bad channels | ted nicolaou | jackson barr | robert factor | martha quinn | aaron lustig | alien | robot | full moon | comedy | music | sci-fi | sci fi | united states | paul hipp | charlie spradling | melissa behr | daryl strauss | charles band | sonn carl davis
Film: Bad Channels
Director: Ted Nicolaou
Writer: Jackson Barr
Starring: Robert Factor, Martha Quinn and Aaron Lustig
This was a film that I checked out back when I was a kid. I was a big fan of Full Moon films and there was something about the case of this one that intrigued me. I also think I saw a trailer on one of the other films from this company so I had my parents rent it for me. The synopsis is an alien determined to capture human females takes over a radio station to do it.
We kick of with the establishing the story of this film. We see something is going on at a substation and Willis (Robert Factor) shows up to check on it. There are some strange lights and a bright light hits him.
It shifts to a radio station. What makes it special is that on the AM dial, it has the call code of 66.6 and the only one in the country. The owner, Vernon Locknut (Aaron Lustig) has installed a super powerful converter so the station can broadcast all across the country. They brought in suspended DJ, Dan O’Dare (Paul Hipp), to be the voice of the channel. It is a former polka station, so he is playing it until someone can guess the combination on the padlock of chains. Covering the event is Lisa Cummings (Martha Quinn) and she is in contact with the head news reporter, Flip Humble (Roumel Reaux).
We get introduced to some people around the town of Poota, where the station is located. The local truck stop owner calls in. His name is Peanut (Sonny Carl Davis). He has a cute employee Cookie (Charlie Spradling) working for him. A local band high school member, Bunny (Daryl Strauss), also calls in. We also see a nurse at the local hospital is listening, Ginger (Melissa Behr). None of them win and it is Flip who wins the car, much to the anger of Lisa knowing that it was rigged. She threatens to pull the plug on their interview. She loses interest in it completely when she sees strange lights of what she thinks are a UFO. She tries telling Sheriff Hickman (Victor Rogers), but Dan doesn’t back her up. She goes to the hospital to check on Willis, who has fungus growing on him, knowing there’s a bigger story.
Things change though when an alien and its robot take over the station. They broadcast music that make the local women go into a music video before shrinking them down into tiny bottles. They have four containers. Can they be stopped before all of them are filled and they leave our planet?
Now I will admit, I have some nostalgia for this film. I can see that it isn’t great, but there is something about it I like. The director is Ted Nicolaou, who I also know from the Subspecies series. I have to admit that this is a lower budget, but it has some good elements. It really feels like an updated version of the 1950’s films of aliens coming to Earth to take women back to their planet. We never learn the reason why, but that’s who they’re targeting. Something else that I found interesting is that Lisa is played by Quinn, who at the time was a VJ for MTV. Going even farther, there are three unknown bands that kind of have music videos that associate with the places the women are taken from. It feels like Full Moon was hoping one of these bands would take off so the film could get more notoriety to be popular. Going from this, they had an aging Blue Öyster Cult do the music for the film as well.
I will admit as well. There are some cheesy things that happen that made me cringe. Being the type of film this is and being a comedy to boot, I have to forgive it. How the aliens are defeated in the end is funny. It is also not that different from War of the Worlds, just kind of in reverse. That is fitting for the type of film for sure.
The pacing of the film is good in my opinion. It doesn’t waste any time introducing us to the story and to all the characters involved. The film has a running time of 88 minutes and there really is no filler. I’m glad the film isn’t longer and that they didn’t introduce any more subplots. I think for a film like this, it doesn’t need them. It knows exactly what it is and going for, which makes it perfect how it plays out.
If you can’t tell from some of things, the acting isn’t great. Quinn I thought was fine in her role, but she doesn’t do anything that really stands out. She does seem like a reporter who is given puff pieces, but really wants to make it. Hipp I thought was solid as DJ and does seem like a Howard Stern who got in trouble. I thought the three girls were attractive and fit their roles well. The rest of the cast round out the film for what was needed and add to the comedy as well.
Along with this, the effects were great, but this goes back to staying with the 1950’s sci-fi films it is kind of mocking. I thought the space suit of the alien was kind of funny looking, but I didn’t mind it. The robot was something from Mystery Science Theater 3000, but it is again fitting. Seeing the creature looked like inside the suit I didn’t mind. I will say the fungus used in the film was bad. I did let it slide though. This was all done practically so I give it credit for that. The film was shot fine in my opinion as well.
I couldn’t get through this without talking about the soundtrack of the film. I didn’t really care for the first two bands that play or the music videos for them. I did think it was a good touch to show us what they are seeing and the showing what is really happening. I do have to say, I loved the final song with Sykotik Sinfoney. It is a song I still listen to regularly called Manic Depresso. It isn’t great, but there’s something about it. The rest of the score fit for what was needed.
Now with that said, I have to go back to saying this isn’t a good film. I enjoy it mostly for what they were going for with almost parodying the 1950’s sci-fi/alien films. The other part of it for me is the nostalgia. I thought the premise of the film isn’t bad and how it plays out is good. There isn’t much filler and it paced well. It doesn’t build a lot of tension, but it is more of a fun film. The acting is fine and the effects are about the same. I thought the score was fitting for the film, but I do have to admit, I love the final ‘video’ we get. Overall I know I’m coming in higher than most, but I find this to be above average and we even get a cameo during the end credits for the sequel to this as we get a cross-over for three films from Full Moon, Dollman and Demonic Toys.
My Rating: 7 out of 10