TerrorVision (1986) poster

TerrorVision (1986)


USA. 1986.


Director/Screenplay – Ted Nicolaou, Producer – Albert Band, Photography – Romano Albani, Music – Richard Band, Electronic Music – Christopher Stone, Makeup Effects – Mechanical and Makeup Imageries (Supervisor – John Carl Buechler), Production Design – Giovanni Natalucci. Production Company – Altar Productions/Empire Pictures


Chad Allen (Sherman Putterman), Diane Franklin (Suzy Putterman), Gerrit Graham (Stan Putterman), Mary Woronov (Raquel Putterman), Jonathan Gries (OD Reilly), Bert Remsen (Grandpa), Alejandro Rey (Spiro), Randi Brooks (Cherry), Jennifer Richards (Medusa), Sonny Carl Davis (Norton)


Stan Putterman installs a new satellite dish. Thanks to Stan’s shoddy do-it-yourself workmanship, this picks up a transmission that causes a slimy alien creature to manifest through the tv set. This is a household pet from the planet Pluthon that is prone to eating everything in sight when it outgrows its size. The creature now starts devouring the entire Putterman family.

During the latter half of the 1980s, Albert Band and son Charles and their Empire Studios succeeded in turning the low-budget end of the horror market into a production line of cheap mindless product with numerous spinoffs of films like Alien (1979), Gremlins (1984) and The Terminator (1984). The Bands’ product relied heavily on the cheap slime and monster effects of John Buechler and his Mechanical and Makeup Imageries company, of interchangeable heroines such as Barbara Crampton, Linnea Quigley and Brinke Stevens taking their clothes off during the course of things. Sometimes their films had a certain OTT attitude and a cheesy defiance that challenged one to dislike them and they made minor gems like Re-Animator (1985), Trancers (1985) and Zone Troopers (1986), although most of their product was down around the level of Ghoulies (1985) and sequels.

TerrorVision is one of the silliest of Empire’s films. The film is made with a sense of self-parody that reduces it to ludicrousness. The cast act with a wild overkill, clearly keeping eyes only on the paycheque while taking none of the film with the remotest shred of seriousness. One wishes that this self-parodistic silliness meant something or that it was even cleverly conducted, but sadly it isn’t.

The alien from out of the tv in TerrorVision (1986)
The alien from out of the tv

The creature created by Empire’s regular makeup man and sometimes director John Carl Buechler and his MMI studio is ridiculously unconvincing. Despite the presence of cult/scream queens Mary Woronov and Randi Brooks, nobody takes their clothes off and the whole affair is decidedly tame.

TerrorVision was the directorial debut of Ted Nicolaou who has become one of the most regular directors for the Bands. Nicolaou had worked as an editor for the Bands in the 1970s and made his debut on one of the segments of The Dungeonmaster (1984). Ted Nicolaou’s other genre films as director include:- Bad Channels (1992), Subspecies (1991), Bloodstone: Subspecies II (1993), Remote (1993), Bloodlust: Subspecies III (1994), Dragonworld (1994), Leapin’ Leprechauns! (1995), Leapin’ Leprechauns! 2/Spellbreaker: Secret of the Leprechauns (1996), Magic in the Mirror (1996), Magic in the Mirror: Fowl Play (1996), Vampire Journals (1997), The Shrunken City (1998), Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (1998), Dragonworld: The Legend Continues (1999), Ragdoll (1999), The Horrible Dr Bones (2000), In the Shadow of the Cobra (2004), Puppetmaster vs Demonic Toys (2004), The Etruscan Mask (2007) and Don’t Let Her In (2021).

Trailer here

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