Remote Control (1988) Poster

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Aliens in your VCR. No really!
df_az27 March 2004
A cheesy yet very fun horror/sci-fi flick with a great deal of nostalgia permeating every frame. The movie itself is an 80's look back on a warped sci-fi version of the 50's, which sounds strange but works well. It must be remembered that around the time this movie was made, there was a fad for all things 50's and retro, and "Remote Control" makes nostalgic fun of that trend, while also being part of it. Video stores were still mostly independently owned in those days and were sweeping the country, so the writers here took the old "aliens invade earth" scenario and use the VCR growth as a means in which the aliens can infiltrate and infect the human population. How so? Well, whoever watches the video will become hypnotized/entranced/controlled by the secret message, and will turn into a crazed murderous freak! You all of the sudden have this sudden urge to kill anyone around you! Still, it's not as gruesome or bad as it sounds, and is instead a great deal of fun. Kevin Dillon (who starred later in the '88 version of "The Blob") isn't the best actor, and neither is anyone else in this flick, but that strangely adds to the charm. It's cheesy, it's meant to be cheesy, and all these years later it's even better - because now it's nostalgic 80's cheese. Love it!
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10/10
VHS obsessed
evildead-928 April 1999
I like this film alot. It is quite like Videodrome in that the whole movie is obsessed with itself and also obsessed with video formats and makes references to the video revolution of the 1980's.
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7/10
the video craze hits hard.
mylimbo5 January 2009
God I love Jeff Lieberman's work and it never seems to amaze me. 'Remote Control' is no different, and it's probably his most obscure feature. All this guy needs is quite a healthy budget to let those innovative ideas and visions truly evolve. What's lined up in the VCR (yep it's the glorious video era) is a B-grade Sci-fi retro spoof on 1950's Sci-fi set in modern times and the late 80s video boom that's mainly spot on with its send up, even with such limited resources and slight material. It's quite well done (in typical 80s spirit) and ejects rather an inventive premise that have aliens using an mind-controlling video which features an hilarious shoddy old-fashion Sci-fi film called "Remote Control' that sees the viewer becoming apart of the screen action and virtually losing control, killing anybody near. So it's up to a video clerk who discovers the secret to put a stop to it all. Something only the 80s could spit out.

From the get-go everything falls on the quirky and low-key side. It's daft, but it knows it and plays it accordingly with its often witty, but undemanding script. Where it builds upon paranoia and conspiracy laced inclusions, but despite its small groundwork Lieberman's able direction makes it work and the self-parody is hard to dislike. Even Peter Bernstein's music, expertly harked back to those eerie 50's sci-fi scores. The vibe that was created was perfectly pitched. Tim Suhrstedt's camera-work sparsely moves around and effectively judged which it's at its best during the attack scenes.

Little to no FX is used (which would be due to the considerably low-budget), but an attempt at story-telling and heighten suspense comes to the forefront. It works to its strengths and this is what makes it more so successful. Some passages can get slack or repetitive, but the pace manages to be snappy and the fashionable décor holds your attention. Not letting you forget what era this was from. There's convincing performances (done in mock-seriousness approach) from a reliable Kevin Dillon, a wonderful Deborah Goodrich and an all too short, but a perky Jennifer Tilly. No matter how small her part is, Tilly always does her best to leave an imprint on proceedings. I didn't think that Dillon would be strong enough to carry the lead role, but surprisingly he looks and acts the part.
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9/10
One of my all-time favorites!
timhoustontx-131 August 2002
great concept plus great imagery: takes every-day 80's concepts that slowly meld into futuristic looking situations. E.g. girl in work-out clothes later looks futuristic... The idea that watching a video makes you crazy enough to kill is great...plus the fact that the video story is recursive...the story on the video is about people who watch a video...
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10/10
it's one of my best movies
RASTA-324 October 1998
It's one of the strangest movies I have seen and that's what's great about it
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6/10
Entertaining (mild spoilers)
gridoon2 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Entertaining B-movie, with a strikingly original premise (a videocassette that turns those who view it into killers, distributed by aliens who got the idea from the actual film the cassette contains) and some witty touches (along with some silly ones). It would have benefited from a larger budget, which would enable it to have a greater scope (after all, we are talking about the destruction of the Earth here), but it will still make you nostalgic about the early days of "the home video revolution". (**)
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9/10
10 seconds; the movie begins, 30 seconds: the power turns on, 60 seconds: your killer instincts take over
Rusty198828 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
the story revolves around a mysterious home video titled REMOTE CONTROL, As viewers of this strange video enjoy a hilarious 50's sci-fi flick, they suddenly become the stars of the film,freaking out and murderously killing everyone around them. When young videostore clerk (Kevin Dillon) discovers the secret behind the mind controlling tape, he sets out to destroy the culprit and save mankind's. with co starring roles Jennifer Tilly, Deborah Goodrich and Christopher Wynne REMOTE CONTROL can not be missed by any 80's sci-fi fan, also a blast from the bast of video shops in the 80's check out the TEEN WOLF POSTER in about 12 scenes, same makers of this trying to get more advertising for it 9/10
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7/10
Murderous tapes from outer space.
HumanoidOfFlesh17 December 2010
Cosmo DiClemente and Georgie are two video rental store employees.They discover that science-fiction film from early 50's called "Remote Control" contains subliminal mind-control messages that turn all viewers into mindless killers.Distribution of the film predates an upcoming alien invasion.I love Jeff Lieberman's "Squirm" and "Just Before Dawn",so it was the highest time to check out his "Remote Control".The film is a fun sci-fi/horror spoof with likable central performances by Kevin Dillon and Deborah Goodrich.The premise of killer videotapes is quite absurd,but the film works as a parody.It's not on par with fantastic "Just Before Dawn",though.7 aliens out of 10.
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10/10
One of the impressive movies in my life
danask200814 August 2012
I have seen this movie on TV. When I was a kid, I was really into the Sci- Fi movies and I used to watch them whenever it was running on TV. This film was one of them.

It seems like low budget film, but the basic idea is so interesting. Even though this movie was made in 80's, most of scene are good except for several unnecessary and weird action. If some famous directors remake this, it will be fantastic. Also, the female actress, Deborah is so cute. She's not so popular in my country, but I know she was starred in April Fool's Day.

I've got this film recently. It was really hard, but it deserved it and reminded me of the old memory.
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6/10
Lieberman does sci-fi and it's 80s to the max!
BA_Harrison7 July 2015
A cold-war-era style tale of alien invaders brainwashing the masses via VHS, Remote Control stars Kevin Dillon (younger brother of Matt) as video store clerk Cosmo, who discovers a plot by extraterrestrials to destroy mankind by altering an old sci-fi movie so that it causes uncontrollable violence when viewed. With the help of his best pal Georgie (Christopher Wynne) and babe Belinda Watson (Deborah Goodrich), Cosmo sets out to destroy all the copies of the film on video before they can be shipped nationwide, but can they succeed without being exposed to the deadly movie themselves?

How '80s do you like your films? I only ask because this quirky little sci-fi flick from director Jeff Lieberman (Just Before Dawn/Satan's Little Helper) takes everything already tacky about the decade of day-glo and back-combing and pushes them to the limits, with exaggerated fashion disasters and bizarre hairstyles that make Cyndi Lauper and A Flock of Seagulls look positively reserved by comparison. If you find the idea of metallic lame blouson jackets at all upsetting, then you would probably be better off giving this one a miss. If, however, you appreciate absurd low budget obscurities and revel in the colourful and kitsch, then dive on in.

In addition to its clever plot device (whereby the '50s film that the aliens use to control their victims has the same narrative as the film we are watching) and all of the gaudy 80s style, Remote Control delivers lots of nostalgia for those who grew up in the video era (check out all of the cool titles and posters in the video stores!), some cheesy fight action, Jennifer Tilly sporting a truly awful hairdo, a surprisingly good explosion, and an impressive full body burn stunt. While not quite as accomplished as Jeff Lieberman's horror movies—a bigger budget would certainly have helped to fully realise its potential—Remote Control is still a unique experience from a true auteur, and should provide a fun time for those curious enough to seek it out.
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6/10
Incredible silly sci-fi-spoof
Vomitron_G14 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
REMOTE CONTROL cleverly makes fun of all those sci-fi/horror movies from the 50's to the 80's about an alien conspiracy trying to wipe out all mankind. It's even fairly original as to the means the aliens use to succeed in their diabolical plan: A video-tape with a cheesy sci-fi-flick is being spread throughout the country. While watching it, it sends out signals, converting yourself into a killing maniac. A videostore clerk figures it out and sets off to stop this madness.

REMOTE CONTROL is an undeniable product of the 80's but also parodies that same era. Quite unique, I'd say, and therefore extremely enjoyable to watch. Videostores were spawning all over the country during the 80's, and this movie portrays them as distributors of evil. It makes particularly fun of the 'tv-generation' and the youngsters in this movie are all caricatures. Just look at all their colorful costumes & crazy hairdos. It portrays the 80's generation as if seen through the eyes of the 50's generation, applying their notions and ideas of the concept 'futuristic'. So you see REMOTE CONTROL goes pretty far in terms of parody. And between all this spoofing insanity, it also manages to refer to François Truffaut's BAISERS VOLÉS. I think director Jeff Lieberman comes close to being a genius. But that's only because of his ideas and the fact that he knows his stuff, not for his technical skills or stunning visuals. He certainly is no Tim Burton (I'm only mentioning him because he made MARS ATTACKS!, which is probably the ultimate sci-fi-spoof. So I'm NOT comparing him to Lieberman).

It was also so much fun to see a rather young Jennifer Tilly in this one. Now, we all love Ms. Tilly, don't we! And I personally think she deserved the part of Deborah Goodrich. That way she could've lasted the whole movie, instead of killing her off so soon. Kevin Dillon maybe isn't a great actor, but he was decent as Cosmo, the video-clerk with a mission. I liked him better in the '88-version of THE BLOB, though.

I desperately want to rate this movie a bit higher, but I can't. Because the rest of the acting wasn't so good and the rather low budget & production values really showed from time to time. This movie also could've used a bit more cheesy special effects, 'cause there are practically none. And there's also no blood (exept a few gun-shot wounds and the death by a futuristic knitting device), in case you were wondering. And then there's the fact that we never actually see the aliens. Only their human puppets, doing all the work. They're only referred to as being on a distant planet, controlling everything. But in the end this movie succeeds in what it intended to do: making a funny sci-fi/horror-spoof that will have you laughing at its intentional stupidity & silliness.
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6/10
A Great B-Movie Homage To The 50s
trekkie31311 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
There's not much I can say about this movie, but here is the breakdown. Kevin Dillon works at a video store with his best friend. One day a bunch of free VHS tapes tilted Remote Control turn up along with a promotional display of a TV set which seems to be drawing crowds. Kevin Dillon keeps trying to impress a hot blond who is obviously way out of his league by quoting movie lines. Jennifer Tilly's character rents out the last copy of Remote Control and lies about not being able to find War Of The Worlds. This causes the 'hot blonds" douchebag boyfriend to break into Jennifer's house to get the tape back and is hypnotized by the video and kills Jennifer Tilly and her family.

Kevin Dillon and his friend witness one of the murders and are blamed for them. They soon escape and realize that the movie Remote Control is causing everyone to go crazy, so they go around California destroying every copy they can find. It turns out that the rest of the movie Remote Control is a b-movie version of what they are doing. This movie could be called "Plan 9 From Outer Space" meets "Videodrome" I recommend watching it if you can get a copy.
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8/10
Smart and hugely enjoyable sci-fi treat
Woodyanders29 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Smartaleck video store clerk Cosmo (a solid and likable performance by Kevin Dillon) accidentally discovers a nefarious alien plot to take over Earth by brainwashing people to become dangerous psychotics through watching a cruddy 50's sci-fi clunker on a VHS tape. Can Cosmo and his friends stop them before it's too late? Writer/director Jeff Lieberman relates the clever premise at a brisk pace, astutely nails (and wickedly satirizes) the rampant VHS mania of the late 80's, likewise pokes spot-on barbed fun at annoying hipsters and cheesy retro nostalgia, delivers several moments of shockingly brutal violence, and laces the whole thing with his trademark sly offbeat wit. Moreover, it's acted with zest by an appealing and attractive cast: The fetching Deborah Goodrich as the perky Belinda Watson, Christopher Wynne as awkward geek Georgie, and Frank Beddor as obnoxious jerk Victor. Popping up in nifty small roles are Jennifer Tilly as the kooky Allegra Jones and veteran character actor Bert Remsen as amiable distributor Bill Denver. The purposefully lousy mock 50's flick rates as a hilarious piece of pure kitschy schlock gold. Peter Bernstein's funky score hits the groovy pulsating spot. Tim Suhrstedt's bright cinematography provides a neat sparkling look. A real cool and crafty blast.
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6/10
Video Killed MORE than just the Radio Stars ...
Coventry19 February 2008
Aliens with knowledge of marketing and earthly hypes develop the brilliant plan of distributing an altered 50's Sci-Fi movie that holds the ability to brainwash its viewers through the television screen and turn them into mad-raving maniacs out to kill their own species. I tell you; only in the demented 80's decade some producer would actually consider pumping money into a goofy horror premise like this. "Remote Control" couldn't be more eighties if it tried to be (I'm actually surprised Duran Duran didn't sign for the soundtrack), but at the same time it's extremely amusing as long as you interpret the film like it should, namely as a light-headed spoof. The silliness of the plot, the over-the-top grotesque costumes, the cheesy sound and make-up effects and the tongue in cheek acting performances all clearly indicate that the film shouldn't be taken too seriously and that the whole thing is merely a big juicy wink at the so-called "video revolution" that boomed during the mid 80's. Any film that simultaneously parodies an entire cinematic sub genre (alien invasion flicks of the 50's) and an entire way of life (80's punks with crazy hairstyles and an awful taste in clothing) is at least worth a bit of praise, regardless of the overall tacky elaboration and the occasional dull moments in the screenplay. Kevin Dillon, Matt's less famous brother, looks and behaves exactly rebellious enough to accidentally stumble upon the aliens' fiendish conspiracy and to take on the battle. He works in a video store where the video, also called "Remote Control" is a tremendous success and together with his co-worker and a stereotypical 80's beauty they go after the distributors. The movie doesn't really offer quality material, but at least it's spirited and writer/director Jeff Lieberman surely always knows where to put the emphasis. Speaking of which, Lieberman undeniably was (is, in fact) one of the most peculiar contributors to the genre of horror during the 70's and 80's. I'm a big fan of his work, but he's still sadly under-appreciated and too often neglected. He didn't make that many films, but the premises were always strikingly original and refreshing. He served killer worms in "Squirm", bald and murderous LSD-trippers in "Blue Sunshine", backwoods rednecks in "Just Before Dawn" (admittedly not that innovating) and now – ladies and gentleman – the only horror movie ever to feature VCR-aliens! "Remote Control" flopped big-time during its initial release (I even read in an interview that the failure resulted in Lieberman's aversion to directing) and it's still incredibly obscure these days. Ironically enough, if "Remote Control" actually were an extraterrestrial project to take over our planet, it severely would have failed as hardly anyone bothered to rent it.
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3/10
acting/directing...?
dick-5628 August 2005
I watched this film because I love Jennifer Tilly but how could I have done such a mistake!It's even unthinkable that this movie is from '87.The script could have been set down better but it could be overseen if we aren't too pretentious.But what I can't forgive is the incredible bad acting performance what could have been a bit better(in my opinion)if the directing qualities were more professional.Anyway this was not the spot I suppose.They just wanted to give a popular sci-fi teen movie that fitted fine in that years.IF you want watch it if you're curious, eventually I did the same but if you avoid it it's better.
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3/10
Revenge of the 80's: Bad sci-fi flicks!
Joseph P. Ulibas26 September 2004
Remote Control (1987) was one of the many bad sci-fi films that came out during this time period. It also marked the use of many younger siblings of popular actors (Jennifer Tilly & Kevin Dillon). Well this is just another run-of-the-mill video fodder that revolves around the old "technology gone amok" scheme. Low budget, a bad script and wooden acting make this one null and void. Films like this are instantly dated and are gladly forgotten within a few years. Unless you're a huge fan of 80's movies this one is not worth a look.

Not recommended.

Take my advice, grab your remote and change the channel if this tripe ever shows up on your t.v. screen!
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1/10
i paid $1 for this and it was too much
dispet15 July 2004
not the worst film ive ever seen, not by a long shot, but man, this was painful, this was bad, this was annoying! so many interesting films get labelled as misogynistic simply because they have women being murdered. well if ever a film deserved that title, this filmis that film! it has plenty of sexism to go around. the main character is little more than an annoying rambo wannabe, he seems to exist solely to get angry and abuse people, neither of which adds to the enjoyment of the film or the plot! the plot i might add is not particularly interesting, let alone striking or innovative. its not very original, it certainly has little to do with videodrome (as opposed to what other commentators might say) and is far to badly handled to ever inspire any thoughts on it being a fun nod to old b movies. irritating trash of the worst kind!
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1/10
Keep the remote control.....you'll need it to turn this off!
Welly-229 December 1998
Warning: Spoilers
Give some students a few pence and the loan of a cheap camera and they will produce better than this. I could make a better film than this if I taped an hour of my efforts on an Etch-a-Sketch. The only way you could make a worse film than this is to make the same film...but longer!
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