Bad Channels: The Official Nerfed Llamas Review… perhaps it’s a sequel to Little Women? (probably not)
The next stop on my self proclaimed Full Moon Features month is the shock jock radio station themed sci-fi comedy, Bad Channels. One of Full Moon’s lighter movies, it is truly more comedy than anything else and a product of the popularity of MTV at the time. I was almost going to go for something more horror related today, but in going through the Full Moon catalog, I saw this diamond in the rough and thought I’d give it a fresh watch for the first time in nearly 20 years. These re-watches have been a lot of fun for me so far. Nostalgia plays into it a bit, but I think more than that, it hearkens back to a time when films could still be made on a shoe string budget and still find financial success in the home video rental market. Nowadays, so many videos you see are short little YouTube clips, or the even shorter Vines. It’s as if modern day content devourers have short little attention spans that cannot be bothered to sit through entire movies anymore… but I digress. On to the main event!
What is Bad Channels: Bad Channels is a science fiction comedy film that centers around a small town radio station that is going national for the first time. The station’s shock jock, Dangerous Dan O’Dare, is running a bizarre radio promotion that just happens to coincide with a visit from an extraterrestrial and his robot minions. The alien invades the radio station and uses the airwaves to start abducting and miniaturizing women. With the help of intrepid TV reporter Lisa Cummings, Dan must find a way to stop the alien and return the abducted women back to their normal size, all while making sure that the ratings stay strong for the station… no pressure! Created by Charles Band (the creator of Full Moon Features) and written by Jackson Barr (writer of Body Chemistry and many Full Moon films), Bad Channels was directed by Ted Nicolaou (director of the Subspecies series of films) and starred: Paul Hipp (a character actor with a ton of TV credits), Martha Quinn (MTV VJ and also from the movie Tapeheads), Sonny Carl Davis (Thelma & Louise, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High), and Aaron Lustig (Edward Scissorhands, and Bedazzled).
What I Liked: The score/soundtrack to Bad Channels is super kickin’ rad! With a score composed and performed by Blue Öyster Cult, it is full of serious hard rock jams and crazy sci-fi ambiance. Not only is it a rockin’ score, but they also contribute a handful of original tracks with full vocals to the soundtrack. I have to admit, it’s pretty awesome to come into a lower budget film like Bad Channels and then be treated with choice cuts by such a well known and popular rock band. BÖC didn’t come alone, they brought along a few obscure, but no less awesome acts with them to round out the song selection. Additional music by the likes of Joker, Fair Game, DMT, Ukelalians, and Sykotik Sinfoney are also prominently featured in the film during the numerous rock and roll fantasy sequences. For example, check out this bizarre little clip from the film featuring Sykotik Sinfoney:
Another thing that I kind of loved about Bad Channels, was that the motivation and/or reason for why the alien was abducting and miniaturizing women was never explained. At all. The weird rock-scrotum-headed alien was most certainly collecting super small women, but why? Was it for a life-like Barbie collection he had started? Was he selling them to other aliens as pets? Was he sending them to Arturos in some sort of bizarre miniature human trafficking scheme? Who knows? Certainly not the audience, but in a way that makes it more fun, almost turns the whole plot into a conversation piece. The alien and his robot counterpart never talk to each other so it’s up to the audience to draw its own conclusions. I like open ended storytelling that allows me to fill in some of the blanks as it were.
What I Didn’t Like: Honestly, there wasn’t much to dislike in Bad Channels. The run time is short, just barely clocking in at 80 minutes long, so it’s a quick and fun watch. The special effects are super cheesy, but in many ways that’s more of a positive than a negative when you are enjoying a quality b-movie. The actors were all clearly having fun with their roles and it shows, so there’s no real complaint there. All in all, this is a well put together goofball of a low budget flick. My hat’s off to Ted Nicolaou for putting this film together and making it as fun and energetic as it is.
Bottom Line: If you like irreverent and chaotic movies filled with far out premises and lots of rock ‘n’ roll, similar in some ways to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, then Bad Channels may be the rock odyssey that you are looking for. It’s got a bit of everything like comedy, weird aliens, robots, screaming, terror, pretty ladies, and a whole lot of hard rock jams. It’s a wacky ride that is a blast from the first shock jock marathon shenanigans all the way down to it’s bizarrely over the top ending. Never lacking for originality, Bad Channels is the kind of radio I would listen to and certainly a film I will watch again. Just make sure to check your sanity at the door and have some fun with it.
Check out the trailer and see if Bad Channels is your cup o’ insanity: