Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Terrorvision/The Video Dead Blu-Ray Review

"What the hell did that homo do to the jacuzz?"

Director: Ted Nicolaou
Writer: Ted Nicolaou
Runtime: 83 Minutes

Stanley Putterman - Heiny drinker and erotic art collector
Raquel Putterman - Inexperienced swinger
Suzy Putterman - Super cute punk chick with absurd rainbow hair.
Sherman Putterman - 10-year old gun fanatic
Gramps - Former decorated war hero, current insane lunatic
O.D. - Very metal

After a mistake at the Planet Pluton Sanitation Department, the earthlings inhabiting the Putterman household are about to have a really weird night. The Plutons (Plutonians?) have developed a technology to convert their garbage (including their mutated housepets) into energy, which, like any responsible race would do, they beam off randomly into space, letting it land wherever the hell it lands. Their latest garbage energy beam manages to bounce around a bit before ultimately making it's way to a satellite dish on Earth.

Meanwhile, on Earth. Stanley Putterman (Geritt Graham, Phantom of the Paradise, Bud The Chud) and his wife Raquel (Mary Woronov, Rock 'n' Roll High School) are a pair of amateur swingers who have just purchased a high powered Do-It-Yourself 100 satellite dish. This new dish picks up crazy crap from allover the world; Random ninja movies. W.A.S.P. videos. Robot Monster. Ugly 80s porn. After showing their kids Sherman (Chad Allen, Dr. Quinn) and Suzy (Diane Franklin, Last American Virgin, Better Off Dead) the off the wall stuff this satellite can pick up they realize, holy crap, we're late for swinging. So Stan and Raq leave the kids with their Gramps and run off to pick up their swinging partners, homosexual Greek Spiro (Alejandro Rey, The Flying Nun) and busty moron Cherry (Randi Brooks, Hamburger The Motion Picture).

Shortly after, Suzy and her metalhead boyfriend O.D. (John Gries, Monster Squad, Real Genius) head out to do... whatever metal people were doing in the 80's, leaving her brother and her Gramps (Bert Remsen, Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat) alone with the TV. They spend their evening watching shitty movies and eating lizard tail jerky. After falling asleep during The Giant Claw (a common effect of viewing The Giant Claw) the space waste transmission materializes in the form of a hideous, ugly beast who now wants to eat everyone in the Putterman household.

Terrorvision features one of the most fuck ugly monsters you're likely to see outside of Horror of Party Beach. Unlike the hot dog teethed creatures that represent the "horrors" of Horror of Party Beach, the intergalactic beast of Terrorvision still manages to look pretty great despite looking like Buechler and crew slapped him together with parts they had lying around the shop.

Ted Nicolaou's Terrorvision has a great cast headed by Gerrit Graham and cult fave Mary Woronov. It's tremendously goofy, filled with campy acting and garish set design, it's also very funny and features some pretty great effects work. It's mostly a comedy, but there are a few nice eerie moments, like a delightfully creepy scene with Spiro and Cherry that takes place in the biggest hot tub I've ever seen. Some of the comedy is pretty stupid, but I find it hard not to enjoy, especially when Diane Franklin and John Gries are onscreen, the two of them together were able to get several laughs out of me. Overall, I had a great time with Terrorvision. 6.9/10

Things to watch for:
Excessive Slime,
Blatant Elvira-ing,
Plutonian Incompetence
Olympic Hot Tub
Blackie Lawless siting

The Video Dead
"You don't understand. He likes to chase skunks in the woods, and if he finds them he tries to mate with them. Only skunks don't like to mate with poodles, and then they spray him, and he really gets turned on!"
Director: Robert Scott
Writer: Robert Scott
Runtime: 90 Minutes

Due to a shipping mistake a "pretty famous writer" has a strange package delivered to his house. Upon opening the crate, he finds a nearly dilapidated old TV. He tests the TV out watching a minute of a shitty old zombie movie. He mutters some anti-TV remarks, turns off the TV and turns in for a good night's sleep. While he sleeps the TV turns itself on (despite being unplugged) and one of the zombies from the movie that was on before pokes his head out of the TV. The next day the delivery company returns to pick up the TV only to find the writer dead from a zombie attack. (Holy crap, I wrote TV like 11 times in that opening paragraph. World record?)

So a few weeks later, after the writer corpse funk has had time to fully dissipate, a girl named Zoe and her brother Jeff move into the house. Their parents bought the house, but they aren't supposed to be back from vacation until the following week. The movie ends before they show up, so don't worry too much about the parents.

Soon after moving in Jeff discovers the TV and after messing with it for a bit the TV eventually unleashes an entire horde of zombies on the unsuspecting  neighborhood. Okay, by horde, I mean like 6. The following day a seemingly crazy old man shows up claiming to know how to stop the zombies. He and Jeff head off into the woods to try and save Jeff's girlfriend and defeat the zombies with one of the all time dumbest  zombie killing plans ever concocted. "You hang from a tree with a chainsaw, I'll fall asleep in a shed."

Directed by Robert Scott, The Video Dead is a pretty ambitious zombie film that I feel misses the mark by a considerable amount. I really like the make-up work on the zombies, and some of the gore shots like the iron in the head bit actually look very impressive. I just find the movie to be bit oddly paced and hard to get into. Some of the scenes really seem to drag on forever, especially any scene with the zombie hunter guy. Length is also an issue for me. The movie runs a full 90 minutes. This is just too long of a run time for this kind of movie. 80 minutes should be the absolute maximum amount of time a movie like this should run. Anything beyond that is just wearing out it's welcome. It might sound like I'm being a bit harsh on this movie, I do respect the effort put into this thing and I wish I liked it more, I just don't enjoy the end result. 4.3/10.

Things to watch for

Timing Belt Chainsaw Blades
Improper Brushing Technique
Ineffectual Zombie Hunter

And my favorite part of the movie:
 The name she is writing is Jeff. As anyone beyond the age of 9 should be able to tell, Zoe has actually written an L, not a J. Someone in one of the commentaries mentions that it looks like she's written "Leff", but no one replies and they start talking about something else.

Both movies look pretty excellent, if not perfect. The Video Dead actually fairs a bit better which is surprising given the low the budget of The Video Dead. In addition to the solid A/V presentation, Scream Factory has loaded this disc with plenty of extras for each movie:


  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Ted Nicolaou and Stars Diane Franklin and Jon Gries
  • Monsters on Demand: The Making of “TERRORVISION” - An all-new retrospective with Writer/Director Ted Nicolaou, Stars Gerrit Graham, Mary Woronov, Diane Franklin, Jon Gries, Chad Allen, Ian Patrick Williams, Special Make-up Effects Creator John Carl Buechler, Special Effects Artist Cleve Hall, Executive Producer Charles Band, and Composer Richard Band
  • Poster & Still Gallery

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer/Director Robert Scott, Editor Bob Sarles, and Special Make-up Effects Creator Dale Hall, Jr.
  • Audio Commentary with stars Roxanna Augesen and Rocky Duvall, Production Manager Jacques Thelemaque, and Make-up Assistant Patrick Denver
  • Pre-recorDEAD - All new interviews with Make-up effects creator Dale Hall, Jr. and Make-up Assistant Patrick Denver
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Poster and Still Gallery
  • Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery

  • This is a pretty cool release that seems to have the people of the internet torn. It seems like if you like Terrorvision you hate The Video Dead. If you like The Video Dead, you hate Terrorvision. I stand on the Terrorvision side myself. I don't exactly hate The Video Dead, but I don't really like it either. However, I'll say If you enjoy either of these movies, this release by Scream Factory is a must have and will surely be the best release either of these two movies will ever see. Buy it directly from Shout!

    When writing reviews I'll usually write a bunch of random thoughts down and try to work them into the review. Unfortunately, sometimes I end up with thoughts that end up having no home in the review. These are those thoughts:

    I'm starting to hate this MGM lion. Is there any reason this thing is always like 30 decibels higher than the rest of the movie?
    What the hell kind of zombie strangles somebody?
    What's with movies having characters walk around while looking for another character (or dog) while shouting that character's name. Watching a girl shrilly yelling "Chocolate!" every 7 seconds while looking for a dog is not enjoyable for anyone. This applies to a lot of movies actually - other offenders:
    • Squirm and Mr. Beardsley
    • Poltergeist III and Carol Anne

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