TerrorVision (1986)

JANUARY 3, 2010


As an editor (Tourist Trap) and sound recordist (Texas Chain Saw Massacre), I think Ted Nicolaou is a hell of a guy. But as a director, he seems pretty abysmal. I was willing to chalk up Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys to the fact that it was a movie called Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys and thus no one could have made anything good out of it, but Terrorvision (AWESOME title) is only slightly better, and his other movies are either low-budget kids movies like Leapin' Leprechauns, or mid-90s Full Moon movies, all of which seem to suck based on my experience.

The main problem with the movie is that they were trying to be funny, when it would have been a lot funnier to just play it straight. Everyone is so broad and garish, their behavior only elicited groans for the most part (I was often reminded of the awful, thankfully short-lived FOX sitcom The Pitts - not a good thing). The dad in particular irked me to no end; it was like a live-action, even more jittery Quagmire from Family Guy. I know he was SUPPOSED to be annoying and dumb, but that only works in small doses, yet he takes up half the goddamn movie it seems with the go-nowhere "swinger" subplot (he's also one of the last to die). The only exception is the spaced-out metal-head OD (played by Jon Gries! Ben Linus' Dad!!!), who is more or less charmed by the giant man-eating monster (because it reminds him of E.T.) and is convinced that he's "metal" because he seems to like his metal studded arm bands. Whenever he was on-screen I was far more amused than I was during scenes with the other characters. I also dug the Gramps character, but he is killed off in the first reel (though he pops up briefly in the film's funniest sight gag, forty minutes later).

It's also painfully repetitive. The monster never leaves the house, so people just keep showing up there and getting killed. I actually dozed off for two ten-minute chunks and had zero problem catching back up with the "narrative"; if anything I probably could have slept for twice as long and not been in any different a position.

The monster, however, is amazing. The design suggests a mutated Madball toy, and he talks a bit for good measure. And he racks up an impressive body count, though the gore is a bit lacking (when a guy gets impaled, green stuff shoots out?). Once again, we have a movie with an R rating that seems to be aimed at children. But the gonzo soundtrack by The Fibonaccis makes up for it - I would buy this soundtrack in a second. As I've said several times, no horror movie with a theme song can be all together bad.

I think that is the main problem with the movie, ultimately: it's too down the middle. It's got some funny stuff, but the unfunny stuff seems to be the primary focus. The monster is awesome, but his kills are borderline off-screen. Etc. I'd almost rather a completely terrible movie (especially at a midnight screening) than one that was sort of dull with occasional bits of insanity.

As always though, I must remember/confess that I am not a pot smoker and thus I am probably not the target audience for such things.

What say you?

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


  1. Be sure to check out the Subspecies series from Ted (part of the 90's full moon you speak of); they're great for cheesy vamp flicks.

    Otherwise, yea....not the best director in the world

  2. dude, my favorite, ever. you like metal? kiss the boot.

  3. C'mon, C'mon, C'mon!!!!!
    I loved this movie when I was a kid, and have been looking for a copy ever since.

  4. Terror Vision is great! It's a 50's B Movie mixed with 80's pop culture with a heavy dose of black humour.


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