Tag Archives: B-movie

The best of Sci-Fi Channel Original Pictures

I’ve got to hand it to the Sci-Fi channel, every week they manage to crank something out to keep people like me happy, and I’m not talking about Ghost Hunters either.  (I’m such a sucker for that show)  Almost every Saturday they premiere some new B-Movie.  Most of them really suck, but that is okay, because that is part of being a B-Movie nerd.  B-Movie nerds are trapped in this kind of dysfunctional relationship, where most of the time we’re mistreated, but every now and then we get some good B-Movie love, so we keep on coming back. 


If I were going to give Sci-Fi channel a letter grade for its movie premiers, it would probably be a C.  They’ve got the ability, they’ve got the talent, they’ve got the resources, but it is like they just don’t apply themselves.   Let me try to explain…


I was thinking about this after watching their latest, Wraiths of Roanoke. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0875696/  Overall it was a typical Sci-Fi channel premiere.  It was a movie that had actual potential.  It had some good lead actors, (why isn’t Rhett Giles a famous actor yet?  Got a B-Movie that needs a Englishman?  He’s your man.   He kicks ass in like 30 B-Movies, oh wait, there’s my answer right there, it is like the Curse of Bruce Campbell) it had an interesting idea (basically what happened surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the Roanoke colony, well obviously they were killed by Viking ghosts, duh.) 


It just couldn’t manage to congeal into something cool, but it was so close.  A lot of Sci-Fi original movies are like that, almost good.  Proficient and watchable, but nothing that you’re going to watch and say “Damn!  That was awesome!”   Usually they’re a little predictable, the plots are kind of weak, and there is an over-reliance on lame CGI effects. 


Others are just horribly bad.  Painfully, awfully, terribly, brain rotting suckitude.  Usually these involve some sort of giant snake, ravenous insects, dinosaurs, or something of that nature, that inevitably eats some scientists and Lorenzo Lamas.   Basically most Sci-Fi plots read like one of those games you played as a kid where they would give you a noun or a verb, and you would have to pick something, those would fill in the blanks in some sort of story.  Then you would read the story, and it would be really absurd and funny.  (What the hell were those things called?  I’m thinking Mad Libs or something like that).


For example:  A giant ( adjective ) ( noun ) attacks a ( place ) and eats ( people ).    Starring Lorenzo Lamas and a girl from the last season of Survivor.   


Despite that, I can think of a few gems that were Sci-Fi original premieres that have risen to the top, and rank up there amongst some of my all-time favorite monster movies.  (at least I seem to remember them as Sci-Fi originals)


3.  Primal Rage http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0194543/  or as my wife and I like to call it, KILLER MONKEY ISLAND!  If you’ve ever wanted to watch B-Movie super hero Ron Perlman beat up a killer baboon in hand to hand combat, this is the movie for you.  The basic plot is that people are stuck on an island with killer genetically enhanced monkeys.  This is one of those movies that’s just so bad, that it does a complete circle and comes back around to good.  It features awesome dialog like “They went insane… with a desire to kill.”  I saw this movie like eight years ago, and to this day I’ll just randomly look at my wife, and say that line.  It probably got old to her about seven years ago, but it still makes me laugh.


2.  Frankenfish http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0384833/ the worst title, for the best mutant Snakehead fish movie ever.  And yes, there are multiple movies about mutant snakehead fish, and one of them even has Bruce Boxleitner, which Frankenfish does not.  But somehow despite its lack of Boxleitner, Frankenfish is just plain fun.  It has heart. 


It is a huge cheesefest of every bad monster movie cliché you can think of, set in swamp, on some houseboats, with mutant fish killing people in a surprisingly cool fashion.  And I even have to admit that I actually cheered when they take care of the last super fish, and keep mind, I’m pretty jaded. 


1.  Abominable http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0402743/ for the win, the finest killer Big Foot movie ever made, hands down, by far.  And I’ve watched a lot of killer Big Foot movies, most of which have B-Movie super hero Lance Henriksen in them somehow, no I kid you not, check it out.  He’s been in like 37 movies about Big Foot.


Basically Abominable is Rear Window with Big Foot.  A wheelchair bound man is at his cabin, and watches as a Big Foot stalks a bunch of cute girls in a nearby cabin.  If you’re a B-Movie geek and you haven’t seen this one, remedy that as soon as possible.  It takes a lot to make somebody like me jump and squeal like a little girl in a movie, but I honestly did. 


The Big Foot looked pretty cheesy, but he made up for it with violence.  This Big Foot had some panache.  He didn’t just kill people, he killed the HELL out of them.  If Harry and the Hendersons was a nice Big Foot, this is Harry’s psychotic little brother that liked to put firecrackers inside of frogs, and crazy stuff like that.  People get their guts stomped out, faces bitten off, and pulled at unnatural angles through some very small spaces (and you’ll know that scene when you see it, because it was an awesome effect, thanks towel!). 

On B-Movie Goodness – Review of Necroville

So what makes a good B Movie?

It certainly isn’t the awesome special effects, which usually consists of a bunch of colored corn syrup and a chainsaw with the blade removed,  or the acting, because just because your cousin will work for free, and owns his own cape (for some unknown reason), doesn’t mean he makes a convincing vampire.

Good B-movies have heart. 

So here comes my first movie review on my new blog.  Necroville.  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1105289/

It isn’t out yet.  I got to go to a special, invite-only, pre-release VIP screening.  As in, I’m buddies with the executive producer, and he brought a copy by as he passed through Salt Lake, and we ate Papa Murphy’s Chicago Style pizza with fresh smoked New Mexico chili peppers, and watched the DVD.  But I do have a relatively big TV, so it still counts.

Necroville is a cross between a slacker comedy and a monster movie.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  In a town that is infested with zombies, vampires, werewolves, and goth kids, two guys that are too inept to work at the video store end up killing pesky monsters for a living. 

Now, like I said, a good B-movie has heart, they don’t have production values.  But Necroville still managed to look really good.  Having the producer there is also nice, as you get your own personalized commentary track, like “this is why we went over budget, because they messed up my truck.”  Or  “man, that piano was really heavy.” 

Like a lot of B-movies, the acting varied greatly from person to person.  I will say this though, Billy Garberina, the lead, is actually a pretty darn good actor.   If you’re a monster movie geek like me, you’ve seen him since he’s the cameraman on Feeding the Masses.   The rest of the performances were a little more hit or miss, but once again, that’s why I love this stuff.   The lead villain hammed it up, and did an excellent job. 

Mostly, I laughed my butt off.  There are some truly great lines, funny scenes, and laugh out loud stupid moments.  Even my wife, who prefers movies staring lots of British people with accents that I can’t understand, and names like Lord Devonshire Clevon-Smythe presents Jayne Austin’s Masterpiece Theater of Great British Angst and Scones, thought it was really fun. 

Basically, Necroville has heart.  It is the kind of movie that reminds me why I love this stuff.

So when this movie reaches distribution, throw it in your Blockbuster Que.  Trust me, any movie that does something so horribly unspeakable with a twisty straw gets major bonus points.