I’m building toward something here, most of you have already figured out what it is. But before I can pull the tarp off this thing there is one final piece that needs to be put in place.
Bad Channels deals with Super Station 66 (station 666 on the AM band) in Pahoota, California. Shock jock “Dangerous” Dan O’Dare (Paul Hipp), who has been fired from all the good radio stations due to FCC-violating publicity stunts, is in the process of kicking of station 66’s transition from all polka to rock ‘n roll when an alien bursts into the studio and takes over. Weird alien mold begins growing all over the place and the alien begins abducting women through the radio waves, and unfortunately even though Dan is still on-air, all his pleas for help are ignored as people think it’s just another stunt.
Bad Channels feels like a sequel to Terrorvision, which really isn’t surprising since they’re both directed by Ted Nicolaou. I don’t know that anyone was asking for a spiritual sequel to Terrorvision, but we got one and for that I am thankful. It’s not as weirdly cartoonish or as good as its Empire predecessor but it has a lot of the same charm.
Bad Channels has a few weaknesses that Terrorvision didn’t (beyond the lack of John Gries.) It has the least amount of plot of probably any Full Moon movie (except for maybe tomorrow’s entry.) In addition to the standard 10 minutes of credits split up between the movie’s opening and close, we have three nearly five minute music videos peppered throughout the film and a tease for another movie.
See, when the alien kidnaps the girls he causes them to hallucinate that a rock band (Blue Oyster Cult, DMT, and Sykotik Synfoney) comes in and starts playing for each one of them until they can be teleported away. The songs are played to more-or-less completion and this padding allows the actual movie to be maybe 45 minutes long. It’s worth noting that the songs are all suitably catchy; the Sykotik Sinfoney video seems to be the clear favorite among this movie’s cult audience.
To be fair, there’s quite a bit of story stuffed into that small amount of time and it’s nothing if not economical in the way it is paced. Dan O’Dare and our heroine, reporter Lisa Cummings (Martha Quinn) are compelling and likeable and the hokey climax where Dan and the girls do battle with the now-unsuited alien using Lysol (sorry, “Germasol”) is just the right amount of kitschy to trip my trigger. This movie feels like it was made a decade too late, but I love it.
Watch, Toss, Or Buy? Buy
If You Liked This, Watch: Rock ‘n Roll High School (1979), Terrorvision (1986), UHF (1989), Evil Bong (2006), Stunt Rock (1980)