Episode 43 - TerrorVision (1986)
TerrorVision is the epitome of extended cable fare. It was a movie that did horribly in it's limited theatrical run but was promoted heavily on stations like HBO in the late 80's and early 90's and as a result it shaped the minds of thousands of young children who watched it over and over again.
As a kid there were a couple of movies I watched dozens of times because they were always on TV. TerrorVision (while not a movie I saw until recently) is one that many young people watched over and over again. They'd think by the bright colors, kids in the cast, and funny monster that it might be a movie made for them - that's definitely not the case.
The thought of children watching this movie is terrifying. It's a satirical movie that includes excessive amounts of sexual overtones and lots of cartoonish violence. It's a movie not made for children but one they would undoubtedly enjoy if they ran across it.
Movies like TerrorVision are rarer today. With the massive amounts of content produced by cable stations and streaming services there is very little chance to run across a movie like this. This is the type of movie you would see because you flipped through the cable channels on a long summer day and it was being played on a movie channel. You'd never seen it before and because you don't have any other options you simply let it play. A couple days later it would be on again and you might decide to start watching it again; because again, there is nothing else on.
Movies that fail in the box office today don't have the same homes on extended cable channels. TerrorVision was a movie tailor made for channels like HBO and CINEMAX in the late 80's and early 90's. It was cheap, unknown, and appealed enough to adults and kids that it could be played every day for weeks and still maintain a decent audience share. It's a phenomenon that simply doesn't exist today in our content-rich environment. With almost any movie or TV show just a few clicks away people can be more discerning with their viewing habits - they can choose what to watch and when to watch it. It still hasn't solved the problem of "there is nothing on TV" but that's probably more attributed to Americans being unable to make a decision than the amount of content available.
TerrorVision is a fun movie. It reminds me of the days when I used to watch anything that came on my TV as a kid. It's weird, it's funny, it's something that would go completely over my head but I'd still enjoy it. I couldn't imagine it ever being successful in the theaters but I'm not surprised it gained a cult following of years of extended cable play.
It's worth a watch and worth digging up those old memories of flipping through TV channels on a summer day where you didn't feel like going outside.
Next Week's Film
The Legend of Bruce Lee - or as it's actually known as Bruce, King of Kung Fu (1982)
Directors: Darve Lau, Bruce Le
Writer: Darve Lau
Stars: Bruce Le, Kien Shih, Kwok Choi Hon