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TerrorVision/The Video Dead - Blu-ray Review

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Terror Vision/The Video Dead - Blu-ray Review

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3 Stars

That’s right, fellow freaks, TerrorVision is back in print!  Finally freed from its VHS prison by the kind folks over a Shout!/Scream Factory, TerrorVision gets coupled with another gory gem from the late 1980’s, Video Dead, for a nasty little double feature that will definitely please fans of the genre, satisfying their aching little zombie sweet teeth.  While neither title revolutionized the horror/comedy genre, both titles have long been on the short list of must-have Blu-ray titles when and if that day ever arrived.  Well, horror hounds, that day – your day – has arrived!

TerrorVision sets it sights strictly on lampooning the 80’s and placing it in a nice little time capsule for us to revisit and laugh alongside.  From the quaint satellite technology to the Cyndi Lauper/Death Metal teens, this much and gunk-sucking delight gives new meaning to trash television.  And you thought there was nothing good to watch on television!

It takes its cue from the overused Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf storyline of the 1950s and, ultimately, TerrorVision is a hilariously cheesy story about future technological concerns.  A fancy satellite that is installed incorrectly by a do-it-yourself father (Gerrit Graham) receives a strange beam of light that zaps it making it a receiver for an unwanted alien pet.  No one believes the boy, Sherman (Chad Allen), who, in his frustration, dons his olive drabs for some alien butt kicking but, when grandpa (Bert Remsen) gets his brains liquefied, his swinging parents – who just want to get laid by their new Greek “friends” – might be forced to admit that their son is right…if they live long enough.

The gore is also through the roof.  And once again, the physical effect of having a monster-sized alien works with great splatterific appeal so much so that – while completely unbelievable – you might actually miss the days of practical effects.  Yes, CGI has ruined our imaginations and our expectations.  Featuring a series of hysterical “let’s tame the beast” vignettes from Sherman’s club-going sister Suzie (Diane Franklin) and her boyfriend rocker O.D. (Jon Gries), TerrorVision hits the continuously right offbeat note to propel it forward into a horror fan’s consciousness for another decade.

Obscurity, however, will continue to hound The Video Dead and, especially in this double feature, you can easily see why.  While similar in spirit and subject, The Video Dead is the lesser of the two.  You’ll laugh!  You’ll cry!  Not with it, though, you’ll laugh at it.  And that’s the difference.  Director Robert Scott (who also directed TerrorVision) keeps things simple – as a television that plays the same Zombie movie over and over actually brings them to life – but doesn’t ever allow suspense to build in an effective manner.  The frightening acting – from Roxanna Augesen, Rocky Duvall, and Viskie Bastel – is absolutely terrible (with little of the wit on display in TerrorVision) and, in spite of the excellent zombie make-up, feels very, very amateurish.

Taken as a whole, the one-two punch of TerrorVision and The Video Dead should make your next Halloween party an event to die for.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Terror Vision/The Video Dead - Blu-ray ReviewTERRORVISION (1986)
MPAA Rating:
R.
Runtime:
83 mins.
Director
: Ted Nicolaou
Writer: Ted Nicolaou
Cast: Diane Franklin; Gerrit Graham; Mary Woronov; Chad Allen; Jon Gries
Genre: Horror
Tagline:
The Do-It-Yourself 100 picks up things from EVERYWHERE!
Memorable Movie Quote: "People of Earth, you must heed my warning. Destroy your satellite receivers, dismantle your communications systems, render your TV sets inoperable for the next 200 Earth years."
Distributor:
Empire Pictures
Home Video Distributor:
Shout Factory
Release Date:
February 14, 1986
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 19, 2013

Synopsis: A family's new satellite TV system starts receiving signals from another planet, and soon it becomes the passageway to an alien world.

Terror Vision/The Video Dead - Blu-ray ReviewTHE VIDEO DEAD (1987)
MPAA Rating:
R.
Runtime:
90 mins.
Director
: Robert Scott
Writer: Robert Scott
Cast: Michael St. Michaels; Thaddeus Golas; Douglass Bell; Al Millan; Roxanna Augesen
Genre: Horror
Tagline:
The living dead are here, and they're lusting for blood - yours!
Memorable Movie Quote: "The dog swallowed a ball. You were walking the dog, on a leash, and some total jerk threw the ball to the dog, and he accidentally swallowed it. All we have to do is push the ball down the dog's throat. They'll never know the difference."
Home Video Distributor:
Shout Factory
Release Date:
November 1987
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 19, 2013

Synopsis: A family takes delivery of a new TV set, unaware that it is the gateway by which killer zombies enter the world.

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Terror Vision/The Video Dead - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 19, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Previously, I’ve only seen TerrorVision on VHS.  Long gone are the days of tape wrinkles and cassette damage.  The 1080p transfer isn’t the best in the world but it sure beats the days of an instable image.  Don’t go in expecting much texture, though.  The effects shots are really the only moments of good texture.  Most of the picture looks a bit dull and lifeless; the colors don’t pop as much as one would expect them to.  The image doesn’t get much better with The Video Dead.  Again, the make-up looks strong and the shadow levels are passible but there’s little filmic quality to the transfer.  This is the fate of these low-budget affairs.  Fortunately, Shout! Factory has done their best and gives us what details there are to mine out of the prints.  Both films feature a decent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack.  They are sonically robust enough but don’t really kick with today’s energy.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • TerrorVision features a commentary from writer/producer/director Robert Scott, editor Bob Sarles, and makeup maestro Dale Hall, Jr.  Their interesting discussion covers the origin of the film, making it for the VHS market, and includes some anecdotes.  This team is also assembled for a commentary over The Video Dead.
  • The second audio commentary on The Video Dead features stars Roxanne Augesen and Rocky Duvall alongside production manager Jacues Thelemaque, Dale Hall, Jr. and makeup assistant Patrick Denver.  Covering much of the same background as TerrorVision does, this recording benefits from a much more engaged recording session.

Special Features:

Shout! Factory treats fans with a 35-minute look back at TerrorVision’s hilarity in a retrospective that features great interviews from cast and crew and plays around with some of the movie’s more outrageous scenes.  The items of interest that you will discover about the movie – it was filmed in Italy – makes this a featurette worth watching.  A poster & still gallery of images is included.  The Video Dead gets a bit more attention with interviews, outtakes, a still gallery, and a trailer.

  • Monster on Demand (35 min)
  • Poster & Still Gallery (2 min)
  • Pre-Recordead (12 min)
  • Outtakes (2 min)
  • Behind the Scenes Gallery (4 min)
  • Poster & Still Gallery (1 min)
  • The Video Dead Trailer (2 min)

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