Think of The Thing by way of comparing the ingredients: isolated location (here an island two hundred miles off the coast of Africa), few characters (all male...), an alien menace (not a shape shifter but "pure energy"), and a fierce battle for survival.
In fact, Killdozer's opening shot is one quite similar to John Carpenter's vastly superior The Thing (1982) remake. It's set in Earth's near-orbital space. Instead of a flying saucer crashing into the Antarctic snow 200,000 years ago, we see a meteor crash to Earth on that isolated island shore...time indeterminate.
We then cut to a small construction team working for Warburton Oil Resources. There are six men on the team, led by a recovering alcoholic named Kelly (Clint Walker). Before long, one of the workers, Mac (Robert Urich) spies an eerie blue glow transfer from the meteor to a bulldozer...and then he promptly dies of something like radiation poisoning.
An alien hum (like one emanating from the meteor), is soon detected in the bulldozer's bucket blade, but gritty mechanic Chub (Neville "Eaten Alive" Brand) can't pinpoint the source. Before long, the alien-controlled bulldozer goes out of control. Its first act is to crush the team's one and only radio.
The next thing the bull dozer does is go after the film's only African-American, Al (James Watson). Al's death is an especially absurd scene. I mean, how hard is it to outrun a slow-moving bulldozer, when there are trees not far distant?
And answer me this: if you were being chased by a malevolent construction vehicle, would you stop in the vehicle's path to hide in a hollow pipe?
The remainder of the film's seemingly eternal running time (74 minutes) is devoted to a lackadaisically-paced and poorly-orchestrated man vs. machine war. Unfortunately, the machine seems to possess the upper hand here in terms of intelligence, and the construction team members are killed one-at-a-time in mostly idiotic fashion. For instance, the bulldozer pushes an avalanche of rocks down a mountainside onto one unlucky man who doesn't have the wherewithal to look up.
Then another character spontaneously decides to go joy-riding in a jeep on the beach...only to be surprised that the bulldozer is waiting on the shore for him, having sprung a trap.
I often joke that in horror movies, human beings do not possess peripheral vision. In Killdozer, human beings also do not have the capacity to hear, apparently. For example, there's a moment in which the parked bulldozer raises its mechanical blade (to smash a worker), while an imperiled character stands in front of the machine, just inches away.
Well, if you are trapped on an island and your comrades are being murdered at an alarming rate, are you going to cling to that particular theory or believe your own lying eyes?
Obviously the damn bulldozer is running itself. How many people do you have to see crushed by a self-operating bulldozer before realization starts to dawn?
Total honesty requires that I admit one thing. I did feel a pleasant flush of nostalgia while watching Killdozer, especially during the yellow-lettered, Universal Studios, 70s-style opening credits. In particular, I remember how I first encountered it as a little kid: as a Saturday Afternoon Super Spectacular or some such thing.
The best part of Killdozer is the clever title. However, the operative syllable there just might be "doze."