Search this blog and The Mike's favorite blogs!

July 18, 2013

The Mike's Top 10 Made for SyFy/Sci-Fi Channel Monster Movies

Seriously, it blows my mind.  People who only watch Oscar nominated films or big budget blockbusters were coming to me and saying things like "WHOA! There's a movie called Sharknado! About a Sharknado!" And I was like "Yes...these things happen." And I was all calm and stuff.  I've been down this road a few times. It's kind of a busy street where I live in the nerdy genre fan kingdom. It's crowded with all kinds of ridiculous and wonderful and cheesy and poorly made stuff - and it's glorious.

I did watch Sharknado, and will say it had a few moments of brilliance - especially in the final act. But honestly, it kind of left me wanting something more fun. It was a one trick pony with a drab color pallette, an often misplaced sense of humor, and a repetitive nature. I felt cheated, because for such an inspired idea it was actually kind of dull - while also being bad. And I feel a little like some of the people who think Sharknado is the end-all-be-all of ridiculousness might want to watch a few more movies.
Which movies? Well I'm glad you asked!  Below are ten movies that (as far as I can tell) premiered on the SyFy network or its previous incarnation as the (grammatically correct) Sci-Fi Channel. Do I mean to tell you these are fine pieces of cinema? Well...not really. But they stick out in my mind as more inventive, more fun, and more ridiculous than most pieces of trash I've ever seen. And if you're gonna watch something bad, you should at least watch something that does bad right. The ten following movies just might fit that bill.
Bonus Honorable Mention: Atomic Twister
Original Air Date - June 9, 2002
Atomic Twister would have been one of the highest ranked films on this list - until I realized it premiered on TNT, not Sci-Fi. Alas, I will warn you that this one is about a Tornado hitting a town with a nuclear plant and stars Zack Morris and a cougar scientist who never buttons her shirt. Sadly, it's almost impossible to find now - so you're just going to imagine Zack Morris as a sheriff trying to stop a nuclear tornado.

10. Mega Piranha
Original Air Date - April 10, 2010
 You're not going to see a lot of movies by The Asylum - the company responsible for most movies like Sharknado or Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus or Battle OF Los Angeles - on this list. Their cheap knock-offs of big budget thrillers have occasional charms but can end up a little vapid.  But a) there aren't a ton of great movies to chose from here, and b) This one sticks out in my mind as more clever than most of their recent "battle between giant things" movies have been. (And I just love Tiffany. There, I said it.)

9. Mammoth
Original Air Date - April 2, 2006
A frozen wooly mammoth is revived and causes havoc in a small town while Firefly's Summer Glau and the excellent Tom Skerritt try to stop it. Why's it here? Because it's a freakin' mammoth! Those things are/were awesome!

8. Never Cry Werewolf
Original Air Date - May 11, 2008
This is basically a remake of Fright Night with werewolves replacing vampires, future Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev being attractive and replacing William Ragsdale, and Kevin Sorbo replacing Roddy McDowell. Before you run away to vomit, you should know that I'm a sucker for the Rear Window-with-monsters film, which is a big reason why I love Fright Night and why I can laugh at this thing.

7. Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys
Original Air Date - December 18, 2004
Not only do the title toys go to battle in this one, but they're joined by Corey Feldman and Vanessa Angel feuding over control of the miniature forces. This thing also partially comes from the writer of Dark City, The Dark Knight, and Man of Steel (David S. Goyer) and gets bonus points for ticking off the notoriously shady Charles Band, who doesn't recognize this as "canon."

6. Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep
Original Air Date - September 23, 2006
This one gets crazy bonus points for taking itself too seriously, even while it has an O'Connell in the cast. The real star of the show is one of my favorite underloved actresses, Victoria Pratt, who manages to play a very serious marine archaeologist while only wearing bikini tops. It also features recently deceased Glee star Cory Monteith as one of Pratt's assistants.

5. Wyvern
Original Air Date - January 31, 2009
The Academy Award for Best Lead Performance in a SyFy Original Film of All-Time simply has to belong to Nick Chinlund for his work on Wyvern. The co-star of films like Eraser and Con Air stars as a trucker who has to help a small Alaska town battle a snake dragon, and manages to get in a heavy personal monologue on his way to becoming a hero. Like the last flick, major bonus points for taking itself so seriously.

4. Sasquatch Mountain
Original Air Date - September 9, 2006
Lance Henriksen's wife gets killed by a 'squatch and then a bunch of crooks start pretending their life is Reservoir Dogs in the woods and then there's a bunch of Sasquatch going down and Henriksen is angry and out for blood. There are some obvious flaws, but it still is one of the better Sasquatch movies out there. Then again, there are about zero good Sasquatch movies out there - so I'm not saying much there.

3. Beyond Loch Ness (aka Loch Ness Terror)
Original Air Date - January 5, 2008
If there's one thing I love more than Sasquatch - it's Nessie. I couldn't stop freaking out when that stupid Nessie movie for little kids came out in theaters around the end of 2007. Thankfully, SyFy was there for me. They picked me up and said "Don't worry, The Mike. You want a killer Nessie movie? WE'VE GOT THAT!" And I think that was the moment I knew I was in love.

2. Terminal Invasion
Original Air Date - September 14, 2002
YOU GUYS! You guys! It's Bruce Campbell, you guys!

Campbell stars in what is essentially a feature length (and low-low-budget) adaptation of the classic Twilight Zone episode "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" that is directed by Friday the 13th's Sean S. Cunningham. I KNOW THAT SOUNDS AWESOME. Some bad special effects set the film back a bit, but it's one of the more well-plotted films made for the network and - OH YEAH - it has freaking Bruce Campbell!

1. Mega Python vs. Gatoroid
Original Air Date - January 25, 2011
OK, I know I said I'm not a big fan of The Asylum - but this is their The Dark Knight. Directed by Pet Sematary's Mary Lambert and reuniting '80s pop stars Debbie Gibson and Tiffany - the former reprising her role from Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and the latter returning from Mega Piranha - this is the one time when the stars just seemed to magically align and everything ridiculous about these movies came together to make one perfectly entertaining work of art.  Plus, we finally get to see a catfight between Debbie and Tiffany that is bookended by quotes from their once popular songs. This is the new American treasure that Sharknado wishes it was.



jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Debbie Gib-daughter and Tiffany (as they were in 1988 when they were both 18, not as they are now obviously). Sorry but i had to change the second syllable of Debbies surname because of my murderous homo-phobia.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Nina Dobrev (as the bird was in 2007 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously), at 24 the bird is already 6 years past her prime, the bird is not quite as gorgeous now as she was 6 years ago, you have to admit that.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its appalling to think that next month a completely unwatchable pile of British made dog-shit called "The Worlds end" will be besmirching and polluting American multi-plexes with its foul and odious presence, any of the SyFy/Asylum movies that you girl-tioned here is infinitely better than that piece of excruciating crap and yet they had to make do with going straight to television, there was no way they were going to get a cinema release. Superior American made movies are being overlooked in favour of laughably pathetic limey horse-shit, the distributors should be bloody-well ashamed of themselves for biting the hand that feeds them, the bloody silly bastards. LONG LIVE HOLLYWOOD, DEATH TO THE BRITISH FILM INDUSTRY.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Of the 12 movies girl-tioned here, any one of them, chosen completely at random would be 1000 times better by itself than everything that the British film industry has ever produced put together over the last 124 years since the invention of the cinematograph circa 1889 ! ! !. NUKE THE BRITISH FILM INDUSTRY WITH A 50 MEGATON DEVICE, NOW ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Summer Glau (as the bird was in 1999 when the bird was 18 not as the bird is now obviously). The birds gonna` be 32 next Wednesday and her looks are already completely gone, but 14 years ago when that bird was 18...WOW...WOW...WOW...! ! !.

The Mike said...

I completely and unreservedly agree with everything that was said in the last 5 com-girl-ts.

otis rampaging heterosexuality said...

On the DVD cover for "Never Cry Werewolf" i love the grimace of pain on Nina Dobrevs face, it looks as though the little darlin` has got a big knob stuck up her amazing bum, i just wish it was my knob that was stuck up the incredible birds arse-hole ! ! !.

The Mike said...

Otis, i had exactly the same thought when i first saw that picture as well.