It was five years ago today that Baltimore filmmaker Don Dohler passed away.
It was appropriate that my filmmaking friend John called me to pass along the sad news that Don Dohler had lost his battle with cancer at age 60.
John and I were both in middle school when we seperately caught Don's movie THE ALIEN FACTOR on the channel 12 afternoon movie. The movie was a huge inspiration for us both and got us interested in making our own movies. The picture above is Don inside an alien outfit from the movie.
Many years later, TBS aired THE ALIEN FACTOR and I got it recorded on tape. That VHS tape was gold to me for I'd never seen the movie any other time and had never seen it available in video stores where I lived. At the end of the movie, in the end credits crawl, there was an address for the company that made the movie. I wrote to them, telling them how cool the movie was. Unfortunately the address was no longer good and the letter was returned to me. Rats.
Even more years later, I was able to interview Don by mail for my zine Dr. Squid. Don not only wrote back but answered my questions with great detail. As time went on, I got into making movies and Don was always an inspiration. He and I corresponded by e-mail many times. He was always nice, supportive and seemed happy to share stories about his work.
It was those qualities that made him such an inspiration to many making movies today, from no-budget videomakers, to FX guys, even to J.J. Abrams, who was able to do some music for Don's movie Nightbeast back in the early 80s.
This is a shot of Don in his basement where they built a set for the Sheriff's office for THE ALIEN FACTOR.
Below is Don's inscription to me from his book, "B-Movie Horrors." Don made his mark on so many lives and he is truly missed.