Monday, February 3
One of the late Don Dohler's passions was making, by most measures, bad movies. Searching around for opinion makes this clear as there's no shortage of those that love to dump on his filmography. Yet there's something transcendent about his brand of schlock differentiating itself from the usual trashy late night pizza 'n beer offerings.
Dohler's work has an extremely likable, earnest quality tending to be absent on this tier of filmmaking. Acting as editor for all but one of his films, he had keen ability in cutting even mundane scenes to avoid the usual drag that can accompany cheap productions while also invoking tension and dread when necessary. While always short of resources, real care was placed into every project and loyal regulars like Anne Frith and George Stover aided in his vision of a more innocent time of genre cinema. John Paul Kinhart's excellent 2007 documentary, Blood, Boobs & Beast, does a fantastic job of articulating this for the uninitiated, but they're aspects naturally felt throughout his work.
Similar to his previous Nightbeast (1982), Galaxy Invader details a scaly mossy-green alien crashing into backwoods and having to deal with yokels wanting to capture the invader with hopes of dollar signs. Unlike the raging extraterrestrial beast of the '82 feature, this creature is passive, almost reducing the sci-fi angle to a moot point. The narrative actually revolves more around a violent lush, played by another regular Richard Ruxton, spearheading the backward hunt. Every booze-fueled decision eventually drives him to be at deadly odds with his own family. Unlike Dohler's other straight foward potboilers, Galaxy Invader offers a morality play over the destructive nature of alcoholism with a side of ugly alien, cheesy optical laser effects, and flashpot explosions. Though it's doubtful the director ever wanted viewers to dissect his work to such a degree.
Sadly, Galaxy Invader seems to have gone public domain in the last decade with a myriad of cheapo DVD sets. Back in the VHS era; consistent editions from the likes of VCI Entertainment and United Home Video kept the movie in-print for years. Japan only saw one VHS release with totally cracked artwork from CLS Video's Clarion sublabel. This edition is actually taken straight from United's U.S. tape, right down to the opening copyright notice and United logo. Clarion releases are generally rare, this one exceptionally so, as I've only ever seen this single copy.