Monday, October 24, 2011

TerrorVision (1986): or, Quite the Dish

October Horror Movie Challenge, Day 23!

In the days when "satellite TV" meant having a dish the size of a bisected Volkswagen in your backyard and access to NASA-level array-control technology, Stanley Putterman (the inimitable Gerrit Graham, "Bud the CHUD" and The Phantom of the Paradise's Beef himself ) installs a "Do-It-Yourself 100" dish in the hopes of opening a new world of entertainment possibilities. This meets with the approval of his wife Raquel (Mary Woronov of Eating Raoul, Silent Night Bloody Night, and Chopping Mall), daughter Suzy (Diane Franklin, of the superlatively MAD Amityville II: the Possession) and son Sherman (Chad Allen, Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman). Even military-minded Grandpa (Bert Remsen) is down, excited about the possibilities for monitoring enemy troop movements.

However, when a sanitation worker from Planet Pluton accidently beams a dangerous piece of garbage--a slavering, amorphous mutant called a "Hungry Monster"-- into the Puttermans' new dish, what started out as a nice night in front of the tube becomes a fight for survival and the future of the human race. As the monster crawls out of the boob tube to munch on its new hosts, the Puttermans' "swinging" guests, and Suzy's punkish boyfriend O.D. (Jon "I'm a Wolfman and I've Got Nards" Gries), Sherman makes desperate calls for help, first to the police and then to late-night horror hostess Medusa (Jennifer Richards). Meanwhile, O.D. and Suzy try to train the beast, which goes well until the Pluton Sanitation Department shows up to try and correct its error. Then things get a little messy...

Produced by Charles Band and directed by Full Moon Pictures-mainstay Ted Nicolaou, TerrorVision (1986) is an energetic, broad parody of everything 80s that, like many a fine cheese, has only grown more delicious as it ages. Viewers of a certain age will recognize a lot of the period piece details, from Raquel's Jazzercize obsession to Suzy's Cyndi Lauper fashions to Medusa's Elvira-esque show and costumery. Graham is hilarious as always (what an underrated performer this guy is), and Gries steals the show in a role that prefigures Bill and Ted by three years. The effects are goopy, practical, and disgusting, and the monster design is gross but strangely adorable. (In a standout scene, the monster uses its mimicking ability to morph several appendages into a slime-covered orgy involving the Puttermans, their guests, and even Grandpa! Must-see.) The music by Richard Band is as good as you'd expect.

TerrorVision is nothing but OTT fun from one end to the other. Even those born in the era of dinner plate-sized satellite dishes should find this blast from the past enjoyable. 2.5 thumbs.

"Don't wait up! I've heard these Noam Chomsky lectures sometimes go long."

Bonus: The awesomely 80s TerrorVision Theme song!

4 comments:

The Film Connoisseur said...

Love this sucker to death! Funniest movie ever! O.D. is the one that always cracks me up, when he says something about E.T.? "Like that movie about the little alien that made you cry like a butthole?" ha ha ha such funny dialog.

Thomas Duke said...

Wait a second...Noam Chomsky is opening up for W.A.S.P.? That's a show I gotta check out. Holy shit.

My blog page pretty much tells you what I think of this movie. I would kick a grizzly bear in the ass and run away if it means I could get a blu-ray of Terrorvision.

The Artist Formerly Known as J. Astro said...

Want. HAVE wanted for some time.

wdalphin said...

TerrorVision holds a special place in my heart. One Halloween, when I was in high school, my older brother and I went to the video store and grabbed a bunch of silly-looking movies from the horror section. TerrorVision was one. I now own a VHS copy of both it and the other film from that night that I remember so well, The Video Dead. If you haven't seen The Video Dead yet, I absolutely recommend it.

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