And they’re both on one Blu-Ray disc! 80s classics The Video Dead and Terror Vision have finally made it back to the home “video” market after a long hiatus (aka: the VHS days). So while everyone else was watching the Oscars, I was watching these two classics that wouldn’t even be considered for a Razzie.
The Video Dead (1987)
When a mysterious old television is delivered to a house, it’s not long before zombies climb out of the TV and stalk members of the household.
Everything about The Video Dead is flawlessly 80s, from the new wave music and horror score to the hairstyles and Flashdance shirts. And let’s not forget the Adam Ant and Go-Go’s posters hanging on the wall. Or a track by Debora Iyall, lead singer of the band Romeo Void, who recorded the classic 80s tune “Never Say Never” (you know the one: “I might like you better if we slept together”). AWESOME. And when one character says she’s majoring in aerobics and minoring in music video, you’d swear this is a modern movie lampooning the 80s.
But it’s not. It’s genuine cheesy 80s gold. This subtle zombedy makes each zombie a “character,” including a chainsaw wielding zombie bride and a zombie with an iron in his head. The Video Dead does something I love in low budget 70s and 80s zombie movies; it goes for “Thriller” zombie makeup and puts it right out in broad daylight. There’s also creepy zombie POV in the woods. While there’s gore, there’s no actual flesh eating except in a dream sequence. And speaking of flesh, there’s a busty blonde who gets naked, but all we see is side boobage.
The thing that makes The Video Dead and pretty much every 80s horror movie SO good is that most of them look like a bunch of friends got together on the weekend and made a movie. This “home video” visual style was the ideal partner to the dawning of the age of VHS and made many of these movies feel somehow “real” despite the low budgets.
There’s one great goof to watch out for in The Video Dead. From the outside, the front door is paneled with windows going across the top. But whenever a character goes to that door from the inside of the house, it’s a completely solid door!
You really won’t believe what you’re watching with this one, directed by Ted Nicolaou, who would go on to direct the Subspecies series. TerrorVision is a campy sci-fi comedy that’s like a mashup of the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video and Little Shop of Horrors, with a guest appearance by the monster from one of my 80s faves, The Deadly Spawn.
Remember the urban legend in the 80s about satellite dishes picking up every channel in the universe? Never met ONE person who had a satellite dish and could prove it. Anyway, a family’s hunt for the ultimate cable package leads them to beam a space alien into their TV.
This is the best 80s family ever. The dad is none other than Bud the CHUD from CHUD II. The mom is Mary Woronov from Rock ‘N’ Roll High School and Night of the Comet, who usually plays a butch women’s prison warden. Or maybe she never did and I just fantasize about it.
The son is a very young Chad Allen, who I know mostly for the fact that he came out while on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
But most importantly, the sister is beloved 80s icon Diane Franklin, the slut bitch who tore out that kid’s heart in The Last American Virgin, the slut sister who wanted to bang her brother in Amityville II: The Possession, and the slut French exchange student in Better Off Dead. Here, she plays a ditsy valley girl/Cyndi Lauper/Madonna hybrid.
Which brings me to the music. For starters, Diane Franklin’s character is obsessed with MTV, so when we see her watching the channel, it’s showing a video for the W.A.S.P. track “Tormentor.” Did MTV ever actually show a W.A.S.P. video?
More important is the new wave “TerrorVision” theme song that sounds like a Lene Lovich Halloween song. Turns out it’s by a band called The Fibonaccis, they have a greatest hits CD (???), and it’s in the mail on the way to my house.
There’s also a “heavy metal” boyfriend (Uncle Rico from Napolean Dynamite) with a really bad hair band wig and a surfer dude accent, a cheesy horror hostess, and a couple the parents brings home to swing with, not realizing that the husband wants to bang Bud the CHUD.
If you see only one TV monster movie in your lifetime, forget The Ring, Poltergeist, and even The Video Dead. You MUST see TerrorVision.