Alien Dead (1980)

Director: Fred Olen Ray Starring:Buster Crabbe, Raymon Roberts, Linda Lewis, Georeg Kelsey. USA. 1h 27m

Mind bending retro sci fi horror, featuring gator eating alien zombies that lay siege on a quaint rural southern town where a journalist ends up in a dead end town that seems to be running out of gators only to stumbles on the story of a lifetime.

They came from outer space to eat the living!

Tom Corman (Roberts) sits at his typewriter diligently typing his memories of his events in [town name] while trying to uncover the ecological conundrum about why the gators are missing, he stumbled on a wreckage from a meteor out in the swamps but before he can land the scoop on this story the family who were killed by the crashed space rock reveal that they are now undead flesh eating zombies, and now they have run out of gators they are happy to eat the townspeople.

All of this goes down in the wrong redneck town and while you can almost hear the dukes of hazards horn in the background, the journalist and a few plucky officers (including Buster Crabbe) manage to put up some fight against the mindless dead but is it enough?

It’s a bit of fun, there’s a lot of character build up, even though we get the idea immediately, but director, Fred Olen Ray, really does enjoy building up dynamics among the pretty young girls, aged bar maids and a fleet of bumbling cops who have hearts of gold but the calamity they conjure up is just as devastating as the zombies.

Tom Corman: What do you think about, Shawn?

Shawn Michaels: I don’t know. Growing up. Getting out of the swamp. Eating hamburgers. Stuff like that.

One step into the wilderness from Zombie Lake (1981), there’s buckets of blood and gore, all the wrong shades of orange and the hand holding the sparkler that demonstrates the meteorite is clearly visible. But there’s a lot of heart and imagination to keep the film fresh but you may only need to see it the once, but it’s worth checking out if you’re into retro b movies! Bear in mind that the original script was devised to have a hoard of girant leeches attack the town but it was changed to zombies at the last moment..

Rating: 3/10

Related: The Slayer (1982), Squirm (1976) , Jaws (1975), Crawl (2019), Zombie Lake (1981)
Lists: Swamp Cinema


One thought on “Alien Dead (1980)”

  1. This was Fred’s second feature after The Brain Leeches, and it was a real coup to get a name actor, Crabbe, to lend some legitimacy, however small, to it. Olen Ray heavily relied on signing on aging actors on the downswings of their careers to pump up his low-low-budget films. It’s interesting to see that he’s still directing, but these days he specializes in Hallmark Channel-type romance Christmas movies!!

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