributors on such articles always came across as real pros, making their work and effects sound really good in print.

Then, almost 26 years after having read Film Magic, I finally got around to seeing THE ALIEN FACTOR. Well, it sounded promising, but the reality is always different. What we essentially get to watch is a zero-budget 16mm effort featuring a group of Baltimore yokels up against two tacky man-in-suit aliens and one very well done stop-motion beast. Grainy photography, a grating electronic score, and actors with a penchant for delivering monotone speech dominate this film. Not the polished effort its makers claimed it to be, but still an interesting artifact from 70's drive-in flicks.

The plot briefly details the attempts of some local villagers to investigate a series of bizarre deaths, supposedly wild animal attacks. Turns out they are the work of three alien beings that have escaped from a downed extraterrestrial spacecraft. The Sheriff (Tom Griffith) remains baffled until the arrival of a mysterious stranger (Don Leifert), who possesses an uncanny ability to hunt down the trio of beasties.

Let us be fair to Dohler: with only local talent, limited crew, backyard locales, and miles away from Hollywood, they did the best they could. Plus, there are effective moments: the discovery of the spaceship (good use of foreground miniature); the Zagatile's attack in a man's darkened basement; and the final battle with the Lemoid, with excellent, if brief stop-motion animation from Farino. Unfortunately, Dohler's directorial abilities lagged far behind his unique talents in wrangling cheap fx. The performances are stiff, the overall pace drags, and the erratic music detracts rather than add. The effectiveness of the alien menace is hampered by either having them attack in broad daylight or showing them in full, essentially hokey Dr. Who monster outfits (the Zagatile in closeup looks okay, but in full, it just looks plain hokey as lumbers in the snow, chasing humans who are running three times faster).

With a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, it could have been right up there with DARK STAR. Yet in spite of all its flaws, THE ALIEN FACTOR is infused with this weird low-budget horror sensibility that makes it all the more intriguing, if only for the fact that it ever got made at all. Clumsy as it is, it still entertains as a first effort. Regrettably, Dohler himself never went on to bigger and better things. He seems content to stay in Baltimore, working on zero-budget horror outings that haven't progressed (if anything regressed) beyond his opus. Considering the talent he helped to foster, it's a crying shame.
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7/10
A quirky little film.
Demilich24 June 1999
I saw this film as a kid on the Saturday afternoon "Monster Theater". I've seen it a few more times since then, and I still get a kick out of it.

Basically, an alien ship crashes (of course) on its way to some intergalactic zoo. Three very dangerous aliens escape the wreck and go back to their normal predatory behavior patterns. It's up to the Earthlings to stop them...

This film was pretty creative for its time, and the methods used to "deal" with the aliens showed some logical and innovative thought on the writer's part.

It probably will never be listed in the top ten films of all time, but it's a fun romp when you're in the mood for cheesy movies. Give it a chance.
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5/10
Half Decent Monster Movie
TheExpatriate7004 March 2016
The Alien Factor is a halfway decent low budget monster movie, following a small Maryland town plunged into chaos when several creatures intended for an intergalactic zoo are accidentally released. The film features low budget but surprisingly effective monsters, but it is hampered by stilted dialogue and wooden acting.

The main thing The Alien Factor has going for it is its monster costumes. Although all of the monsters - with one exception - are obviously guys in suits, the suits themselves aren't that bad looking. Furthermore, the monster designs are creative and not just cookie cutter creatures you've seen a thousand times. The insectoid alien was especially impressive.

However, good creature effects alone do not a great monster movie make. The film suffers from a weak script with awkward-sounding dialogue. The script never focuses on a single protagonist, weakening the overall plot. Moreover, the twist ending is telegraphed well in advanced. Still, this is a good monster movie for the undemanding or a boring afternoon.
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4/10
It's bad, but it's fun!
ronevickers14 April 2010
The Alien Factor - well, from the opening sequences, you get the distinct feeling that this movie is going to be a shoestring effort, produced over a free weekend by a bunch of people who have never seen a camera before, let alone checked up on the word "act" in the dictionary. Your worst fears are soon realised, although credit must be given for a very early appearance of one of the "monsters." Otherwise, I'm afraid, credit is in pretty short supply. Looking at the film in 2010, the striking thing about the characters are the bad haircuts - the sheriff with the Barry Gibb-style mane is a hoot! The mayor looks as though he's wearing a frozen headscarf, tucked behind his ears. The other striking aspect is the pitifully poor acting - they are clearly all amateurs who must have embarked on film careers during a few hours away from their regular jobs. However, there are some positives - the basic premise of alien zoological specimens, escaping on earth, is quite novel. Same for one of the aliens - the satyr-like creature - which is well presented and out of the ordinary. And, the amateurish direction and script does hold a certain basic charm. As far as bad sci-fi movies go, this one has to be up there with the best!
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Don Dohler's genius grade-Z sci-fi on DVD
kennywest122 June 2002
Don Dohler, the unsung hero of home-grown sci-fi, has finally come to DVD. The Alien Factor is a complete cheeseball that has a decent storyline and hypnotic music to enjoy while laughing at impossibly cheap alien costumes. If I were Don, I'd want to sue Steven Spielburg for ripping off his idea of marooned aliens. The whole show is fun, the alien make-up is actually scary. Unlike the following John Waters attained from his home-grown Baltimore movies, Don Dohler's overlooked home-grown Baltimore movies will be considered cult classics someday thanks to these fantastic revival DVDs.
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8/10
Still Looking good after 25 years
cwoodhenge21 August 2001
In the pantheon of movies made with a budget of less than $8, Alien Factor rules the roost. I used to watch the movie when I was a kid growing up south of Pittsburgh on WPTT TV-22 at 2am. I couldn't believe my eyes. A buddy of mine had a VHS copy and we sat down to watch it recently and I was again blown away. My favorite alien of all time is the big tall one with the funky legs (I know I should be able to name the creature but my level of obsession hasn't reached that point yet--give it time). Alien Factor is my personal definition of a guilty pleasure. And that's all I have to say about that.
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10/10
Blue Jeans Monster
lianzantoro16 June 2018
Strange creatures are killing the residents of a small town. The inept sheriff and deputy are powerless to do anything about it. The sheriff seems more interested in eating breakfast than actually doing anything. Then a mysterious stranger comes to town who seems to know a little too much about the monsters. He claims to be a sort of freelance astronomer, you know, because there really is such a thing. The dippy mayor takes an instant liking to the stranger. Causing much resentment in the brown nosing sheriff. Predictable twist ending ensues.

Director Don Dohler's first film is for me his best. The creature effects are actually pretty cool. There's an insect man thing that looks like a leather masked S&M enthusiast. A centaur on stilts that moves much too slowly to actually catch anybody, because it's on stilts. A shirtless, blue jeans wearing, burnt meatloaf man. And a translucent, giant lizard. A toothbrush holder shot from a forced perspective stands in as a crashed spaceship in one goofy scene.

Other classic scenes include Dohler's kids playing in slow motion with a beach ball while someone plucks away at a synthesizer. And the bar scene where a band, whose lead singer wears a pirate shirt, performs in front of two female groupies who are dancing in such a confined space that they're trying not to bump into each other. Also look for a scene where the woman doctor explains that the desiccated body of a victim looks like it died from progeria. Then explains that it couldn't have been progeria, only to have the deputy say " and that's what Ed Miller died of? " Also of note is Dick Dyszel hamming it up as the mayor. Count Gore De Vol to those of us from the Baltimore/DC area who watched late night TV in the 70s.

This film just oozes of DIY goodness made by someone with a passion for movies and not just churning out product. Shot in Don Dohler's basement and the woods behind his house, with the help of his family and friends. I salute you Mr. Dohler for creating something that can still entertain me after all these years. Long after Hollywood has died.
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3/10
Home Brew Science Fiction movie is crummy but somehow quite likable
lemon_magic23 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
OK, I know that Cinematic Titanic recently stomped all over this movie, and to be fair, every joke and criticism they leveled against it was deserved.

But it isn't really fair to judge a "home brew" effort like this against movies made by actual film studios, or to lump it in with films like "Manos" and "Beast Of Yucca Flats", which are so misconceived and wrong headed from the get-go that they stink on levels that a movie like this can never reach. A movie like "Yucca Flats" has ambitions and just enough "mainstream" quality about it that makes the badness doubly hurtful - "Alien Factor" is just a parochial film that's the victim of being saddled with local talent. If they'd had some money and some outside help with the writing and some dialog coaches, it could have been decent - not groundbreaking, but decent drive-in fare.

There are glimpses, here and there, of some good instincts and some hard work. The forced perspective shot of the crashed spacecraft, the reveal of the 2nd alien in the basement, the "sound weapon" that the good guy alien uses on the first creature, the unexpected ironic ending - if all the movie had been like this, "Alien Factor" would have been quite entertaining. As it was, the loose plot threads, the endless walking scenes, the local actors who (while probably perfectly pleasant in person) were simply not photogenic, the goofy monster costumes (especially the 2nd one, where the monster seemed to be walking on fur covered stilts), the flat line readings...it all just dooms the movie to be tedium and goofiness.

Best viewed at 3:00 am on the late show, or being pummeled by the good folks at "Cinematic Titanic".
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I helped make it !!
ygor-227 April 2004
I'm the "Dan White" in the credits as "Vance". It was a walk-on, one-line, bit part. Me and "Ted" found one of the bodies and drove it up to "Doc Ruth's" place. The two-tone blue car was mine. Doc Ruth's place was the farmhouse on a horse farm where my sister then boarded her horses. It was a blast to help make the film. I wish it had not turned out as campy as it did. It was not meant to. But it did make it onto Movie Macabre (Elvira's show) and I did get a big smile from her when I met her at an Auto Show in DC and asked if she remembered the film. She said that she did.
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6/10
Horrible acting and funny music!
king_shadow31 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
When I first viewed this movie, I was 8 years old. It was was on the "late late movie" on TV. After watching it, I was terrified to go in my basement. Fearing that I would be attacked by the tall furry alien. You have 3 Alien specimens. The hard skinned "cockroach" alien, who's skin cannot be penetrated by conventional weapons. The big tall furry Alien, who stabs his victims with his claws. And finally the energy Alien,who is coolest looking one. But unfortunately that it gets slain with a piece of wood. Then the alien specimen zoo keeper, who was only trying to help. But nothing can prevent him from being killed by confused locals. Recently I purchased the DVD. I had some of the best laughs! The synthesizer music makes the movie.
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Weird but fun.
DrGrogg13 July 1999
Of all the crappy sci-fi movies I've picked up and rented, this one stuck a little longer than the rest. It's pretty good for being a low budget film whose cast and crew were one and the same. It's pretty original, too. Kind of weird but it's worth a look.
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4/10
Gore Mongral Movie Review: The Alien Factor
ChiefGoreMongral28 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The Alien Factor is a home brew that got some backing and has become a sort of minor cult classic. At this point I would like to say if you cannot overlook a movie of a lower budget for some of its shortcomings do not watch or rent The Alien Factor as on a big production level this movie blows. If you can overlook that however there is a few things of merit here...though little.

The story is about an alien ship that is on its way back to its home planet when it crashes with its cargo of exotic alien creatures. The creatures (3 in total not counting the alien pilot) get loose and start killing people in the local town. I will first say that this story idea is pretty interesting and with the right budget I feel this could be a cool sci-fi horror film however the movie is too ambitious with the budget and though the aliens look surprisingly decent for the restrictions that I'm sure they had, the overall product just sort of falls flat.

Though the aliens look OK we get a stop-motion monster that had a cool design but the fight sequence its involved in was not so cool. To explain it would be futile, you would have to see this to understand. Also the acting was so-so even for a low budget flick like this and locals of the Baltimore/DC area will notice old school Creature Feature and current web host flick host Gore De Vol (who now has his own website at http://www.countgore.com/) acting as a mayor in this film.

Of all the real problems I had the main problem and the reason I really cannot give this a decent review is....pacing. Man was it painful. There are 1 to 2 minute lulls of us watching a characters walk through the woods with nothing but synthesizer music going on. We await something to happen but in most cases it doesn't. It is these cases alone that hurt this film. I can look past mediocre effects, I can look past so-so acting as long as the story is interesting (which this movie had going for it somewhat) but when the pacing is off it can really mess up a movie and its flow.

In conclusion I did not hate this movie as the monsters on display were decent and the story was something that kept my interest but poor pacing and some ho hum sequences in this film bring it down in the end.

Score 4/10: Below Average, Check it out for the monsters and story just don't be surprised if you find yourself reaching for the fast forward button on your remote. Again not horrible just alittle bland.

The Alien Factor is out though Retromedia (associated with Image)(www.retromedia.org) on DVD. There is a regular version and a 2 movie on a flipper disk (ala MGM Midnight Movies) with another film by Don Dohler called Fiend (dare I watch that one?) The 2 Movie release is under the title Alien Fiend: The Don Dohler Collection.

Thats it for now folks. I leave you with this fun fact I learned from Alien Factor...Aliens love to wear Blue Jeans.

See you Pygmies Later!!
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"Spaceship? Creatures? What Are You Trying To Feed Us Here?!"...
azathothpwiggins12 February 2019
Director Don Dohler's first opus, THE ALIEN FACTOR, is a wonder of low-low-oh-so-low-budget filmmaking.

When an extraterrestrial craft crashes to Earth, it unleashes a cargo of deadly creatures to prey upon the unsuspecting denizens of a rural town.

Of course, the acting and dialogue aren't Oscar-worthy, or even Oscar Meyer wiener-worthy, but who cares? It's all about the monsters, not the puny humans anyway! Sets? Well, bed sheets for morgue walls and a laundry room serving as the Sheriff's office work just fine! Hair? Who pays attention enough to notice the huge differences -short-long-short- in any character's hair length from one scene to the next?

Nope, this movie is strictly for monster fans, and these hand-made creations are just plain eye-popping! There's a bug man, a giant satyr / go-rilla man, and a burnt lasagna man! There's even a stop-motion lizard beast! This is cheeeze as art!

EXTRA POINTS FOR: #1- The trio of friends who look as though Charles Manson, Roger Daltrey, and Eric Clapton (from his early CREAM days) decided to hang out together! #2- The bar band and their two semi-awake, female fans! #3- The Sheriff (Tom Griffith), who proves that L.Q. Jones could have played McCloud! #4- Aunt Ruth and intergalactic superstar, George Stover!

Watch this immediately!...
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Enjoy It, Just Don't Take It Too Seriously
Michael_Elliott16 August 2017
The Alien Factor (1978)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

A spaceship crash lands in a small town and sure enough before long there's a creature out killing people. It takes a while for the Mayor (how original) to believe what's going on but soon the whole town has to try and destroy the creature.

THE ALIEN FACTOR isn't a movie for people who like high art or just has a hatred for low-budget movies. I mean, if you're looking for a good quality movie then you're really not going to find it here. What you do get are some pretty campy moments and a film that's basically a throwback to the monster movies of the 1950s. If you're a fan of stuff like THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, IT CONQUERED THE WORLD or IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE then you'll probably enjoy this film.

With that said, it's important to remember that THE ALIEN FACTOR was shot on a very low-budget and there are certainly countless flaws with the picture. I thought the film managed to be fun because it didn't take itself too serious and you could tell that the filmmakers had a love for the genre and just wanted to make a monster movie. The monster itself looks rather silly but that just adds to the fun as it goes from one victim to the next. There's no gore to be had but this too just makes it play like a movie from previous decades.

Performances certainly aren't anything special and technically there's nothing overly impressive. Again, this isn't a movie about quality. Instead THE ALIEN FACTOR is just a cheap movie that offers up some entertainment as long as you don't take it too seriously.
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5/10
Funny? You bet! Worth a few bucks for the DVD? Oh Yes!
abutler-929 April 2006
This Movie is just Fun. Back in the mid 70's movies like these were being made every day, by people with small budgets and little know actors. But they were the movies you would talk to your buddies about long after the movie has gone the way of the Drive-ins.I was too young to see Alien Factor when it was at the Drive-in. I did see on a late night fright show on NBC. I was about 15 then and found it be the best laugh you could get with out big name stars. I bought the DVD for a few bucks in a bargain store. I just watched it and Man! It brings back the memories. Plan 9 from outer space meets Gumby and Pokey! It's fun. It's low tech.it's got bad acting. But the monster costumes look great for mid 70's. I'm surprised Don Dohler didn't get as far as John Carpenter did. You might say some thing like "John Carpenter did some great work!" Yes thats true. But just look at one of his first movies "Dark Star" You can't find gems like these being made today. My friends and I call movies like these "Pure Cheese" This is the best of pure cheese around. You can find cheesy movies. But it takes the best and I mean the best to make it into My list of Top 10 Pure Cheese. I'll watch this movie for years to come. I would say on the Pure Cheese list I would put it at 3 between Laser Blast & Dark Star. Every now and then you have to sit back and watch a low tech/low budget movie. Just a good old fun Si-Fi that doesn't weigh you down with plot or sub plot. I hold Pure Cheese movies in the highest regard.The Alien Factor is one movie to be held high. So Thanks to Don Dohler for good fun!
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4/10
The Ultimate poster child for "grading on a curve"
Scott_Mercer30 June 2012
I have to give Don Dohler some credit for doing what he did here, basically with the lowest of low budgets.

You want to make a cool monster movie with almost no money? Okay, you'll be forced to use local yokels as the actors, a really generic script, poorly formed dialog and such a low budget that your police car is a seven year old two-door car with one siren suction-cupped to the roof.

Plenty of creativity is brought to bear, and for its time, and its budget, this was a reasonable attempt at home made, waaaaay outside the Hollywood studio system filmmaking.

But I can only go so far with such generosity. Terrible acting is terrible acting, no matter how you slice it. And apparently the direction didn't help, if these were the best line readings they got to use in the film. At least somebody like Ed Wood used professional Hollywood thespians in his cheaper-than-cheap productions.

Uncompelling scriptwriting is uncompelling scriptwriting, no matter how you slice it. We have here a story that was done many times before this, and the "mind blowing twist" is not nearly as mind blowing or innovative as the filmmakers would have us believe.

I recently saw the film as part of the recent "Cinematic Titanic" presentation of former MST3K folks, and on that basis, I can highly recommend watching. But like Manos: The Hands of Fate, and many other turkeys of yore, watching the versions done by MST3K people is just about the only way to get through these things.

Movie by itself: 4 out of 10

Cinematic Titanic version: 8 out of 10
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8/10
A deliciously cheesy low-budget sci-fi schlock hoot
Woodyanders13 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Perpetually all-thumbs Baltimore, Maryland no-budget sci-fi dreck picture filmmaker Don Dohler strikes out with enjoyably abysmal results with his first ill-advised foray into "I got money, I have no clue how to direct, but I'll make myself a motion picture because I want to" Do It Yourself dimestore cinema. The fill-in-the-blanks obvious and predictable plot concerns a spaceship which crash-lands in the woods located nearby the sleepy podunk town of Perry Hill. A trio of pernicious and ferocious extraterrestrial beasts -- the Leemoid, a clunky stop-motion animation lizard dinosaur which sucks out people's lifeforce and turns their bodies into dried-out husks; the Interbyce, a black, scaly, crusty-faced insect being wearing blue jeans (!), and the Zagatile, a hirsute, towering, long-legged Bigfoot-locking behemoth with lethal sharp claws -- escape from the downed craft and embark on a murderous spree, picking off a sizable share of the dipstick hillbilly populace.

Boy, does this delightfully dopey unintentional riot really cover all the right wretched camp movie bases, starting with Dohler's characteristically ham-fisted direction and by-the-numbers cookie cutter cliché-ridden script. The pitifully fake, unconvincing (substantially less than) special effects are quite rubbery and laughable, with two of the creatures being clearly nothing more than a pair of hapless dudes in lumpy Halloween costume party-style outfits (the Zagatile is especially crummy). The community theater level acting from a stock bunch of eternally awful Dohler film regulars is hilariously horrible: ungainly beanpole Tom Griffith cuts a most unimpressive figure as the earnest good ol' boy sheriff, Dick Dyszel (better known as Washington, DC TV horror show host Count Gore Devol) does an odiously smarmy turn as the corrupt, money-grubbing mayor, blubbery beefcake Don Leifert wears a fixed scowl and snarls all his lines as an arrogant, trouble-making redneck monster hunter, and "Cinemacabre" fanzine editor George Stover nerds it up somethin' gawky as a dweeby doctor. Brit McDonough's ratty cinematography, shot on chintzy, scratched-up 16mm film stock, gives the whole cockeyed affair the oddly endearing poverty-row look and feel of a slightly embellished home movie. Kenneth Walker's noodling, creepy-crawly synth score shrilly screams "Cheeseball sci-fi schlock flick music!" The lowdown funky blue-eyed soul garage group Atlantis make a great cameo appearance cranking out a slow-grinding tune at a seedy bar. The atrociously banal dialogue boasts such tin-eared gems as "She's a cool chick and we're gonna take her with us" and the immortal deduction "Looks like my meteor is some kind of spacecraft." Several unsightly white guy mushroom Afros and tacky sideburns, the choppy editing, poorly synced sound, a clumsy "Jaws"-derived subplot dealing with a few greedy and unscrupulous politicians who want to cover up the killings because it's bad for business, and an absurdly telegraphed would-be surprising twist ending cap off the goodies to be relished in this sloppy and amateurish, yet somehow still crudely appealing and entertaining clunker.
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2/10
The Alien Factor
Scarecrow-8821 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Three alien creatures are accidentally set free when the space ship carrying them crash lands in the woods of a Maryland town killing locals in the area. A mysterious scientist(Don Leifert, the demon possessed corpse in Dohler's Fiend) seems to know how to stop them since the bullets fired from police weaponry has little effect. I'll be honest, I found this a laborious trial to sit through. In terms of quality, it has awkward pacing, editing, camera work, musical arrangement, and acting, all of a "lo-fi" variety. For fans of bad cinema, and director Don Dohler, The Alien Factor might be worthwhile, particularly the alien monster costumes and the final effects sequence where animated cells were used to show a creature up against Leifert. The very definition of scraping every dollar to make an independent movie. Tom Griffith, as Sheriff Cinder, never looks comfortable in his role, awfully stiff(..as was most of the cast). Richard Dyszel is the town's concerned mayor, hoping the murders cease and soon. The goofy reason for how the creatures wound up on Earth(..the specimens were being transported to an alien zoo on another planet!)might provide some much needed chuckles. Some sci-fi fans might find this tolerable.
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9/10
Now a Cinematic Titanic Classic!
bixdugan121 June 2010
You may remember the TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000, where the captive subjects were forced to watch bad movies? Cinematic Titanic features five of the original cast of talent from that show, and The Alien Factor is one of their latest releases.

The scenes with the best riffing: Opening credits! Couple making out in VW. First scene with the Sheriff. The rock band- oh my god! When the "hunting party" goes out looking for aliens. And many more...

I've watched this version of The Alien Factor at least 10 times now, and it's really funny. It's definitely worth finding on-line and ordering yourself a copy.

Now I need to find AF2!
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1/10
EDIE! LOOK OUT!
nogodnomasters9 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The movie is based on a great idea. A space alien who collects creatures with rubber masks crash lands on earth. The creatures seem to like blonds (who doesn't) and kills anyone who drives a VW wagon or owns a gun.

A guy gets killed in the first scene while out parking with his girlfriend, sharing a bottle of liquor, something that seemed acceptable in the film. Times have changed.

Low budget. Horrible dialogue. Bad DVD transfer. Terrible sound. Bad acting. Stupid monster costumes. Not really that great while stoned either. More careers were killed than people.

Parental Guide: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity.
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