Rudy Schwartz's Reviews

Some of my favorite people have come from the state of Maryland. Frank Zappa, H. L. Mencken, and John Waters all hailed from Baltimore, a city with a peculiar knack for producing brilliant oddballs, geniuses, and weirdos. Baltimore also gave us the now forgotten Mayor Kurt Shmoke, who in the 1980s made a noble attempt to persuade Americans to adopt a more rational stance toward marijuana. Ultimately he failed, but one can hardly blame a man for standing up to insurmountable odds and trying to cast reason into a sea of unblinking idiocy.

Which brings me to another product of Baltimore, Don Dohler. Certainly not a genius, but definitely an oddball, Dohler published Cinemagic magazine in the 1970s and had his hand in numerous low tech film endeavors. Like Shmoke, Dohler took insurmountable odds (his budget) and confronted the unblinking idiocy of America. But unlike Shmoke, Dohler didn't choose reason as his weapon. He chose idiocy. This may seem counterintuitive, but consider what Karl Rove accomplished when he explicitly challenged an honorable military record, his principle weapon being a coke snorting draft evader. Could it be that Don Dohler was just ahead of his time? Is it possible that Karl Rove's genius derives from multiple viewings of The Galaxy Invader? I'll leave that for great minds like Ann Coulter and Charles Krauthammer to debate, because I've already digressed too far to establish a threadbare point: Don Dohler was from Baltimore.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes. The Galaxy Invader. Boy howdy is this one over the top. There's nothing really exceptional about the plot. It's your usual "alien lands on Earth and encounters humans" story that's been done a thousand times before, but there are so many intangibles in Dohler's execution that make this one stand out from the crowd.

First there are the "hillbillies." Obviously Don Dohler had no idea what real hillbillies are like. Dohler's hillbillies seem like a bunch of people from a working class suburb trying to act like hillbillies. It's sort of like what you'd expect if you hired Sandra Bullock to play Ma Barker, only these people don't suck as much as Sandra Bullock. Well, actually, they do, but they're not being paid for this shit, so I'm willing to cut them some slack. Plus, who the hell names a hillbilly family the Montagues? Don Dohler, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

Richard Ruxton stars as the hillbilly patriarch, Joe Montague. Joe is an alcoholic, abusive loud mouth despised by his entire family, and not averse to threatening his daughter by chasing her through the woods with a shotgun. A special shout out is due to Don Leifert (costume design) if he had anything to do with the ripped white cotton Fruit Of the Loom undershirt that Ruxton wears throughout the film. If I'm not mistaken, there are fleeting moments where you can see nipple, so be sure to keep your thumb poised over the remote pause button.

One day, while chasing his daughter with a shotgun, Joe Montague stumbles upon a man wearing a green rubber suit. You've seen it before - a monster or alien in a cheap rubber suit - but what makes this one special is the fact that he's wearing suspenders. I don't think this had been done before Dohler, and I think this innovation certainly places him on the level of a Fritz Lang or a Dziga Vertov. Or maybe I just felt like mentioning Dziga Vertov.

Oh, I almost forgot. Edgar Allen Poe was from Baltimore. Great city, Baltimore.

In his suspenders, the alien carries a plastic white ball about six inches in diameter. Sometimes it glows. In his initial confrontation with Joe Montague, he surrenders this plastic ball, and Joe returns to the house to call Frank Custer, the town's resident thinker.

To persuade Frank of the importance of his find, Joe sets the plastic ball in the grass, so that Frank and his skanky, obnoxious girlfriend can marvel when about six dollars worth of cheap fireworks are set off immediately behind the plastic ball. The cigar chomping Frank, no stranger to logic, immediately surmises that an alien must be in the woods, and that if he and Joe can capture it, they will be extremely wealthy. Thus we have the motivation for the rest of the film, and this motive will be repeated over and fucking over, as if the point is too subtle to be grasped by those who rented or purchased a Don Dohler film. Countless times Joe and Frank look at each other, say "We's gonna be rich men!," and begin hooting as if the Colts were returning to Maryland. Of course, at no point is the demand side of this equation explained. Do they plan on selling it to a zoo? To the government? To Fox News as a fill-in for Sean Hannity?

Say, do you like crabs? Boy, I sure do. And Baltimore's got 'em. Why, it may be the crab capital of the world! For more information visit

So, I don't want to ruin it, but what follows includes a pack of hillbillies capturing a guy in a rubber suit and tying him up in a garage, a "serious scientist guy" who says things like "Oh great, the biggest scientific event in the history of the world is being lassoed by a bunch of rednecks!," multiple murders that never provoke any questions let alone investigations, and a guy falling to his death who looks suspiciously like a water balloon inside of a burlap bag with some sticks attached with duct tape.

There are too many moments of jaw dropping inanity in The Galaxy Invader to document here. The only conclusion I can offer is that you need this movie. Like a tense holiday gathering of a dysfunctional family needs a flatulent dog, you need this movie. It's nearly perfect. Four and a half Waldos with significant enthusiasm.

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