Macabre…ish Horror Review: Bad Channels
Bad Channels, 1992/ 1 hr 28 min
A tech checks a substation that is throwing sparks and finds a strange tether connected to it that shouldn’t be there…
Rock Radio DJ Dangerous Dan O’Dare (Paul Hipp) is doing a 66 hour shift and a stunt, it’s a rock n roll station but he will only play polka music until someone can call in with three numbers that will unlock the padlock that has him chained up. If no one guesses the correct numbers then polka will play the entire time. Plus the winner gets a convertible.
When a tv anchor, Flip Humble (Roumel Reaux), guesses correctly, journalist, Lisa Cummings (Martha Quinn), thinks it’s a scam and the contest is rigged and she threatens to alert the FCC. But Dan changes her mind and while they are outside they see a UFO and she wants to report on it.
She decides to chase the UFO story instead of interviewing Dangerous Dan and she leaves. Back on the air, Dan has to field calls from annoyed listeners who also thinks the game was rigged. He also announces that Lisa left to chase a UFO.
Back at the substation, the technician, Willis (Robert Factor), has been attacked and has some kind of mysterious fungus on him. And nearby an alien zaps a delivery man out of existence and others are reporting seeing the UFO too.
Suddenly the radio station is being attacked and an alien walks in with a robot, and it happens live on the air. It walks in and takes over the station, retrofitting it with some kind it’s own apparatus and that same fungus grows and spreads throughout the studio.
And Lisa follows the technician, Willis, to the hospital, she’s not leaving until she gets to interview him. Her cameraman also disappeared after being blinked out of existence by an alien.
And Dan can’t get anyone to believe it’s real. He tries getting the engineer, Corky (Michael Huddleston), to convince someone. And their entire national audience is listening in.
Suddenly, Dan and Corky sees a tiny woman materialize inside a little tube on the alien’s apparatus. They recognize her as Cookie (Charlie Spradling) from the truck stop. When Corky tries to run away, he’s stunned by the alien and entombed in fungus.
Back at the hospital, the fungus that is being removed from Willis is responding to the radio. And people are reporting fungus coming out of their radios.
Dangerous Dan announces Corky’s death and tells everyone to stop listening to the radio. He realizes the aliens can actually see the callers through their technology. He tries to warn them. One caller, Bunny (Daryl Strauss), is warned and right after, a rock band enters and she begins to dance. Except no one can see the band but her. It’s the same thing that happened to Cookie, just before she dematerialized from work. Then Bunny also vanishes.
Even though the sheriff (Victor Rogers) has seen the fungus with his own eyes, he’s spinning this into a hostage situation and order the door to the radio station, forced open. They are unsuccessful.
The more Dan tries to warn people, the more listeners and callers they get. He’s sealed in the building with the alien and he implores the police to call the military to blow the station up. But first he uses Germasol on the fungus that’s suddenly growing on him and the disinfectant dissolves it. So he tries it on the alien.
When the alien accidentally captures a man, it kills it’s robot out of frustration. Then reverses the function to send the man back out and get’s Lisa, instead. From her little tube, she records what’s happening inside the studio with the camera that was shrunk with her and broadcasts Dan fighting the alien.
Dan defeats the main and largest alien and releases the women, then they hose down the aliens and the door with Germasol, to escape.
This Full Moon Production was directed by Ted Nicolaou. It is paced well and though campy, it’s fun and nostalgic! The dj is perfectly cast, the concept is intriguing and I’m usually annoyed by bands in movies but I actually liked the ones that were in this flick. I really liked this!