Theme Song: There is no theme song for this movie.
Interesting Dated References: The railway being an economic and secure method to ship top-secret government goods. Helping bandage a work associate with an open wound and actually touching their skin and blood.
Best Line: “The only time I stay in one place this long is when I’m in bed with a chick, or just sleeping.”
Social Context: There’s some vintage anti-government/cover-up sentiment going on.
Summary: So I dare you to guess who’s in this movie? Now really, think broad here and come up with a name. I’ve got time, go ahead. Ready? Okay, tell me who you thought of.. No, you’re wrong, that’s way off.
It’s the Menards Guy! If you are from the Midwest, you are familiar with the home repair supercenter Menards. If you aren’t from the Midwest, you probably aren’t reading this blog because you think I am ignorant. The Menards Guy was a staple of television commercials all throughout the 80s and 90s. If you really don’t know who The Menards Guy is and want to figure it out, read about it on the internet.
So the government finds some type of substance on Mars, and a bunch of lab scientists determine it is dangerous to the human race. Someone makes the wise decision to ship the substance via train to Denver, Colorado, with only a single guard.
On the train, the wacky, drunken, train worker, Hank (veteran character actor George ‘Buck’ Flower), becomes curious and opens the box of the mysterious substance, while Mr. Sorensen, the government guard, is snoozing. Through the use of wacky sound effects, we realize Hank accidentally breaks open a container of said goo and cuts his hand.
In the meantime, a bunch of scientists who are sitting in what appears to be a church basement, talk about how dangerous the substance is. Eventually, the train stops in Moose Point to swap engines. Hank and Mr. Sorensen go into the train station and meet characters with distinguishing names like Jack, Jenny, and Charlie.
Sorensen sees the wound on Hank’s hand and immediately the government quarantines the entire area. Sorensen calls The Menards Guy who doles out orders, some other scientists talk about mice with exploded heads, and Jack the railway worker tries to escape..
..only to be shot by Sorensen, but then spends the rest of the movie rubbing his arm like he was stung by a bee. Then movie transforms from sci-fi infection movie to Lord of The Flies-esque claustrophobia melodrama. It actually does this rather effectively, I might add, despite the barely penciled in characters.
As time goes by, tensions mount and Hank the drunk tries to escape. In order to leave lots of holes in the plot, Sorensen shoots him once in the leg and allows him to continue running. Nice gun.
Because this “cooped-up people turning against each other” thing couldn’t go on much longer, Sorensen receives a phone call with the instructions that all those in quarantine can’t fall asleep. He also informs everyone that the government will be delivering a bunch of “meth-amphetamines” to help them stay awake.
Then the group discusses what they could do to stay awake. Jack has a chuckle, despite being shot in the arm. Then a helicopter drops off a bunch of cigarettes and methamphetamines. Everyone does a bunch of amphetamines and smokes cigarettes, yet no one has sloppy sex or falls asleep in figure drawing class.
Then for some reason, Jenny the secretary changes into a negligee. This gets Jack all hot n’ horny, so he plugs in a radio and finds Hank’s booze. Sorensen actually says, “I think you should stick to the amphetamines.” Jack finally convinces Jenny to get busy with him, and in the meantime Charlie falls asleep and his head explodes.
After this, Jenny commits suicide with a gun in her car. Then an antidote arrives via helicopter. Jack takes his immediately and dies.
Sorensen doesn’t take the pill but falls asleep. The next shot is of the National Guard (guys wrapped in tin foil) arriving to clean up all the corpses. Sorensen wakes up on the ground to reveal he hasn’t been infected. But the mean old National Guard pays no attention to this fact and shoots him like 87 times. The end. The director (Bill Rebane) also did Blood Harvest, which stars Tiny Tim as a clown in a slasher movie. I bought a $3 public domain copy of this back in 1996 and watched it without realizing it starred Tiny Tim. It was a really bad transfer and was hard to see. I remember it being a complete mess of a movie and I was really confused by what I was seeing. John Alderman stars as one of the scientists. Alderman must have been totally awesome since he was in a bunch of obscure 60s exploitation movies, a few 70s blacksploitation flicks, and some 80s hardcore porno. What a life.
Scientists or trendy indie beer nerds? You decide.
Poster and Box Art: The original movie poster for The Alpha Incident is pretty cool. It’s almost entirely hand drawn and is done in marker (I think). Unfortunately, the Betamax cover is terrible. It’s just a desolate Martian landscape with some rocks and stars. It looks like the first lesson in that “How To Airbrush” book my mom bought me when I was 12. Totally terrible. They should have stuck with the original poster.
Availability: Available on DVD.