A contained sci-fi horror that focuses on characters instead of gags and effects but fails to make anyone likable; not much to chew on.
An alien organism from Mars escapes from a train and becomes parasitic, preying on the local train station and its occupants. Let’s dig into 1978’s THE ALPHA INCIDENT directed by Bill Rebane!
As I See It
From the same man who brought you Blood Harvest, which we dug up a couple of months ago, Latvian-born Bill Rebane is back with his DIY, low-budget fare.
This time he’s going back a couple of decades and giving us his rendition of a nineteen-fifties era Sci-Fi story. It’s a smart move to make it contained, as he doesn’t have to worry about building these big elaborate sets. It’s also smart and economical to make the alien invader invisible.
That doesn’t make for the most enjoyable film to watch, but it has its moments. Especially the gory lead into the climax.
With such a bleak ending, there was no room for a sequel, nor was anyone wanting one.
The dialogue here was less than low-hanging fruit, it was low-brain power stuff. “You’re a real dum dum, you know that?” We’re not winning any literary awards with this one, Bill.
The campy control room is reminiscent of Star Trek and any other period science fiction film or TV show, which adds a nice bit of warm nostalgia if you’re into that era.
Don’t forget: “You sleep, you die!”
Besides looking like a low-rent Hal Holbrook in his later years, John Goff (Jack) had bit parts in John Carpenter’s They Live and The Fog.
George “Buck” Flower (Hank) is, of course, Mr. Wallace in the original horror masterpiece Pumpkinhead.
Of Gratuitous Nature
Filming Jenny (Carol Newell) changing adds nothing to the film beyond some side-boob. The subsequent non-consensual relations between her and Jack were a cheap way to build tension and sour characters.
It was very unexpected, but the one true gore scene towards the film’s end with the brain breaking out of the head and eyes popping out was brilliant. It’s exactly the type of moment I’ve been looking for since I became obsessed with movie effects all those years ago, thanks to the pages of Fangoria.
Ripe for a Remake
It has all the makings to produce an enjoyable contained horror film, but there isn’t anything terribly singular about this besides the DIY flair and the Star Trek-like control room.
No progeny to report.
Where to Watch
It was released as part of Arrow Video’s “Weird Wisconsin” Blu-Ray set, which collects the films of Bill Rebane. It’s loaded with extras and includes Monster A GO GO, Invasion from Inner Earth, The Demons of Ludlow, The Game, Twister’s Revenge, and a feature-length documentary on Rebane.