Sunday, May 12, 2013

TerrorVision (1986)

Seen: On my tv, streamed from netflix instant.

TerrorVision was my main other priority for netflix's great purge, after Modern Girls. And another recommendation from Andreas, who just totally gets me! It's got a ridiculous premise and Mary Woronov and Gerrit Graham as swinging yuppie parents, so it's fairly enticing on paper. The plot concerns the Putterman family and their new fancy satellite tv, which seems to be attracting uninvited feeds from outer space. Little Sherman Putterman (Chad Allen) is convinced that an alien monster is infiltrating their home through the television, but of course no one believes him. As all adults in the vicinity become swallowed up by the strange, ravenous creature, it's left to Sherman, his airhead punk sister Suzy (Diane Franklin), and her doltish boyfriend OD (Jon Gries) to stop it. But I'm not betting on their chances.

This movie is goofy to the max, and that's basically the point. It's both a send-up of stupid monster movies while also being a stupid monster movie itself, and mixing in jokes about various groups- primarily yuppies, conservative conspiracy theorists, and teenage rebels. It's funniest when the adults are front and center, with Mary Woronov and Gerrit Graham forming the perfect privileged suburban couple, horrendous parents but stylish dressers. They spend a lot of their scenes seemingly in a funny-face-making competition, and they both win! While they lead the earlier part of the film, the kids take over later and for me the film took a downturn. Not that I didn't love seeing a vapid Diane Franklin with huge, colorful hair, but their characters just aren't as interesting. Luckily there is a great Elvira-esque tv show peppered throughout the movie, with a hilarious Jennifer Richards showing off her assets as well as her excellent comedic delivery, and she spices things up at the climax.

With grisly sound effects, low-budget but well-done creature puppetry, and a high body count, TerrorVision works well as a monster movie, and director Ted Nicolau utilizes his large, ornate domestic space to the fullest. With all the tacky decor and sexual innuendo it was a bit like Rocky Horror only with less singing. As a whole it's funny and a little bit bizarre, but I think I would have liked it better if the kids had been less of a focus.

3.5/5

Pair This Movie With: I'm not sure. I watched Eating Raoul vaguely recently so Mary Woronov had me thinking about that. Or maybe another 80's alien monster movie? I liked the Invaders from Mars remake, or there's always Little Shop of Horrors.

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