2020 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 24: The Alien Factor (1978)

DAY 24. AT THE GIG: Something with live band scenes.

Man, I have so many movies with live band scenes that I’ve already used for this challenge, but I decided to look for something that has a band appearance that doesn’t fit into the actual narrative of the film, which is one of my favorite things in film.

I went with this Don Dohler made in Baltimore alien epic — that word may be stretching it — all about a spaceship containing specimens for an intergalactic zoo crashes on Earth, with the creatures escaping in killing all manner of small town folks.

What can you say about a movie where an astronomer doesn’t know the difference between a meteor and a meteorite? Oh well — it was Dohler’s first film and he certainly had no shortage of ideas and a definite finite cash supply. There are also moments of low tech effects glee here, like when the aliens make dotted fuzz patterns that possess people. Sure, they could have paid for a much better effect, but when it works this good, why worry?

The best reason to watch this — beyond the awesome monsters, which are really creative — is a trip to the AnIr Lounge, which promises discount liquors and has a bartender whose bottle blonde beehive would make my wife jealous. The band Atlantis is on stage, featuring Dohler’s brother on bass, and they look and sound like a band that was around at least a decade before when this movie was made in 1978. The movie completely stops so that they can play the song in its entirety when, let’s face it, deadly aliens should be on everyone’s’ minds at this point.

Isn’t it amazing that two underground voices rose from Baltimore? On one hand, you have the anarchy and boundary-breaking films of John Waters and then, there are the rubber-suited alien invaders of Dohler. What a magical place you are, Charm City.

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