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Construction Chaos! - Killdozer Retro-Review

Written by  Published May 26, 2017 03:19
"Six men...playing a deadly game of cat and mouse...with a machine that wants to kill them. "Yes, it is that famous (infamous?!) 1974 made-for-TV movie (back when that actually MEANT something) KILLDOZER!! I watched "Killdozer" last week for the very first time. I had heard about the film of course, but I had never had both the chance and inclination to watch it before. For the benefit of my readers, I will give you all a short synopsis of the movie. If you have NOT seen the film and maybe plan to do so, spoiler warnings abound  and are in full effect!


killdozer clint walker 1The movie starts off with a meteoroid travelling through space, the meteoroid is pulsing with a strange blue light. The meteoroid is slowly approaching the planet Earth, where it collides onto a small island off of the coast of Africa. The meteorite lay still for hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years. By then, the meteorite  has been somewhat concealed by the natural growth in the area . The local environment has been restored to its original state. That is, until the site is disturbed by a small crew of six construction workmen.The workmen have arrived via boat to the island in order to build an airstrip for the use of an oil drilling company. They will be working at the site of the crash. Two of the men, Kelly the foreman and Mack the bulldozer driver (played by Clint Walker and Robert Urich respectively) unearth the large meteorite.

The meteorite begins to emit a strange sound...a sort of hum. When Kelly tries to move the meteorite, Mack notices the humming and the glow. He notices the glow transfer to the bulldozer itself! In the short story upon which this movie is based, the bulldozer is a Caterpillar D7, for the movie they used a Caterpillar D9. Before Mack can warn his boss he is struck by the light, falls ill and dies within a few hours. Chub, the mechanic on the team, is sent to investigate the non-functioning bulldozer. Chub notices the slight humming that the bulldozer emits, but cannot find anything wrong with the bulldozer itself (Chub is played by character actor Neville Brand. Brand turns in a stellar performance, as do the other actors. Brand was also a highly decorated American combat soldier in World War II. Brand was an insatiable reader and had amassed a collection of over 30,000 books! Sadly, most of these were destroyed in a fire in 1978 at his home in Malibu. As a fellow book collector, I can deeply sympathize).

killdozer 1974 movie pic

Kelly then orders that the bulldozer not be used. One of the workers, Beltran, played by James A. Watson Jr., decides to disobey the order and take the bulldozer out anyway. This proves to be a major mistake, as not only is Beltran killed by the bulldozer, but the machine also manages to destroy the camp's only two-way radio, as well as manage to run without filling up for gas or sustaining any real damage to itself. Killdozer begins to hunt the men one by one. Chub is the next to fall before the Killdozer.

Dutch Krasner, one of the surviving three men, is slowly having a breakdown (Dutch Krasner is played by James Wainwright). Foreman Lloyd Kelly and Dennis Holvig (Holvig is played by Carl Betz of the Donna Reed Show), whom have an antagonistic relationship towards each other, notice this but cannot figure out what to do about Krasner's mounting paranoia and anxiety. Finally, Krasner breaks. He jumps into a jeep and races down toward the Killdozer. He parks the jeep right in the path of the killer bulldozer. Krasner, with a calm smile and demeanor, simply waits for the Killdozer to crush him to death. The Killdozer grants his wish and now there are four makeshift graves on the beach.

pic 05

 With the long awaited relief crew still not close to arrival, Kelly and Holvig amuse themselves by imaging a "punishment" for the murderous Killdozer (it is too heavy to hang -- and too big for the gas chamber). In doing so, they come up with one final option for saving themselves. Maybe the killer machine could be ELECTROCUTED! But how to do this? They quickly set a trap using  steel Marston Matting (used in World War II for the constructing of temporary runways) and hook it up to a generator.

The plan works and the humming stops. A blueish haze rises from the shovel of the bulldozer as whatever has been powering the Killdozer departs or dies. Holvig asks Kelly what they will tell the relief crew when they dock. Kelly, who knows that as a recovering alcoholic, whom was working this job in an effort to try to redeem himself, decides that he will tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. We do not see this, since this is the point where the movie stops.


 Killdozer is a fun and well done film! It was a made-for-TV movie but it is good enough to have been on the silver screen at the time. The movie was even adapted in a comic book! This is in Marvel Comics' Worlds Unknown #6 April 1974! The movie prospers well from the fact that there are only six people on the island. There are no women for an unnecessary "romance plot." Nor is there any children running around in order to provide viewer tension. Such actions would have cheapened and watered down the movie.

Killdozer is a fantastic movie and I give it a 5 out of 5!! Watch Killdozer! 

Bryan Frazier

Bryan W. Frazier has been reading and collecting comic books for the past forty years! He has a love and fondness for the Vintage Comic Books, Comic Strips, Magazines, Books, Toys, TV Shows and Movies, and even radio shows  of the past (paying particular loving attention to the Pop Culture of the 70’s and 80’s! His personal “glory days”). He has two little poochies named Leyna and Layla, and an as yet unfinished novel  that he hope to turn into a series someday. His column is "Old School" and so is he!! He is Bryan W. Frazier -- Mr. Bronze Age!

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