Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

TerrorVision (1986)


WRITER: Ted Nicolau

DIRECTOR: Ted Nicolau

STARRING: Diane Franklin as Suzy
    Gerrit Graham as Stan
    Mary Woronov as Raquel
    Chad Allen as Sherman
    Jonathan Gries as OD
    Jennifer Richards as Medusa
    Alejandro Rey as Spiro
    Bert Remsen as Grampa
    Randi Brooks as Cherry

QUICK CUT: After tinkering around with their new satellite dish, the Puttermans get paid a visit from an outer space trash monster, accidentally sent across the stars by a cosmic disposal gone horribly wrong.


    Stan and Raquel - The heads of the Putterman family.  He's a bit of a tinkerer, she's a fitness nut, and they're both swingers.  Ahh, the 80s.

    Suzy - The Putterman's daughter, with crazy punk hair, punk clothes, a punk boyfriend, and loves punk music, and is a bit of a ditzy valley girl.  Ahh, the 80s.

    Sherman - Suzy's brother, who is into guns, loves his grampa, and is arguably the biggest hero of the movie.

    Grampa - Sadly, no other name beyond that.  He's a crazy conspiracy nut with a lot of guns, a bomb shelter, and crazy theories about everything.  EXCEPT the crazy alien falling out of the tv.  Ahh, the 80s.

    OD - Duuude, he's like, Suzy's boyfriend, and like, totally out of it, and so totally into the punk scene too!  Dude, so 80s.

Superman's least known power.

THE GUTS: After a pretty cold open on the planet Pluton, where we see some creature getting ping ponged around the solar system, we start off with meeting the Puttermans.  There's the mom, trying to do her workout while dad badly tries to setup a satellite dish.  Then their daughter...

...Oh right, this movie was made in the 80s.  And yet, its aesthetic seems like a modern day movie trying to spoof the 80s.  Can you be THIS self-aware in the midst of things?  Apparently so!

And on top of that, grampa shows up in a crazy outfit that almost defies description, with a military jacket covered in medals, and an airman's hat covered in toy planes.  I can see the tone of this movie is going to be challenging for me.

His hat alone could defend the Persian Gulf.

We wrap up the intros fairly well with Sherman rolling in to shoot his gramps with a toy gun.  Grampa plays along and shoots back, and I'm less sure his gun is real.

Stanley finally gets fed up with his home improvement project and gives the dish a little old fashioned percussive maintenance with a hammer.

As if that wasn't enough, lightning from the heavens rains down upon the dish, and actually manages to get things working.  Showing we are truly in fantasy land, because I know full well what electricity really does to tech.

Stanley brings everyone inside to show off the new toy, and we get a few minutes of channel surfing with a hilariously giant remote.  This leads to everyone fighting over it until the dish explodes and coloured streamers burst from the tv.

I do not like this new 3-D technology!

Miraculously, the tv still works, and they settle on watching Medusa's Midnight Movies, exactly the sort of horror hosted late night series that inspired Trisk, and something I'd much rather be watching right now.

Before we can get too into the fighting dinosaurs on the tv though, Suzy's boyfriend OD shows up.  Her parents are still trying to figure out who her last boyfriend is, but they let this guy in anyways.

And as much as Suzy looks like she fell off the Cyndi Lauper wannabe couch, Original Doofus may as well have climbed out of the pit of Alice Cooper.

There is no greater shot depicting the 80s within the history of mankind.

Stanley and Raquel head off to a swingers party (Have I mentioned this is in the 80s?) leaving gramps in charge.  Suzy and Overcharged Dromedary head out on a date, and the old guy and Sherman settle in for their monster movies.

They fiddle around for a bit and nearly break the system again, until they pull in a signal of the creature from the dwarf planet Pluton staring at them.  Fortunately, they get bored by that channel and go back to Medusa and her boobs.

Eventually, they pass out watching movies, and the creature from the black galaxy crawls out of the tv, and starts feeling them up.  Great, it's the Killer Eye's cousin.

Smile! You're on Candid Camera!

They wake up and dive behind the couch, but when they look back, the creature is gone.  So they head to grampa's bunker.  Grampa's well armed, stocked, and fully loaded bunker of crazy.

While they're arming up and getting ready to defend their home from space invaders, Norton from the satellite store shows up to try and do some repairs.  Yeah, showing up at 10 in the evening when no one is home, sounds about right for those guys.

The two soldiers try to clear the house, and nearly perforate Norton while he tries to fix the dish.  He stops them just short of getting a few bullets in the face, thankfully, and returns to the dish, which is now filled with seaweed.

Well, there's yer problem!

Norton stirs the creature and it comes back out of the electrical signals where it's busy hanging with Horace Pinker and Sammi Curr, seemingly killing him.

But don't worry!  If you were bummed about not getting to see what happened to Norton, I'm pretty sure that he shared the same fate as grampa, a few minutes later!

The creature comes up to him, grabs the old man by the head, and crushes it like a tin can.  He then either has the worst bowel movement ever, or is turned into a pile of sludge by the creature, and then lapped up like a cat with spilled milk.  Ew.

I crush you head!

Sherman catches the creature just as it zoops back into the tv, and he rushes to call the cops.  And he must have gotten Sheriff Cyrus from Bigfoot, because this guy believes there's a monster running around the movie just as much as he did.

Mom and dad return from their swingers party with another couple, and run right into their kid.  Boy, that's gonna be a fun discussion.  Or would be, if Sherman wasn't trying to explain that his grandfather was turned into a great green gob of greasy grimey gopher guts.

Stanley shuffles the other couple off to the bedroom to probably be future victims.  And that's when Raquel discovers what happened to her dad, but she just thinks it's some mess they made.

We really need to do something about the cat.

Meanwhile in the pool area, Stanley's showing off the entertainment system in there too, when he finally decides to listen to a desperate message from Pluton.

The space dude urges all the people of Earth to dismantle our satellites, turn off our tvs, and destroy all our communications equipment for the next 200 years, because they control the horitzontal AND the vertical...

Yeah, okay, destroy our tvs?  That is so not happening.

Meanwhile, the creature is busy spitting out its own tongue, which has now taken on the form and shape of grampa, which he uses to distract Raquel from any suspicions.  Despite dripping slime from his face.

Sherman still tries to explain that's the monster, but his mom won't listen and makes him spend the night with grampa in the bunker.  Oh, that won't go well.

Parenting 101

Raquel and Spiro head off to get drinks, and Stanley leaves Cherry to enjoy the pool, or possibly get eaten by the tv terror.  Probably both.

While the parents dance around the notion of having an open marital relationship, Sherman is busy sitting around the bunker watching tv.  Funny, you'd think the creature would be more interested in dealing with him, since he's right there, but the kid is just munching on jerky and watching tv.

He tries calling Medusa, and you know when you're ringing up the late night horror hostess, you are desperate.

Medusa is busy right now, but if you stay on the line, you will be directed to the next available snake.

While Raquel clues in her husband that Spiro's more interested in guys than her, the Greek dude heads back to the jacuzzi to check on his wife.

He climbs into the water, but finds a little more than he bargained for with some goop sticking around the bottom.  The Puttermans really need to get that stuff cleaned out.

You can pretty much see where this scene is going, right?  That's not his wife, the monster is doing it's tongue impression again, and Spiro's about to get it.  They play it out super slowly though, with a decent sense of dread for a movie that's pretty silly.  You can almost hear the Jaws theme in your head, if you try hard enough.

Who's eating who tonight?

The parents head back to the jacuzzi to have a chat with their friends, but all they find is more hairballs in the pool.  Oh, and the monster in the mist.  Sadly, for poor Stanley, he's the next one to go on the creature's destructive quest, and Raquel too soon after.

Sherman hears them screaming and tries to call the cops again, with no better results, so he decides to explode his way out of the bunker.  Thanks for the explosives, grampa!

That's when Suzy and Oppresive Dogcatcher return to the plot.  Sherman tries to tell them what's up, and lead the charge, but they believe him about as much as any scientist in a disaster movie.

The 80s come calling.

After firing a few shots into the jacuzzi, Suzy confiscates Sherman's guns and goes to check on mom and dad.  Oligarchy Disaster gets left behind and watches the Pluton Warning from Space.  I hear Leonard Maltin gave it four out of five stars.

Trash Can Man has replicated their parents however, along with Spiro and Cherry, in their bed.  So, to Suzy, it looks like nothing is amiss.  Creepy and weird as all hell, but not amiss.

Oh, and when she asks where gramps is, the creature adds him to the bed.  Eww.

One of us! One of us!

They rush back to Oculus Display, and the creature reveals itself.  So, hiding out and replicating the parents was just the monster delaying for three seconds.  And being a bit icky.

With the creature revealed, everyone runs, while Sherman shoots, and things don't look good for Omniscient Diety.  However, the monster stops when it sees the studs on the dude's armbands.  It triggers flashbacks to his owner, and oh gods, this thing is nothing more than a giant, disgusting puppy that no one on Pluton wanted anymore.

Now that the creature is calmed down, they try to teach it about Earth culture, like food and music, and try and teach it how to speak.

Wanna know something nice to teach it?  "YOU KILLED OUR PARENTS."  But no, let's just forget that plot point, yes?

They then pull a play straight out of Jasper Hawks book and realise they have a massive money making opportunity here.

One of them is in serious need of a makeover, and the other is a deadly trash monster from outer space.

After calling Medusa back to try and get the creature on tv, the thing starts freaking out because it doesn't like what's on the screen anymore.  You and me both, pal.

That's when a cop finally shows up.  To arrest Sherman.  Well, at least they came out there, finally.  Obfuscating Deception tries to calm the creature down, but only upsets it further until it eats his face off.  When Sherman fires at it to make it stop, the cop rushes in.

He stumbles about the house for a few minutes until we learn the monster apparently likes bacon.  Thanks for playing, you will not be going away with a copy of our home game.

Time to see a doctor about that cold.

Now that they've seen the light about their new pet, Sherman goes into war mode, and gets ready to use everything gramps taught him.  He starts taking out the tv screens, since he's seen that's how the thing travels, and arms him and his sister up.

They find Fido hanging out in the jacuzzi where the fog from the water conveniently hides any wires and, I mean, keeps the creature comfy and warm, yes.  It's busy being distracted by the tv, so Sherman tries to sneak by and grab the remote.

I can't quite decide if the creature made of garbage that likes to eat garbage, coming out of the tv and loving television is an incredibly subtle commentary, or too in your face.

Unfortunately, Sherman slips in the critter's slime and comes face to face with his homicidal pet.  He gets grabbed, but before he gets eaten, Sherman hacks into the thing's...whatever, and tells Suzy to chuck the remote into the pool to try and electrutional the thing.

Punk revolution

Finally, Pluthar decides to actually enter the plot and he is 'here to save you'.  Boy, sure took your time, pal.

Spacely Expositron gives us the plot download, and says he needs to exterminate the pet, or take it home so he can extract the DNA of the people it's killed to bring them back to life.  Really?  REALLY??  Another movie where no one dies in the end??

Amazingly,, Medusa actually walks back into the plot to check out the creature she's heard so much about.  What could possibly go wrong?

She cleans up well for a snake-haired monster.

Medusa sneaks around checking out the place, until she finds Pluthar with the kids, and assumes the worst.  She attacks him, breaking his helmet, and the difference in pressure causes his head to go all Scanners.

On the upside, at least the body count is preserved.

The creature shows up, starts sucking worse than any movie I've seen, pulling everyone in.  We cut back to Medusa's chauffer, and a strange half-Medusa, half-creature thing in the back seat.

So, the creature merged with Medusa, in an effort to become a hot babe and end up on tv?  I guess it's good to have dreams.  I've heard of worse plans.  Heck, I'd go along with it.

And thus the movie ends with Medusacreature driving off into the sunset, and everyone lives happily ever after, except no one does, because everyone died.

Wait'll they get a load of me.


Video: Very solid for a low budget, 80s horror flick from Charles Band.  The colours feel a little dull for all their bright 80s cartooniness, but that feels pretty normal for the time period.

Audio: Another solid mix with everything pretty clear across the board.

Sound Bite:  "Horror stories and monster movies are educational!  They're survival oriented!" Thanks, grampa!

Body Count
1 - Norton is the first to go about 25 minutes in, somewhat off camera in a flash of light.
2 - Grampa soon follows when the creature crushes his skull, turns him to goo, and has a snack.
3 - Another off-camera death does in Cherry.
4 - But then we get to see Spiro eaten by the monster posing as his wife.
5 - Stanley rushes down to the pool and to his doom at the hands of the monster.
6 - And off panel, Raquel dies too.
7 - OD tries to shut up the creature's face, so it eats his off.
8 - A hapless cop wanders into the story at the worst possible time and gets eaten.
9 - Pluthar goes back to that great starship in the sky when Medusa damages his suit and he explodes.
10 - Sherman gets sucked into the creature.
11 - I presume Suzy joined him shortly afterwards.
12 - And probably Medusa too.

Best Corpse: I'm kinda partial to Pluthar's death, just because it totally derails all hope, it's pretty outta nowhere, and makes perfect sense in context.  And his head go splodey.

Blood Type - C: Not a lot of blood, but they make up for it in goo, and some great effects with the creature, Pluthar's makeup, and Medusa's b...snakes.

Sex Appeal: Scattered moments here and there with Cherry and Medusa, and Spiro gets disrobed too.

Drink Up! Every time someone gets turned into a puddle.

Movie Rating: If Bigfoot was very 70s, this movie is VERY 80s.  As I'm sure you can tell.  It is almost mind boggling that they so successfully spoof every aspect of the time period while being in it.  But after the aesthetic of the film, how is it besides that?  Well...surprisingly good?  If you COMPLETELY ignore the visuals, if you could just hear the story, cover your eyes, this is actually a very solid plot.  Alien invades, eats family, they fight back to the last man.  I actually enjoyed the story, until the hasty wrap it up ending.  The visuals threw me for awhile though, until it clicked (And this was confirmed in the commentary) they were deliberately trying to make this look like a live-action cartoon.  This movie was arguably ahead of its time, beating Tim Burton to his own predominant style.  Now, this movie is no Beetlejuice, not even close.  But it is entertaining, and well made, and they accomplished what they set out to do, with a very convincing creature.  If you can get past the visuals and enjoy the flick for what it is, it is a very solid four out of five totally rads.

Entertainment Value: And if you can't get past those visuals?  Then you have a good 90 minutes of snickering at those and just HOW terribly 80s the movie is, and deliberately so.  The characters are fun and silly, and the acting is actually pretty good for this sort of thing, embracing the silliness to its fullest.  I was worried that the movie was going to be one of those that ended up being too silly to work well for Trisk, but it ended up having such a solid horror plot, that the comedy didn't interfere too much with my own attempts.  It's a nice mix of horror and comedy, and rides the line fairly well, with only a few missteps off the rails along the way.  Four out of five ohmigods.