47 user 20 critic
2:02 | Trailer

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A husband and wife are sucked into a hellish television set and have to survive a gauntlet of twisted versions of shows they find themselves in.


Peter Hyams


Tom S. Parker (screenplay), Jim Jennewein (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
John Ritter ... Roy Knable
Pam Dawber ... Helen Knable
Jeffrey Jones ... Spike
David Tom ... Darryl Knable / Narrator
Heather McComb ... Diane Knable
Bob Dishy ... Murray Seidenbaum
Joyce Gordon ... Sarah Seidenbaum
Eugene Levy ... Crowley
Erik King ... Pierce
Don Calfa ... Wetzel
John Destry John Destry ... Sackler (as John Blackwell Destrey)
Susan Blommaert ... Ducker
Maurice Verkaar Maurice Verkaar ... Another Buyer
Ken Douglas Ken Douglas ... Skeletal Worker
Gerry Nairn Gerry Nairn ... Newscaster


The Knables are having marriage problems: Roy is a lousy plumbing supplies salesman by day and couch potato by night, and his wife, Helen, is a successful senior product manager for a vitamin company. Roy watches too much TV every night and Helen just cannot stand it. Then one night, Helen offers Roy a night to save their relationship: a romantic getaway without phones, their children, and especially no TV. Unfortunately, when Roy's hooked on the big screen, there's no going back. This frustrates and angers her and Helen decides to smash the family console with one of Roy's trophies as a wake-up call to reality. A heartbroken-to-disoriented Roy then hears the doorbell and finds out that it's a mysterious salesman named Spike who offers him the "ultimate getaway" from all the hate, frustration, and failures: a new remote controller and a new state-of-the-art satellite TV. Roy accepts the new TV by signing a free trial contract not knowing that he just sold his soul to the devil himself... Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Something weird's on the air. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some off-color humor and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

14 August 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ba Ma Bemanid See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The producers wanted Dan Aykroyd for the part of Roy Knable. See more »


In the Gameshow segment, when they display the Napper-Crapper chair, the woman in the blue dress pulls out the little TV, and some feathers fall from her dress and land on the floor. In the next shot, the feathers are gone. See more »


[Roy Knable escapes from the set of Duane's Underworld]
Duane: Bogus.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, the HVTV Fall Lineup is shown, including:
  • I Love Lucifer
  • The Golden Ghouls
  • Murder She Likes
  • David Dukes of Hazard
  • Facts of Life Support
  • Beverly Hills, 90666
  • Fresh Prince of Darkness
  • Unmarried with Children
See more »


Features The Sea Hawk (1940) See more »


The Mic Stalker
Performed by Dr. Ice
Courtesy of Zomba Music Recording Corp.
See more »

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User Reviews

Seriously underrated horror comedy
15 January 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

Roy Knable (John Ritter) loves watching television so much that his marriage is falling apart because of it. When a door-to-door salesman shows him a high-tech remote control, Ritter listens to his pitch, and buys into it when he discovers that it's for a new television and satellite system that offers 666 channels of programming--much of which is not available anywhere else. However, the salesman may not have been what he seemed to be, and Knable soon discovers that he may have agreed to a contract that obligated him to give up more than money.

Oh, how I loved this film! Director Peter Hyams and the writing crew of Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein and Richard Siegel definitely had my number on this one. Stay Tuned is a very clever horror comedy that is extremely underrated and perhaps was a bit mismarketed. Although I'm a huge horror fan, and love horror comedies, I'd never heard of this one before (however, later I did find references to it in a couple horror sources, so it seems it wasn't completely overlooked by the industry and fans). But the horror aspect of the film doesn't appear to be advertised anywhere. I watched this on HBO's Family Channel. Even though Knable's son is important to the plot and there are strong fantasy aspects, this is not really a family film. Not that kids might not like the film, but they'd have to be kids who like horror (comedies) and whose parents let them watch horror (comedies). Enjoyment of the film is also helped by having a familiarity with the material that is being spoofed, and the references are broad enough that it would take years of experience to acquire that familiarity.

Why spoofed? Well, on one level, Stay Tuned is just a long series of crafty takes on film and television programs and genres, giving many well-known classics a more immediate horror twist--immediate because they all put our heroes, Knable and his wife Helen (Pam Dawber), in peril in some way. There are many more subtle jokes, as well, and the film even pokes fun at film students/film geeks. The spoofs range from silly to poignant, and can be as quick as a title or as long as ten minutes or so. One of the best is a classic Warner Brothers-styled animated segment. The style and the quality should not be surprising, as Chuck Jones designed and supervised the animation.

Under different hands, maybe this material wouldn't be quite as good as it is. Hyams' direction is spot-on throughout the film, the script (including the dialogue) is very intelligent, and in addition to Ritter and Dawber being as good as I've seen them, Stay Tuned also features Jeffrey Jones (one of my favorite character actors) and Eugene Levy. Both are fantastic.

Stay Tuned deserves much wider recognition. It is funny, suspenseful and seems to draw from a well of endless inventiveness. It's as good as any other horror comedy I've seen. There is also a surface message of turning off the television and living your life, which is a worthwhile sentiment, but perhaps a harder sell when it is packaged in a film as excellent as this.

A 10 out of 10 from me.

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