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!