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Bottom Ten SciFi Channel Original Movies

Thursday, May 11th 2006

(2 comments)

Pretty much everybody knows that while the SciFi Channel has some excellent original content, such as Battlestar Galactica and Stargate, they produce an obscene number of horrible B movies. Now while some of these aren't horrible - Riverworld and Cube 2 come to mind - many are indeed horrible, barely qualifying as B movies. I'm focusing my bottom ten list on monster movies, since they seem to comprise the bulk of SciFi Channel fare, but I'm sad to have to leave out the one about a black hole forming in Missouri and the one about college kids determined to lose their virginity who find hot women who turn out not to be human.

I have not seen all of these movies. It's very possible that I've missed some really bad ones. But if so, then I'm glad to have missed them. Read on... if you dare.

Alien Apocalypse10. Alien Apocalypse This movie might be higher up on the list were it not for Bruce Campbell, who is awesome. Unluckily, this movie is not awesome. It is a thinly veiled remake of Planet of the Apes in which the Earth has been taken over by space termites. They've enslaved humanity because... those human heads are just so damn tasty! So they've got humans working in lumber mills so they can bite off their heads or fingers whenever they like. And being space termites, they like to eat the wood too. What do the humans get to eat? Slime. Something of a cross between what humans were fed in Battlefield Earth and the slime from You Can't Do That on Television.

9. Webs Four utility workers enter an abandoned building in Chicago and find a nuclear generator in the basement. It shoots out a strange beam which transports them to a parallel universe where half-spider-half-men prey upon humanity. Even 21 Jump Street's Richard Greico can't save this one.

8. Pterodactyl The movie opens up with the pterodactyl swooping down on a hunter and biting off the top half of his body, leaving his legs and waist standing there. Apparently, the island where the movie takes place, aside from being overrun by dinosaurs, also has a special ops team fighting terrorists. And Coolio is the leader of the special ops team. I'll pass.

7. Frankenfish With a name like that, how can you go wrong? The name has much of the same charm as Snakes on a Plane, in that once you've heard the title, the plot of the movie becomes instantly obvious. In this case, crazy mutant fish eats people. Too bad that the fish gets nearly no screen time. And a plot would have been nice.

6. Anonymous Rex Possibly an even better title than Frankenfish is this movie, based on the novel by Eric Garcia. It is a detective story, in which the main characters are two velociraptors, a triceratops, and a human that the triceratops adopted. Need I say more?

5. Boa vs Python When an eighty foot python gets shipped in to the US, but escapes to live in a water treatment plant, how do you deal with it before it manages to kill more people? You release a Boa Constrictor into the plant! It's genius! It's not as if this would compound the problem! It's obvious that before long the two snakes would confront each other in a terrifying epic showdown.

4.Chupacabra: Dark Seas We're in the home stretch now, kids. This is where the movies get really bad. I've got to admit, I watched this one largely because The Dragon's Landing Inn Podcast uses a chupacabra as their mascot. And I've got to say - that creature looked nothing like the chupacabras I've seen. And I never knew chupacabras were bulletproof! It looked more like some guy in a really bad costume. The shots where it scurried across walls and ceilings were especially comical. And every time someone died, they kept showing the same white wall with some guy throwing a bucket of red paint against it. The movie was horrible despite the illeged chupacabra.

3.Raptor Island Simply Amazing. Radioactivity on a remote island causes raptors to spring into existance! I never knew! And now, a SEAL team has pursued terrorists to this island. Wait a minute... I've heard this one before! Oh yeah - it's the same plot as number 8, Pterodactyl. We've got to make it different. I got it! There's an active volcano on the island that's about to erupt!

Everything is computer-animated. And the raptors are so stupid that when someone fires a machine gun into their midst, they stand there and don't realize that anything is wrong until one of them falls over dead, which apparently with raptors takes quite a bit of gunfire.

2.Skeleton Man Okay - this one isn't a monster movie. But it's so incredibly bad that it had to earn a place of honor in this list.

During an ancient Indian ritual, one of their own goes crazy, killing everyone in their tribe. Brought back to life after researchers dug up their burial site, Cottonmouth Joe (AKA the Skeleton Man) begins a killing spree. After slaughtering two special ops in training, a full crew is sent in to figure out what's going on and to put a stop to it.

The Skeleton Man is a guy on horseback, wearing a garbage bag parka and a store-bought haloween mask. The highly trained Delta team sent to deal with The Skeleton Man is comprised of more tanktop-clad women than men, and The Skeleton Man kills them off easily. At one point he even takes down a helicopter with a bow and arrow. It's like they tried to remake Predator, and failed. Very little in this movie makes sense. It hurts to watch.

Mansquito1. Mansquito The winner of this little bottom ten list is the name that immediately pops into everyone's mind when they hear "bad scifi channel movie". Mansquito! Possibly an even worse name than Frankenfish and Man-Thing, Mansquito will long hold an abhored place in B-movie history.

An insect-borne plague more devastating than West Nile virus is sweeping the globe. In the race for a cure, unscrupulous researchers plan to run secret tests on a violent prisoner. Suddenly, the prisoner slips his handcuffs, breaks into the lab, and takes a scientist hostage. Guards fire a hail of bullets at the escapee, piercing a chamber containing millions of genetically altered bugs that swarm the prisoner. The gruesome result? Mansquito!

I don't need to tell you that the movie primarily involves the monster sneaking up on and killing people, then brutalizing the ubiquitous SWAT team that gets called in. Spoiler alert: At the end, in a valiant attempt to imitate Arnold's witty one-liners, our hero calls out "Hey, Mansquito!" before launching a missile into the creature. How snarky.

There are many other SciFi Original monster movies, including Bugs, Hammerhead, Deadly Swarm, Larva, Mammoth, Minotaur, Dog Soldiers, Locusts:The 8th Plague, Sabretooth, Snakehead Terror, and the upcoming Supergator. But I haven't seen many. In fact, I haven't seen most of them on the bottom ten list. But I've read enough to know that I've seen enough. And I found out the SciFi Channel's secret formula for these movies.

The movie must be 88 minutes long, and the creature has to show up within the first 15 minutes. There must be a death every eight minutes, and the movie must be set in seven segments, which means you get six spine-tingling cliffhangers and a finale. Woot. At this point, I'm not expecting much out of the SciFi Channel other than a third season of Battlestar Galactica in October, its spinoff Caprica, and Who Wants to be a Superhero?.

Comments on Bottom Ten SciFi Channel Original Movies
 
Comment Thursday, May 11th 2006 by Glennopoly
I have a friend who's younger brother had a scene playing a marine in that movie 'Boa vs. Python'... so his acting career should be taking off any day now. I think Coolio was supposed to get his part, but he was shooting another movie at the time - I think it was called, like 'Staplegun vs. Mars' or something. Now that's a catchy title.
 
Comment Friday, May 12th 2006 by tagger
When Sci-Fi first went on the air, they were showing reruns of TV shows going back to the mid-1950s. Some were quite good, but it was clear that the re-run approach could last only so long.

Then, they picked up some series stuff from other networks, which they proceeded to run into the ground. Sliders and The (New) Outer Limits are examples of that. Stargate SG1 contiunes to limp along without Richard Dean Anderson and Don Davis, but only because the remainder of the original cast was brought back. The scripts are putrid.

What I absolutely can NOT figure out is their current programming--four back-to-back hours of . . . Law & Order SVU (?!), a soap opera every weekday morning at 8 AM--what the hell is THAT?--and movies that aren't even remotely SF.

Original programming is a good idea, but with all the really good SF out there, written by real SF writers, what do they make? BAD films of stuff written by a committee of TV hacks or writers no one ever heard of.

I don't get it.
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