|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (March 2016)|
|Directed by||Jerry London|
|Produced by||Herbert F. Solow|
|Written by||Ed MacKillop
|Music by||Gil Mellé|
|Cinematography||Terry K. Meade|
|Edited by||Bud Hoffman
|Distributed by||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
Killdozer! is a 1974 made for TV science-fiction horror movie, adapted from a 1944 novella by Theodore Sturgeon. A comic-book adaptation appeared the same year, in Marvel Comics Worlds Unknown #6 (April 1974). The film has since gained a cult following.
A meteorite crashes onto the Earth's surface, an island off the coast of Africa. Some hundreds or thousands of years later, after natural forces have buried it and restored the local environment, six construction workers are boated to the island to begin work building an airstrip for an oil drilling company at the crash site, the uninhabited island.
Foreman Kelly (Clint Walker) and bulldozer driver Mack (Robert Urich) uncover the meteorite (though they don't recognize what it is), which emits a strange sound. When the bulldozer (a Caterpillar D9 in the movie, a Caterpillar D7 in the novella) is used to try to shift the meteorite, it emits a blue light that moves to, and seems to possess, the bulldozer. Mack, standing nearby as this occurs, falls ill and then dies some hours later. Chub (Neville Brand), the team's mechanic, cannot find anything wrong with the inoperative bulldozer, but can hear the odd sound from the blade. Kelly orders that the bulldozer not be used.
Beltran (James A. Watson, Jr.) ignores the prohibition and starts the bulldozer, bringing it to malevolent life. It destroys the camp's only two-way radio and begins a rampage, killing the workers one by one. It seems to run indefinitely in spite of a limited fuel capacity. The machine has some rudimentary intelligence and guile, and hunts down the men.
The crew is soon reduced to just Kelly and Dennis (Carl Betz). Running out of options, with the expected relief crew not due to arrive just yet, they amuse themselves by convicting the bulldozer of murder, then consider methods of 'execution'. Too heavy to hang, too big for the gas chamber... until they realize it might be able to be electrocuted. They lure it to a trap consisting of steel Marsden Matting (used for constructing temporary runways during World War II) connected to a generator.
As the bulldozer is electrified, the alien entity emerges as an aura around the machine, then finally fades. The men shut down the power and check the blade: no sound. Though Kelly realizes his story will not be believed as he is a recovering alcoholic, and this job was his last chance to redeem himself, he intends to tell the truth.
- Clint Walker as Lloyd Kelly
- James Wainwright as Dutch Krasner
- Carl Betz as Dennis Holvig
- Neville Brand as Chub Foster
- James A. Watson, Jr. as Al Beltran
- Robert Urich as Mack McCarthy
In popular culture
After Conan O'Brien mentioned the movie on The Tonight Show, the movie attained cult classic status with over three million hits on YouTube within a week of its mention. The name was appropriated by the media for Marvin Heemeyer's 2004 rampage in an armored bulldozer through the town of Granby, Colorado.
Wisconsin '80s punk band Killdozer is named after the film.
Killdozer is mentioned in an episode of Beavis and Butthead, when Beavis asks Butthead if he has ever seen the film on TV.
Both Clint Walker and Killdozer were referenced several times as riffs on cult show Mystery Science Theater 3000.