Director – Ted Nicolaou
Cast – Gerrit Graham, Diane Franklin, Chad Allen, Mary Woronov, John Gries, Bert Remsen, Alejandro Rey, Randi Brooks, Jennifer Richards, Sonny Carl Davis, Ian Patrick Williams, William Paulson
Release Year – 1986
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Terrorvision‘s title, poster, and overall plot had me licking my lips over viewing this piece, and I am glad that I did so with fun and favorable results. This debut effort from Ted Nicolaou(Subspecies series) gives us everything that is great about 80s horror, including gag-out gore, great sets, overly cheezy acting, and a zany feel throughout that forces you to turn our brain off and let the experience unfold.
When the Puttermans purchase and install the newest in home TV satellite technology they expect none other than high quality entertainment, and that is exactly what they get when their satellite picks up a signal from a distant planet hoping to dispose of a terrible creature with an insatiable appetite. As the monster begins chomping away at the Puttermans and their guests, it is up to young Stan Putterman to grab his grandfather’s Vietnam-issue M16 and give the beast a proper welcome and departure from planet Earth.
I went in expecting cheeze, and I was given cheeze, and lots of it. From the get-go Ted Nicolaou’s writing and directing execution is dead on for the type of film Terrorvision was set to be, and it makes for a great no-brainer experience sure to please you and your friends on any social night. The storyline is a cool one, and while the idea of a television being the source of horror is not a new one (Videodrome, Ringu), the idea of an alien residing within a home TV system and coming out to feed on unsuspecting humans was one that I had yet to see. Pretty much the entire film takes place within the home of the Puttermans, so we do not get many changes in overall location, just different rooms within the home that thankfully came with cool elements that kept things interesting. There is a fortified bunker, the usual TV room, and an indoor giant jacuzzi that makes for a great hiding spot for the hideous monster to wait and lurk in. While all of the characters involved were used in cheezy fashion, none of them were useless and each contributed well to the film, a testament that Ted Nicolaou can write about as good as he can direct, at least in regards to Terrorvision. There really are not many writing faults that I found unforgivable, although I will say that the film’s climax was a bit weak compared to the rest of the film. It did feel as if it was forced, possibly due to budgetary constraints, so it may not have been due to a segment of poor writing, you be the judge of that.
The bulk of the film’s awesomeness lies in Nicolaou’s direction, which sold this cheezy piece to me and resulted in high enjoyment on my end. The sets used are incredible, which was a big surprise to me given the film’s obvious low budget and lack of filmmaking experience from Nicolaou and his crew. His atmosphere is stylish, and he makes the most out of what little they had to work with, a true testament to good direction that is worthy of praise. His execution of the characters is quirky, and each of them plays into their own heavily cliched persona (my favorite being the metal head boyfriend), and none of them were poorly portrayed, although you may find a few of them annoying if you are unfamiliar with what to expect in these types of horror films. The usage of the monster was fantastic, and we were not only given a giant live-action puppet-engineered slimeball but many sweet kills that left a gory mess as well.
Overall, Terrorvision is an awesome watch for fans of totally cheezy 80s horror. The story is a cool one, and Nicolaou’s direction gives us lots of live-action creature carnage and gory fun in a stylish quirky atmosphere sure to make for a near-perfect beer-n-food event with friends.