Film Review: TerrorVision (1986)

Release Date: February 14th, 1986
Directed by: Ted Nicolaou
Written by: Charles Band, Ted Nicolaou
Music by: Richard Band, The Fibonaccis
Cast: Diane Franklin, Gerrit Graham, Mary Woronov, Chad Allen, Jonathan Gries, Jennifer Richards, Alejandro Rey, Bert Remsen

Empire Pictures, 83 Minutes


“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, war stories and monster movies are educational. They’re survival-oriented. They always neutralize the enemy in the end.” – Grampa Putterman

TerrorVision is a strange but enchanting and hilarious body of work. It’s the type of film that could really only come out of the 1980s. It stars Mary Woronov and Gerrit Graham, who both also appeared in Chopping Mall the same year. Both actors have a solid cult following and for good reason, they knew how to pick the right kind of movies that had the sort of elements that would eventually turn them into cult pictures.

The film also stars Diane Franklin, Chad Allen of Our House fame and a young Jonathan Gries, in what may be my favorite role he’s ever played.

The film kicks off with an opening scene on an alien world that uses very obvious miniatures and models that immediately lets you know that the film has no budget but it is going to be a real homage to the special effects style of the 1950s and 1960s. It also directly references its influences by showcasing old sci-fi films of that classic era throughout this movie.

The story is about a suburban family of wacky characters and their obsession with their new satellite dish and television in general. An alien creature accidentally gets beamed into the satellite dish and is then able to escape the TV and eat the family.

One cool thing about the film, is that other than the few shots in the driveway, the film is shot entirely on an indoor set. The sky in the backyard is just a screen and just adds to the magical nature of the movie’s presentation. It’s supposed to look low budget and it succeeds in pulling this off while also having some impressive creature effects. You have to suspend disbelief and realize that this is a comedy and almost parody. It sort of exists in a similar vein to the ’80s version of Little Shop of Horrors.

All the characters are great and entertaining, especially all the bits with the swingers and then all the parts with Jonathan Gries’ O.D.

While this film has a good cult following, it still doesn’t get the recognition that it probably should.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: The 1986 remakes of Invaders From Mars and Little Shop of Horrors, as well as another film with Woronov and Graham in it, Chopping Mall. It also fits well with The StuffNight of the Creeps and The Video Dead.

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