Cinematic Titanic: The Alien Factor (2010) Review

Spread the love

In the history of the human species, there’s never been a two-door cop car.

The Alien Factor (1978): 3 out of 10: is an American science fiction and horror film directed by Baltimore-based filmmaker Don Dohler.

The quiet town of Perry Hill, Maryland, suddenly becomes the ground zero of mysterious and gruesome deaths. The local sheriff, Cinder (really?), faces a predicament that challenges his understanding of the natural world. The nature of the injuries inflicted on the victims suggests a predator, but one unlike anything anyone in Perry Hill has seen before.

A local recluse and “crazy scientist” type, Zachary, who has long been obsessed with the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Zachary presents a startling theory – the brutal killings are the work of alien creatures.

As the plot unravels, it’s revealed that a spacecraft carrying a menagerie of alien creatures destined for an intergalactic zoo has crash-landed nearby, with some of its dangerous occupants escaping the wreckage. The predator on the loose is an alien known as the “Infra-Man”, an eight-foot insect-like creature with incredible strength and agility.

Cinder and Zachary must confront their fears and skepticism as they team up to hunt down the monstrous alien, all while dealing with town folks’ panic and disbelief. Meanwhile, the ship’s owner, an advanced alien being, is attempting to recapture his lost creatures and fix his damaged ship.

“The Alien Factor” combines elements of 1950s B-movies with the monster-of-the-week formula, culminating in a climactic showdown between the unlikely heroes and the extraterrestrial threat. The film is known for its homemade special effects and is considered a cult classic in the low-budget sci-fi horror genre.

The Good

The Good: I know The Alien factor writes checks it simply cannot cash, but at least it is trying to write checks. The overall story is not all bad. Alien spaceship crashes with a couple of fugitive aliens on board that escape into the human settlements. Nice mix of aliens. Though no Donald Trump alien alas.

The Bad

The Bad: The Alien Factor takes place in a relatively deserted rural white trash town and yet we still have the Jaws, can’t scare away the investors’, mayor character. Good Lord. That is a trope that was everywhere at the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw a biblical epic from the late seventies where the Pharaoh worried the raining frogs would scare away investors in his new pyramid scheme.

The Alien Factor is an ugly film. It always seems to be overcast. I was going to accuse Cinematic Titanic of using a really bad print of the film (Something that Mystery Science theater was occasionally guilty of) but in reality the print they use is fine. The movie just looks like that.

This really hurts my reaction to the film. Movies by their nature are a visual medium and when the visuals are unappealing, everything else seems like a slog. On top of that, there really isn’t anything terribly memorable in the film. It is a by the numbers homemade affair. The kind of film you can easily fall asleep to on a Saturday afternoon. The B-Movie equivalent of watching golf.

The Ugly

The Ugly: You want to know what scares low budget filmmakers more than anything? Filling up eighty minutes. Like a first-time author who tells a tight story but then needs to make it “novel” length, low budget filmmakers might have about twenty minutes of good action scenes and twenty minutes of inexpensive exposition. But how to fill the remaining time?

I know. We will get a local band to perform entire songs in a “bar” scene and they will do it for free for the exposure and the movie will have a soundtrack and we kill ten to twenty minutes easy. There are many many examples of this in low-budget films but my personal favorite is Singularity Principle where I swear they filmed the wrap party and put it in the middle of the film.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: The Alien Factor is not fun to watch on its own. There are certainly budget and pacing issues along with special effects failures, but when all is said and done it just isn’t fun.

Cinematic Titanic: The Alien Factor

Cinematic Titanic: The Alien Factor (2010): 9 out of 10: is a film that presents a comedic, riff-filled commentary on the 1978 sci-fi and horror B-movie, “The Alien Factor”. It’s a unique viewing experience brought to you by the original creators and cast members of the iconic TV series “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (MST3K), including Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, J. Elvis Weinstein, Frank Conniff, and Mary Jo Pehl.

The premise of “Cinematic Titanic: The Alien Factor” maintains the same film-within-a-film format that MST3K fans will recognize instantly. The team watches the original “The Alien Factor” and provides real-time, humor-laden commentary, making fun of the movie’s plot, acting, special effects, and other elements that are typically associated with low-budget B-movies.

As the original film unfolds – with a rural town besieged by escaped alien creatures from a crashed spaceship – the Cinematic Titanic team interjects with their comedic observations and satirical commentary, giving the audience a new and hilarious perspective on the film.

The overall plot of “The Alien Factor” becomes a backdrop for the team’s comedic commentary, transforming this low-budget sci-fi horror movie into a laugh-out-loud comedic experience. Viewers are treated to the team’s signature humor, marked by pop culture references, witty remarks, and clever banter, all designed to lampoon the movie’s shortcomings and celebrate its quirks.

“Cinematic Titanic: The Alien Factor” is less about the plot of the original film and more about the comedic journey that the MST3K team takes you on. It’s a perfect blend of nostalgia and comedy, turning a B-movie viewing into a shared experience of laughs and good times.

The Good

The Good: I’ve said this before and while there are exceptions “cough…RiffTrax Space Mutiny Live…cough” there is something special about a live riffing session with audience feedback that just simply makes it more enjoyable and that goes double for Cinematic Titanic.

My biggest question after watching Cinematic Titanic The Alien Factor, is why were they not realising the live shows from the beginning? The audience’s reaction to the riffs (Both laughter and the occasional boos,) is fantastic. Certain performers really seem to feed off the audience as well in particular Frank Conniff and J. Elvis Weinstein. I have seen the non-live presentations of Cinematic Titanic and they lack a certain energy this outing has in spades.

The audience has plenty to laugh about as the riffs come at good pace and are quite funny. There are some really outstanding laugh out loud lines. (Frank’s “how many basements does this house have?” after what I assume is a continuity error during The Alien Factor is a highlight. I would put this performance up against the best RiffTrax and Mystery Science Theater has to offer.

The Bad

The Bad: As good as the riffing is, you are still watching The Alien Factor by Don Dohler. I agree with Paste magazine’s Jim Vorel when he points out in his capsule review of Teenagers From Outer Space “It might go against the spirit of the show in some respect, but I really do think that “not absolutely terrible” films often make for some of the best episodes—or at least legible films do”

The Alien Factor is not a very legible film. It has horrible pacing and visuals and even if you like the admittedly decent plot; the characters are a whole different kettle of fish.

The Ugly

The Ugly: I want to apologize on behalf of future Cinematic Diversions for all the horrible things we will say about J. Elvis Weinstein when we finally get around to reviewing the first season of Mystery Science Theater. He was only seventeen when the first season was made and he was a pioneer. He is great in this episode of Cinematic Titanic and, as I say above, really plays off the audience well. So apologies in advance Elvis.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: This outing of Cinematic Titanic is great fun. Perfect for fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and for fans of terrible movies. Well-written riffs and always entertaining Cinematic Titanic makes the insufferable, sufferable

The poor alien monster is being harassed by the paparazzi again.
By the power of Doug Henning, I command thee.
The Bridges of Madison County 2 is not nearly as romantic.
Outstanding performance by both the actor, the late Don Leifert, and of course that red and white striped tie, which is really carrying the scene.
Home alone after a night at the bar… yeah, a good old-fashioned monster magazine is my go to as well.
This bartender is easily the most realistic thing in The Alien Factor
Trust me on the sunscreen.
I am disappointed in the Cinematic Titanic team for not one Charles Manson joke about the fella on the right. (They did a nice Bay City Rollers jab for the fella on the left, so all is not lost.)
Nothing says I am in deep thought, like biting the temple tips of your glasses.
I almost feel like I am being a little too hard on The Alien Factor. It really does try.
In the history of the human species, there’s never been a two-door cop car.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments