The Alpha Incident (1978)

A mysterious virus from space is being transported across the country via train. A single biochemist, Sorenson, is installed on the train to guard it. However, all the failsafes and all of Sorenson's training are no match for the slightly retarded but vaguely menacing railroad worker Hank who sneaks into the car where the virus is being held one night, opens the case, and drops the glass container the virus is being held in!

At the next stop of course Hank goes around touching every single person so now the whole stop is infected and Sorenson has to quarantine the area under threat of death. Luckily, there are only five people in the whole area, including Sorenson and Hank.

From here until the end you have one of those "people stuck in a room together" suspense movies. It works pretty well, especially considering the low budget of the movie. The characters are pretty typical. You have your tough but quiet hero, your shy old pervy guy, your overly antagonistic jerk, your kind of trampy girl, and your (as mentioned above) slightly retarded old guy.

So obviously most of these people are not going to get along. Sorenson starts out on the right foot with his standard greeting, which is to shoot people in the arm or leg. It only makes it worse when night falls and everyone starts to get ready to go to sleep and Sorenson basically tells them, "Oh, that's right. If you sleep the virus will kill you! So don't do that."

So everyone starts pissing each other off and no matter how many friendly games of poker they play, no matter how many dirty magazines they read, no matter how many times they dance, you know people are going to die. The girl changes into her low cut pajamas, which we are treated to in a hilarious Vaseline-smeared camera lens glamor scene, complete with sleazy music (I might have just imagined the music). This causes even more problems because she's basically surrounded by perverts and a possible rapist.

Luckily someone does fall asleep and you get to see some pretty nauseating gore. I won't ruin it for you but you know those little capsules you would put in the water when you were a kid and the water would dissolve the capsule and the little foam monster inside would swell up to five times its former size? Well, that's pretty much what happens to your brain when you get this virus and fall asleep! Awesome! The Alpha Virus is hardcore!

But mostly there is a lot of talking and while at first I was worried about how dull this movie was going to be it turned out to be pretty suspenseful. The dialog is pretty natural in the way that a lot of movies from the 70s were. No one is making snappy one liners in this movie, that's for sure. Sadly, the suspense is is ruined from time to time when the action cuts to a couple of scientists in a lab telling each other that they have no clue what is going on. It does this a few times, so it was obviously meant to pad the movie.

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