A boisterous and colourful romp, 1986’s ‘Terrorvision’ is an Empire pictures effort thats…a little bit different from the norm. The basic plot is an alien transporting a wee beastie accidentally ends up releasing the creature or is zapped down to a….lets say ‘eccentric’ family via their newly installed satellite television system. The creature then slowly begins picking off the family members and more while the families youngest son desperately tries to convince his other relatives that, if they dont act soon they’ll all be turned to mush…quite literally!
I dont have a tremendous amount to say about this one, it’s a purposfully zany script thats pretty decenly paced out, though maybe a little slow and aimless in the middle, the endings solid enough and theres a clean act structuring across the runtime that transitions pretty seamlessly.
The characters are all dialled up to 11 on the dialogue front giving hyper manic readings of wonderfully demented lines. This is unapologetically cheesy and over the top for the most part, and while I can absolutely see it turning people off, I felt quite at home (though, I do feel this is a movie I’d very much have to be in the mood for)
The directions pretty standard, they’ve heavily styalised this thing to the point that i’d argue it falls more in line with the new wave/art house movement of cinema than the more mainstream popcorn fodder that Empire was working with at the time. I really like the style of this thing (though again I could totally understand how it’s garish use of coloured lighting and the directors structuring choices for scenes could be a put off)
Direction of the cast too is loud, aggressively garish and manic to boot. It feels like they told everyone involved to really kick things up a notch. They absolutely succeed in that request, but I think there are moments here where it probably would have helped had they had some contrast to the intensity, a little dark to help offset the light. I think, for the time that it’s a unique work that is effective, but it would probably have to be something I was in the right headspace to properly experience.
The monster effects are cheap and cheerful, but funky and fun at the same time. This really isnt a movie thats taking itself too seriously, and I feel that they’ve about pegged the quality that this kind of story needed for the budget they were given. if things were *too* high quality and polished, the cheesiness wouldnt have quite worked, any lower and it would have started to look a bit depressing. So it’s a win in my books.
The cines fabulous, with some wonderful use of moody coloured lighting and a clear eye for compositional choices, even if you dont like the script, even if you loath the perfomances, as a work of mid 80s new wave cinema, the compositional choices, sequence structuring and cine in general is fine, fun and poppy. we’re not in masterpiece terratory by any stretch, but its solid enough.
Add to this a totally killer soundtrack thats equally as new wave, weird and a solid slice of 80s cheese and you’ve got the makings of an all round hunk of 80s weirdness. It reminded me a lot of Brian Yuzna’s ‘Society’ and I was actually genuinely surprised to read that this film predates it by about 3 years. while maybe not in line beat for beat on the plot front, This film and ‘Society’ could be seen as inverse versions of each other. With ‘Society’ deciding to go for the moodier, bleaker, and more toned down approach, and this film being as 80s as possible from start to finish.
In short, I enjoyed this one. Its not a ‘must see’ I wouldnt begrudge anyone for hating it even, but I could easily see myself putting this thing on when I dont know what to watch and I just want something ticking over in the background. it’s light, easygoing, maybe a little slow at times, but ultimately just a weird little piece of 80s scifi horror cinema.