Monday, March 12, 2012

Rifftrax Review: Galaxy Invader, or the Don Dohler Connection

Recently, Rifftrax released two new DVDs of movies that were previously available only online. Both are cheesy movies set in the backwoods, where just plain folk deal with situations that are beyond imagination, or at least theirs.

One movie actually has a connection with the other major movie riffing group, Cinematic Titanic. Galaxy Invader was written and directed by Don Dohler, who also made The Alien Factor, one of CT's live DVDs. Both are set in the rural part of Maryland, and involve an alien who crashes to Earth and causes severe havoc on the townfolk. Both also have a dramatic climax that makes you wonder "what the F", then suddenly end.

However, Galaxy Invader makes you root for the alien from start to finish. The reason is Joe Montague (Richard Ruxton), the protagonist for lack of a better term. He's scuzzy and drunk, and wears a t-shirt with a big hole in the middle. He often threatens his family with a shotgun. They include JJ (described as a 40 year old toddler by the Rifftrax gang), Annie, and Carol who has a boyfriend that daddy doesn't like. It's no wonder Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett came up with some really freaky riffs this time

Anyway, the Galaxy Invader guy lands in Redneck Valley, Maryland, and accidentally buzzes a car driven by David, a high school student. He calls Professor Tracy about it, and he decides to come later that morning. The alien wanders around as if he was Walt Disney finally defrosted ("Mickey, Goofy, your daddy is back"). He approaches a house, and kills the couple inside after they try to attack him ("Oscar the Grouch has gone Beserker").

Then we meet Joe ("It's like someone took Bill the Cat and made him human") and his family. In full daughter hunting mode, he sees the alien, and shoots his glowing ball off of his body. Joe calls his friend Frank Custer and his wife Vicki, and they discuss capturing the alien in a get-rich-quick scheme. They're also impressed that the ball creates fire by poking at it. However, JJ gets tased by the alien, who gets back his glowing ball. Jos is upset ("You make me wish your sister and I never had kids"), but he gets a few friends together to find the creature. David and Professor Tracy learn about the hunt, and they try to find the alien first.

Anyway, what follows is a lot of killing and chasing, and even attempted adultery, plus David and Professor Tracy trying to rescue the alien from Joe and Frank's clutches. Let's just say their plan ends badly. The riffs include references to OJ Simpson, Einstein, Press Your Luck, Larry Craig, Jeri Ryan, and how the Rifftrax employees respond to the smell of bacon. The story, such as it is, ends when Joe's wife finally puts an end to all this foolishness...permanently. Then in the final credits we hear Kevin sing about the ending, while the mascot, Disambodio, sings a lot about Bunky Hart.

So, what's the connection with Alien Factor aside from Dohler? Well, Don Leifert, who plays Frank Custer, was the alien professor who tried to rescue everyone in Alien Factor. We're not sure what happened to him between 1977 and 1985 for Leifert, because he looks very different. Richard Dyszel, who played Tracy, was the mayor in Alien Factor. George Stover, who was JJ, was also Steve from the coroner's office in Alien Factor. Also, remember the out-of-place scene in Alien Factor where kids playing with a ball suddenly find a green corpse? Two of them were in Galaxy Invader: Kim Dohler as Annie and Greg Dohler as David.

AND...there's one more thing: footage from Galaxy Invader was used in the introduction to Pod People, an MST3K favorite. Apparently Mike wondered how bad Galaxy Invader really was, and we all found out.

There is one difference, though. With Alien Factor, there are visual effects like when one of the locals turns into a green corpse and Zachary gets some info downloaded into his head from a dead alien. The only "special effects" in Galaxy Invader are fireworks being used as bullets from the alien's gun

The other new DVD is the Crater Lake Monster, basically what would hapen if the Loch Ness Monster was trapped in a lake in Oregon, and had to deal with two dumb guys who rented boats, among other things? I'll have more on that later this week.

No comments: