30 July 2009

Terror Vision

United States - 1986
Director- Ted Nicolaou
Lightning Video, 1986, VHS
Run Time – VHS: 1 hour, 24 min.

Terror Vision is 80’s culture on steroids, or rather, 80’s culture on Charles Band’s production dime. It is but one of the many pieces of the puzzle that composes the Band legacy. I have never felt any affection for anything that came out of Full Moon, I watched all 9 Puppet Master films in a row once and literally had to be physically restrained from committing suicide. But there was a strange and wonderful period of time during the 80’s when Band (and his brothers Richard and Albert) were responsible for some of the awesomest cheesy movies in history, among them Terror Vision and its philosophical sibling Shrunken Heads. Terror Vision is a campy assault on 80’s pop culture that isn’t afraid to bring up homosexual group sex but still never lets slip a single expletive. It’s part of the 80’s microculture of overt on-screen shout-outs to the history of B-film and goes on to openly mock said history’s delusional detractors.

In the 80’s TV options exploded when satellite television began entering the average American home and access to all that untapped brain-rot was considered a mark of affluence and modernity. Never mind that in those early days of satellite (and cable) TV most of it was totally banal crap, that didn’t stop (and still doesn’t I guess) uptight moral tyrants from blaming the tube for societies perceived ills.

Family patriarch Stanley Putterman is determined to get his malfunctioning dish working and don once again the mantle of cool guy. This accomplished, he and his wife leave for a swinger’s party leaving raving bloodthirsty war-vet Grandpa and their son Sherman on the couch watching an old horror movie show (including the epic Giant Claw) hosted by a well-endowed floozy dressed as Medusa. Grandpa who lives in a fully stocked, fully armed fallout shelter says “war stories and horror movies are educational, they’re survival stories and they always neutralize the enemy in the end.” Hmmmm, only in a literal sense…

Social corruption, manifested as alien monster stares out from the TV then steps off the screen into the house, quickly consuming the least hip, Grandpa and reducing him to an appealing 2-dimensional caricature of “Grandpa”, kindof like on you would expect on TV. Mom and Dad replete with ascot and high heels return home with another couple with whom they intend to share the decadent luxury of the pool/satellite setup. They soon meet the same fate as Grandpa, but in the interim Sherman, his punk sister and her metal boyfriend "O.D." (Jon Gries) befriend the monster and teach it to love junk food and television (that’s too much of a mind-fuck metaphor for me to describe in this space). It spends the rest of the film hanging out in the Putterman’s pool watching Earth vs. The Flying Saucers.

So you see, It’s not the TV that promotes sex and violence, but rather that these things are already there. The popularity of vice media can be traced to its nascent presence in the home, people consume what is familiar and makes them feel good. Any assertion otherwise is just so much rhetorical paid advertisement.

Terror Vision trailer from the Monsters A GoGo YouTube channel.

Or a slightly longer, more METAL version of the trailer at Cult Trailers.


Shelby Cobras said...

My favorite line:

OD: "Ya like metal, little dude? Kiss the boot."

Nice job, this movie rules.

Geof said...

I totally forgot Gries was in this one. lol

RyGar said...

Thank you. I've been trying to remember what this movie was called. I don't think I've seen it since the mid-nineties.

TNUC said...

"I watched all 9 Puppet Master films in a row once and literally had to be physically restrained from committing suicide"


Anonymous said...

One of the best movies ever. 'Nuff said.

Oh, and just an fyi, Albert Band is the father of Richard and Charlie.