Terrorvision

A nasty, cruddy little film, which I guess is why I found it sympathetic—it's got what high school teachers used to call an “attitude problem,” and it pushes its adolescent nihilism with no pretensions to style or social acceptability. Ted Nicolaou's screenplay attacks precisely the middle-class American ethnocentricity and smugness that has made Steven Spielberg's fortune: a home satellite dish brings in not an affectionate, servile E.T. but a slobbering ugly alien who proceeds to devour a bluntly caricatured nuclear family. Mom and pop (Mary Woronov and Gerrit Graham) are sex-crazed cretins, grampa (Bert Remsen) is a senile survivalist, sis (Diane Franklin) is a whiny Madonna look-alike, and her boyfriend (Jonathan Gries) is a brain-damaged heavy-metal fan. Which leaves only 11-year-old Sherman (Chad Allen) to unpack grampa's collection of submachine guns and take care of business. Filmed in Italy, the movie finds its only glimmer of genuine wit in its hilarious, studio-built vision of a postmodernist Malibu mansion; the balance of the humor is crude, cheap, and—if you're in the right regressive mood—pretty entertaining.

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