Dr. Farrel (Paul Bentzen) and Dr. Rogers (John Alderman) are scientists at a government laboratory. They have been experimenting on an organism that was found on a Martian probe. The government orders that the micro-organism be sent to a secure facility in Colorado. Trying not to attract attention, the crate containing the microbes are shipped on a train with only one person, Dr. Sorensen (Stafford Morgan) accompanying it.
While the train travels through the Midwest the train attendant, Hank (George Flowers), becomes curious as to what is being transported. Hank opens the crate and finds some test tubes. He believes they contain some kind of medicine. When he inadvertently breaks a couple of them, and cuts himself, he tries to hide what happened.
Eventually the train pulls into the depot in a small town called Moose Point to change engines before it continues on to Colorado. At the depot is Charlie (Ralph Meeker), Jenny (Carol Irene Newell) and Jack Tiller (John F. Goff). Hank shakes Jacks hand and ruffles Charlie’s hair before Jenny notices the cut on his hand. She dresses the wound for him. Sorensen sees Hank acting funny and goes to check on the microbes. When he sees the broken vials, he realizes that everyone at the station has been exposed to the pathogen.
Sorensen notifies the government. The depot is put into lockdown, and no one is allowed to leave. The lab is notified that there are five people who have been exposed to the organisms, but how higher life forms will react is not totally known. What is known is that the organisms stay dormant until the infected person goes to sleep. When they do the organisms activate and the infected person’s head swells and explodes.
While the lab races to find a cure for the alien life form, the people exposed are trapped with nothing to do but try to stay awake and nothing to think about but their possible imminent death.
“The Alpha Incident” was released in 1978 and was directed by Bill Rebane. It is an American horror and science fiction film.
The movie is a combination “The Body Snatchers” 1956 meets “Scanners” 1981meets “Night of the Living Dead” 1968 meets “Andromeda Strain” 1971, only not nearly as good. The movie is mostly boring and tedious. Nothing really good happens until ten minutes before the end of the film. Then all hell breaks loose.
In addition to the lack luster dialogue and pace of the film, the characters are mostly unappealing and downright pathetic. Jack in particular is an irritating loudmouth. He may be annoying and a total asshole, but he is spot one with some of the opinions and observations he makes concerning the government. Everyone else basically sits around waiting to die.
This is one movie where you don’t have to fall asleep while watching it to make your head explode. The last ten minutes of the film doesn’t totally make up for everything before it, but it helps.