Movie of the Week: Terrorvision (1986)

Take this Movie of the Week recommendation with a grain of salt. This is no masterpiece, but it also has many things to offer that most films don't. 

Terrorvision is at its best during the first half, which reads like a satire of what happens to baby boomers when they become parents. Mom and Dad are selfish Me Generation narcissists who are too involved in their own fun to give much regard to their children or their elders. Grandpa is a shell-shocked war vet, going senile and living in the family's subterranean bomb shelter. The kids are spoiled and complacent. The art direction throughout is colorful, and the premise allows the integration of clips from classic horror movies, complete with wraparound narration from a TV host named Medusa. Plus, the lovely and inimitable Mary Woronov looks and acts like something out of a Sally Cruikshank cartoon. 

So all of that is great, but once the real movie starts, it seems to have nowhere to go. The screenplay needs a third act, or at least, protagonists that aren't so irritating. Assuming this film was made for youngsters, why are the teenagers just as shallow as their parents?  Diane Frankin (not her usual charming self) and John Gries (a.k.a. King Vidiot) get the most screen time, but they aren't any more fleshed out as characters than these two. Is the target audience supposed to relate to the fact that they care about nothing besides watching Mtv? I realize that Terrorvision is full of caricatures, but there's no one to like.

After the first 40 minutes or so, it turns into something between E.T. and Gremlins, two movies that helped ruin Hollywood in the 80's. Feel free to shut it off when the teenagers and the alien raid the fridge. You won't miss much after that.

Despite all that, Mary Woronov. And a great theme song.

Movie is not embeddable. Click on above image or here to be directed to the youtube page. 


Friday Night Gallery, Part 3 of 3

Season 2, Episode 15: A Feast of Blood

Season 3, Episode 5: You Can Come Up Now, Mrs. Milligan

Season 3, Episode 11: Something in the Woodwork


After School Special: The Day My Kid Went Punk (1987)

It's finally here… after many years of waiting, someone has uploaded The Day My Kid Went Punk to Youtube in near-entirety (looks like just the last minute or so is missing). 

It doesn't quite live up to the TV guide ad (above), but then, how could it? The writers have seemingly no familiarity with the subject matter. Granted the the kid is on the extreme end of the fashion scale, but still… at around the time this program aired, I was nearly getting my ass kicked at hardcore shows on weekends just for wearing my stupid spray-painted army jacket. And even I would have bust up laughing if I saw this poseur walking through the hall at school. He looks a cross between Boy George, Bret Michaels and King Vidiot from Joysticks:

But punk was more than the fashion statement this show regards it to be. That's what makes it pretty worthless as a social services program for teens; it doesn't acknowledge the obvious evidence regarding punks. Many of them feel alienated from their families and communities. Many have difficulties at home, and run away or drop out of school long before they're 18. But here, it's just a case of a suburban kid who inexplicably decides to give himself a makeover to look more edgy, and continues living his over-achieving, over-privileged lifestyle, and his parents wring their hands in concern and embarrassment over his clothing and the Halloween temporary color he sprays into his hair every morning, but they eventually give in and do what he wants. Even Degrassi Junior High respected the maturity and sophistication of its audience more than this.

Anyway, it's worth seeing just for for Bernie Kopell, so here it is:


Friday Night Gallery (part 2 of 3)

Season 2, episode 4: A Fear of Spiders

Season 2, episode 21: The Caterpillar

Season 2, episode 22: Green Fingers


Saturday Morning Anthropology: Korg 70,000 BC

This Hanna-Barbera series ran for one season on Saturday mornings in 1974. It was lauded for its scientific accuracy, and both the American Museum of Natural History and the Los Angeles Natural History Museum (two of my former employers) served as consultants. 

This three-minute clip is all I can find online, but Warner has recently released all the shows on DVD.


After Hours Movie of the Week for Twelve-Year Old Boys Whose Parents Have Just Gone to Sleep: Private Lessons (1981)

Friday Night Gallery (part 1 of 3)

 For each of the next three Fridays we'll be screening three stories from Night Gallery, Rod Serling's 1970-73 horror anthology. Let's start with the opening story from the pilot, The Cemetary:

From Season 1, episode 1, The Dead Man:


And from Season 2, episode 3, Since Aunt Ada Came to Stay: