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John’s Horror Corner: Bad Channels (1992), a goreless flick favoring cheap comedy over horror

September 23, 2013

MY CALL:  If Roger Corman movies were rated PG, this is what we’d have–a goreless flick that favors comedy over horror, but still involves monsters abducting women.  MOVIES LIKE Bad ChannelsTerror Vision (1986).

Director Ted Nicolaou (Subspecies I-IV, Terror Vision) and writer/producer Charles Band (the Puppet Master, Subspecies, Ghoulies and Trancers franchises) have crafted some truly laughable comedy horror nonsense for us.  In the spirit of Roger Corman, a presumably horny alien and his robot sidekick have come to Earth to steal our women and they’re using a local radio station to do it.  However, completely unlike Roger Corman, there is no nudity, no monster-human “mating” scenes, no gore, and all of the laughs are deliberate.  In fact, I struggle to understand how this received an R rating.

You might be wondering how this works… Well, first off, everything has to be covered in other-worldly alien fungus…because that makes sense.  Then the alien plays rock music over the air waves and makes attractive young radio fans dance like party girls starring in their own music video until they are miniaturized and teleported into his the alien’s collection jars.

Collect them all!

By the way, these music videos seem to be the true theme of this movie, because we are forced to watch each one in its entirety.  They’re not very good and they last several minutes each.  But I laughed when the scenes cut between the dancing girls’ perception of what’s going on and the perception of those around them who just think they’re nuts dancing like a loon on diner counter tops, during surgery or in the middle of high school band practice.  Keep an eye out for the electric guitar-playing nun and the guy in the cow suit in one of the music videos.

Kurt Cobain saw this…that’s why he did it.

All the while DJ Dan is broadcasting live, narrating all of the transpiring events of this invasion and local listeners just think it’s all a hoax.  So Dan has to save the world on his own!  How does he do it?  Some disinfectant spray and a box cutter.  Not since milk defeated the Ernest Scared Stupid Troll has there been such a dumb monster vulnerability.

Casting aside stereotypical alien appearances, this one has a brain turd for a head.

As a horror superfan, I appreciate that this flick features loads of horror regulars filling the roles of truck stop owner Peanut (Sonny Carl Davis; the Evil Bong franchise, Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Trancers 2), news reporter Lisa Cummings (Martha Quinn; Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town, Dead Heat), station owner Vernon Locknut (Aaron Lustig; Pinocchio’s Revenge, Scanner Cop II, Darkman, Ghostbusters 2), abductee Cookie (Charlie Spradling; Puppet Master II, The Blob), Corky (Michael Huddleston; Vampires), abductee Nurse Ginger (Melissa Behr playing the same role she did in Dollman vs Demonic Toys) and Dollman (Tim Thomerson playing the same role he did in Dollman vs Demonic Toys; Trancers).

The effects are extremely cheap, even for a bad horror movie.  There is no gore, some slime and mostly just costume monsters.  Unlike most horror of its time, this was made to be a goreless comedy horror rather than the more typical uber-gory horror comedy.

Watch this for some cheap laughs and the alien’s sort of cute, weird little robot pet.

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