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STUDIO: Scream! Factory
RUNNING TIME: 171 minutes
• Audio commentary with Ted Nicolaou, Diana Franklin, and Jon Gries
• Making of
• Poster and still gallery
The Video Dead
• Audio commentary with Robert Scott, Bob Sarles, and Dale Hall, Jr.
• Audio commentary with Roxanna Augesen, Rocky Duvall, and Jacques Thelemaque
• Interview with makeup effects creator Dale Hall, Jr. and makeup assistant Patrick Denver
• Behind-the-scenes still gallery
• Poster and still gallery
Two televisions open gateways to evil – on one convenient disc!
TerrorVision: Written and directed by Ted Nicolaou, starring Gerrit Graham, Mary Woronov, and Jon Gries.
The Video Dead: Written and directed by Robert Scott, starring Michael St. Michaels, Rocky Duvall, and Roxanna Augesen.
Scream! Factory continues cranking out the goods with this Blu-ray double feature of terrifying television tales of treachery! An insatiable alien is accidentally zapped down through TV waves and into the Putterman’s living room! While the parents swing, can the kids save the earth from being consumed by this dripping beast?! Find out in TerrorVision! When siblings Zoe and Jeff find a TV in the attic of their new home, they have no clue that 3D glasses are not required for an immersive, flesh-eating experience! Tune into The Video Dead for the exciting conclusion!
One of the most iconic images in horror is the poster for Poltergeist, with Carol-Anne raising her hands up to the fuzzy television screen. While that image and the film it promotes scarred a lot of people for life, I doubt anyone will be afraid of the TV static after watching TerrorVision or The Video Dead – two films that use TVs as a gateway for evil (just like our parents told us they are!). These B-grade horror-comedies have been released for the first time on DVD and Blu-ray by Scream! Factory as a double feature. Both feature campy acting, gross-out effects, and kids as unlikely heroes, but only one film alone is worth the price of admission…
TerrorVision is camp at its finest. It’s an indulgent, brightly colored comedy that knows exactly what it is and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. There’s a difference between “bad” acting and “campy” acting – the latter being intentionally tongue-in-cheek. All of the actors in TerrorVision turn their camp to 11 resulting in a hugely entertaining and damn fun movie. If you can’t have a good time watching TerrorVision, it’s time to call it quits.
The Putterman family just got a top-of-the-line satellite dish. Now if only father Stanley (Gerrit Graham – Phantom of the Paradise) can get it to work, the family will be drowning in a wave of unadulterated TV bliss. Out of frustration, he hammers at it with a wrench seconds before an energy beams zaps down from the cosmos and gets absorbed by the dish. Lo and behold, the dish is now working and the Putterman’s are enjoying all that glorious satellite TV has to offer: samurai flicks, MTV, porno, and war movies (which the survivalist grandpa excitedly calls “troop movements”). Following their channel surfing session, Stanley and his wife Raquel (Mary Woronov – Eating Raoul) head out for a swinger’s party like most responsible adults in the cocaine-fueled ’80s.
After daughter Suzie (Diane Franklin) goes out with her stoner metal boyfriend O.D. (Jon Gries – who provides loads of humor here), son Sherman (Chad Allen) and grandpa (Bert Remsen) are left alone. They fall asleep on the couch together watching a late-night horror movie marathon hosted by “Medusa”, which is really adorable when you think about it. Medusa plays a role later on, but to start all you need to know is that her bust would crush Elvira’s. As grandpa and grandson slumber, the beam of energy spits out a dripping, gurgling ball of vomit with eyes and a mouth. This alien starts consuming everything in sight and that’s basically the movie. And it’s pure fun.
The alien, designed by John Carl Buechler (Troll, Ghoulies), is disgusting and pretty outrageous. Its tongue is particularly nasty, you can practically smell the burps rolling of it. It looks kick ass in HD too. Every drip of slime and plasm is slick and shiny. Sometimes with these older low-budget flicks the special effects look worse on Blu-ray. Terrorvision looks incredible though and makes the disc worth buying.
The Video Dead, on the other rotting hand, looks fine on Blu-ray but sucks. I had never seen it before so I can’t comment on the upgrade, but let’s just assume it’s a step up. It’s still an incredibly boring movie that maybe shouldn’t have been given such a great restoration. This is the first film in Scream! Factory’s library I disagree with, which sucks to say because they’re doing such an incredible job reviving overlooked films. The idea of The Video Dead is amusing, but the filmmakers leave a lot to be desired.
A family moves into a house formerly owned by an acclaimed writer. Siblings Zoe (Roxanna Augesen) and Jeff (Rocky Duvall) are left to handle the move while their irresponsible parents are away on an extended overseas trip. Jeff discovers and old television tucked away in the attic, practically begging to be watched. He watches some fuzzy B&W horror flick while smoking pot, but it’s not the weed that’s making the images jump off the screen!
Turns out the TV was supposed to be mailed to a paranormal research institute but was delivered to the writer’s house instead. An old guy named Joshua (Sam David McClelland) shows up looking for the TV and explains all this. Together him and the siblings battle the zombies that have come out of the TV and are running amok in the neighborhood. There are only four or five zombies and they do silly stuff like hide in washing machines and wear wigs. Well, only one zombie does that and she’s particularly silly. The kills are pretty fun and the makeup looks great. In the special features, the design team explains how due to budgetary and time restrictions, they had to work with fiberglass rather than more flexible latex.
The cast of The Video Dead is terrible. The zombies actually come off as more alive than the humans, who drag their feet through every scene. Just expressing a basic emotion like fear is too meaty for them. Although Roxanna Augesen does manage to pull out something resembling a performance near the end of the film, it’s too little too late. Like I mentioned earlier, at least the kills are fun and the zombies look cool.
The Video Dead is much more of a straight-forward horror movie than the wildly cartoonish TerrorVision. The latter film manages to deliver on its promise though, while The Video Dead falls flat on its charred face. There are some playful moments – when the zombies are curious about kitchen appliances, for example – but the dreadful pace and miserable acting really drag the film down.
Both films are presented in 1080p HD 1.78:1 widescreen with DTS-HD Master Audio. Although both films feature a rather strong HD transfer, neither look all that stunning on Blu-ray. Which is a shame because (like most Charles Band productions) TerrorVision‘s color palette is incredibly vibrant. The transfer doesn’t really make those colors pop though. The Blu-ray does highlight the alien’s drooling, dripping exterior – adding an extra shine to it. The Video Dead contains some minor imperfections, but the balance and image is crisp and stable.
AUDIO COMMENTARY: Writer and director Ted Nicolaou and actors Diane Franklin and Jon Gries deliver an insightful and entertaining commentary. They cover the usual ground – shooting, performances, locales – and also provide loads of great anecdotes. This is definitely worth a listen.
“MONSTER ON DEMAND: THE MAKING OF TERRORVISION“: This comprehensive half hour piece features nearly everyone involved with the film, including Ted Nicolaou, Charles Band, Jon Gies, composer Richard Band, and the lovely Mary Woronov. They cover pretty much everything, from the film’s origin as a poster to shooting in Italy.
POSTER AND STILL GALLERY: you know what to do.
The Video Dead:
AUDIO COMMENTARY: Writer, producer, and director Robert Scott shares this track with editor Bob Sarles and makeup effects creator Dale Hall, Jr. The trio cover the film’s origins, budget limitations, and how the film was essentially made for the VHS market. It’s an informative track, albeit a bit slow, with some nice anecdotes peppered throughout.
AUDIO COMMENTARY: Stars Roxanne Augusen and Rocky Duvall, production manager Jacques Thelemaque, makeup effects creator Dale Hall, Jr., makeup assistant Patrick Denver, and moderator Chris MacGibbon cover a lot of the same ground as the first track. With this many people though, the pace is quicker this time around.
PRE-RECORDEAD: This brief, 10-minute feature includes interviews with makeup effects creators Dale Hall, Jr. and Patrick Denver (who is quite the character).
BEHIND THE SCENES STILL GALLERY
POSTER AND STILL GALLERY
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars