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TerrorVision

TerrorVision (1986) Movie Poster
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  •  USA  •    •  83m  •    •  Directed by: Ted Nicolaou.  •  Starring: Diane Franklin, Gerrit Graham, Mary Woronov, Chad Allen, Jon Gries, Bert Remsen, Alejandro Rey, Randi Brooks, Jennifer Richards, Sonny Carl Davis, Ian Patrick Williams, William Paulson, John Leamer.  •  Music by: Richard Band.
       A civilization on a distant planet has found a way to solve its garbage problem: turning it into energy and beaming it into outer space. A flaw in this system is found when the signal is accidentally picked up on Earth by the Putterman Family's home satellite dish. While this would ordinarily be just another mess, this particular transmission contains a hungry trash monster who quickly begins snacking on the Puttermans and their guests. Only young Sherman Putterman has any clue what is going on, but nobody will believe him.

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 1:38
 
 

Review:

Image from: TerrorVision (1986)
Image from: TerrorVision (1986)
Image from: TerrorVision (1986)
Image from: TerrorVision (1986)
Image from: TerrorVision (1986)
Image from: TerrorVision (1986)
Image from: TerrorVision (1986)
Image from: TerrorVision (1986)
Image from: TerrorVision (1986)
Image from: TerrorVision (1986)
We're introduced to a family brimming with all the worst trappings of the 1980's; the clichés have been elevated to the absurd and it's to the director, Ted Nicolaou's, credit that, in 1986, he was able to poke so much fun at the decade without the benefit of hindsight. The result is an off-the-wall comedy that feels like a 1950's monster movie, staring 'Leave it to Beaver', as filtered through 'Adult Swim'.

The daughter, Suzy, played by Diane Frankin ('Better Off Dead' 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure'), has the hair and make-up of an animated Cindy Lauper and an over-the-top valley-girl gab. A very young Chad Allen (you'll recognize him from nearly every family TV show of the late 80's and early 90's), is the war-game-obsessed son. The mother, played by the always fantastic Mary Woronov (Roger Corman's poster girl and star of 'Eating Raoul'), is a distant, self-involved socialite more interested in her exercise videos than her kids. Gerrit Graham ('Phantom of the Paradise' 'Demon Seed'), hams it up as the swinging (literally) father always on the lookout for the next big thing. Rounding out the family is Grampa, the paranoid vet with a bomb shelter in the basement (Bert Remsen -' 'Nashville' 'Places in the Heart') and Suzy's boyfriend, 'O.D.', the tweaked metal-head dropout played buy 1980's staple, Jon Gries ('Real Genius' 'Running Scared'). Together, this group inhabits a home that looks like a cross between a sex spa and a Patrick Nagel exhibition on ecstasy.

Wacky from minute one (the theme song being one of the film's high points), the family has just hooked up their new satellite dish while, simultaneously, far across the cosmos, a creature that can only be described as a booger with eyes, is being transported in exile by a humanoid-lizard alien that we don't learn much more about until the film's climax. The monster is mistakenly transmitted to the family's satellite dish and has the ability to escape at will from their TV sets. Nonsense ensues as the monster is able, by transforming its tongue, to impersonate the face and voice of anyone it kills.

The film never really crosses into any straight genre and manages to hover, quite proudly, over 'wonderfully weird'. If all of Hollywood had ostracized, instead of embraced, Tim Burton, this is the kind of live-action cartoon he'd be making.


Review by David Massey from the Internet Movie Database.