TerrorVision screenshot

TerrorVision (1986)

three stars

An insatiable alien is transported to Earth via satellite and might end up consuming every living thing on the planet.


TerrorVision is a sci-fi/horror/comedy with a bleak yet upbeat worldview. The story constantly subverts expectations, with each new wrinkle desensitizing viewers until they willingly accept the unpredictable. There's a niche market that's willing to accept a cornucopia of madness such as this, which means TerrorVision was destined for cult status from the start.

Sherman Putterman and his grandpa decide they're going to stay up all night and watch Medusa, a more-than-ample-breasted horror movie hostess. That's fine with Sherman's parents, as they'll be busy swinging with another couple tonight anyway. When a giant, disgusting space alien monster shows up and starts eating everybody, nobody believes Sherman until it's way too late. And by then, there's nothing anyone on this or any other planet can do to save us.

TerrorVision screenshot

Everything about TerrorVision is insane. The characters all look outrageous, but each one is completely different from the others (and I'm talking about the earthlings too, not just the aliens). The Puttermans' home is a bizarre mansion full of sexually-suggestive art, a fully-stocked bunker, and an indoor pool with a full bar. The alien is an amorphous, disgusting beast, but the movie is so generally weird that the monster itself loses some shock value.

It's hard to classify TerrorVision in any one genre. The movie blends horror, comedy, and science fiction while simultaneously undermining the structure of those genres. Every cliche science fiction element is a setup for a scare or joke, and every comedic moment leads to something horrific or a sci-fi scenario. The monster literally eats people, but instead of being depicted as evil, it's just an alien doing what it does.

TerrorVision is a film to have an existential crisis to. The universe is a much bigger place than we think, and nobody in it has any idea what they're doing. Our parents and ancestors are just people who don't know much more than we do. If there's intelligent life beyond our planet, it's probably not much smarter than we are. In the big picture, nothing we do matters, so we might as well enjoy our limited time existing.

TerrorVision poster TerrorVision title screen


  • Ted Nicolaou


  • Chad Allen as Sherman
  • Diane Franklin as Suzy
  • Gerrit Graham as Stan
  • Mary Woronov as Raquel
  • Jonathan Gries as OD
  • Bert Remsen as Grampa
  • Jennifer Richards as Medusa
  • William Paulson as Pluthar