Rated R / Color / 75 minutes
Directed by Fred Olen Ray
Also Known As: It Fell From the Sky
Purchase it: Amazon.com (DVD) | Amazon.com (Blu-ray)


Fred Olen Ray’s cinematic journey spans four decades of genre filmmaking, from creature features to comedic exploits. Introduced to his work through cable TV classics like DINOSAUR ISLAND and ATTACK OF THE 60 FOOT CENTERFOLD, I soon discovered his early horror forays, including THE ALIEN DEAD—a homage to George A. Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and Roger Corman’s ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES.

Set in the murky Florida swamps, THE ALIEN DEAD follows journalist Tom Corman (Ray Roberts) investigating the disappearance of local wildlife. Despite Sheriff Kowalski’s (Buster Crabbe) skepticism, strange nocturnal killings lead Tom and companions Shawn Michaels (Linda Lewis) and Miller Haze (Mike Bonavia) to uncover amphibious zombies spawned by a meteorite.

As the film progresses, our heroes confront these ghouls in a desperate struggle for survival, culminating in a harrowing showdown at a remote cabin. Yet, THE ALIEN DEAD’s resolution leaves much to be desired, with an ambiguous finale and unresolved narrative threads.

Shot on a shoestring budget, THE ALIEN DEAD showcases Fred Olen Ray’s resourcefulness with practical effects and makeup, bolstered by Buster Crabbe’s presence in one of his final roles. However, technical flaws—including inconsistent day-for-night sequences and narrative inconsistencies—undermine its potential.

The film’s lack of a cohesive plot and unclear rules for its undead antagonists diminish its impact. Despite nods to classic horror tropes and moments of tension, THE ALIEN DEAD struggles to sustain narrative momentum or deliver a satisfying conclusion.

While THE ALIEN DEAD holds historical significance in Fred Olen Ray’s filmography, it falls short of recommendation. As a foundational work in his expansive career, it warrants acknowledgment but ultimately rates a modest 2 out of 5.