In November 1944, Theodore Sturgeon, one of the most renowned science fiction writers in history, known for, among other things, writing several scripts for ‘Star Trek,’ wrote a story for ‘Astounding’ magazine called ‘Killdozer.’ Its plot, to say the least, was bizarre: an alien weapon possesses a construction bulldozer, and it starts killing anyone it encounters. It may sound silly, but it fascinated at least two people.
More Killdozer, it’s war
The first person, a certain Jerry London, a relatively unknown director and producer, premiered the adaptation of ‘Killdozer!’ directly on television in 1974, with a twist to make it more sinister. In this case, the evil force came from a meteorite rather than an ancient alien race that once dominated us, as in the original novel. The book is better than the movie, as always.
The TV movie was a notable critical and commercial failure but has managed to become a cult classic among a certain type of trash-loving audience (among whom, I must admit, I am included). Twelve years later, Stephen King would take the idea to make his only film as a director, the utterly psychedelic ‘Maximum Overdrive.’
Right after the movie, its corresponding – and quite unexpected and unnecessary – comic book adaptation arrived in issue #6 of ‘Worlds Unknown.’ On its cover, the bulldozer spoke (“You dared to defy me… and now you must die!”), and it had a fabulous design… which wasn’t found within the comic‘s pages itself. It didn’t speak either. Nor did it have, while we’re at it, a female character.
Gerry Conway, a veteran author for both Marvel and DC, best known for his work on ‘Spider-Man,’ scripted this adaptation, which differed completely from its source material, both as a book and as a movie. In fact, they ultimately defeat the killer bulldozer simply by connecting a cable. There’s nothing like being an expert. The comic has gone down in history as one of the weirdest things to ever receive an adaptation (a loose adaptation of a movie that loosely adapted a short story). And of course, it’s worth knowing about, even if only for its curiosity value.