2013 In Review: The Best of SyFy


It’s been quite a year for the SyFy network, even if the network’s most widely-seen original film, Sharknado, was actually one of their weaker offerings.  As a proud member of the Snarkalecs and a Snarkies voter, I’ve certainly enjoyed watching, reviewing, and live tweeting all of the films that SyFy and the Asylum have had to offer us this year.

Below, you’ll find my personal nominees for the best SyFy films and performances of 2013.  (Winners are listed in bold.)

End of the World

Best Film

Battledogs

Blast Vegas

*End of the World

Flying Monkeys

Ghost Shark

Zombie Night

Best Actor

Neil Grayston in End of the World

*Greg Grunberg in End of the World

Anthony Michael Hall in Zombie Night

Frankie Muniz in Blast Vegas

Corin Nemec in Robocroc

Tom Everett Scott in Independence Daysaster

Best Actress

Maggie Castle in Blast Vegas

Lacey Chabert in Scarecrow

Kaitlyn Leeb in Grave Halloween

*Maika Monroe in Flying Monkeys

Ariana Richards in Battledogs

Mackenzie Rosman in Ghost Shark

Best Supporting Actor

Barry Bostwick in Blast Vegas

William B. Davis in Stonados

Brad Dourif in End of the World

Dennis Haysbert in Battledogs

John Heard in Sharknado

*Richard Moll in Ghost Shark

Best Supporting Actress

*Shirley Jones in Zombie Night

Nicole Munoz in Scarecrow

Jill Teed in Independence Daysaster

Jackie Tuttle in Flying Monkeys

Dee Wallace in Robocroc

Kate Vernon in Battledogs

Best Director

Griff Furst for Ghost Shark

Robert Grasmere for Flying Monkeys

John Gulager for Zombie Night

W.D. Hogan for Independence Daysaster

*Steven R. Monroe for End of the World

Jack Perez for Blast Vegas

Best Screenplay

Shane Van Dyke for Battledogs

Joe D’Ambrosia for Blast Vegas

*Jason C. Bourque and David Ray for End of The World

Silvero Gouris for Flying Monkeys

Paul A. Birkett for Ghost Shark

Rick Suvalle for Scarecrow

Flying Monkeys

Best Monster

*Skippy from Flying Monkeys

The Shark from Ghost Shark

Robocroc from Robocroc

The Scarecrow from Scarecrow

The Tasmanian Devils from Tasmanian Devils

The Zombies from Zombie Night

Battledogs

Tomorrow, I will continue my look back at 2013 with my picks for the 16 worst films of 2013!

What Horror Lisa and The Snarkalecs Watched Last Night #94: Grave Halloween (dir by Stephen R. Monroe)


Last night, the Snarkalecs and I turned over to SyFy and watched an original horror film entitled Grave Halloween.

Why Were We Watching It?

It was Saturday night and that meant that it was time for another Snarkalec live tweet!  We were all pretty excited about watching and live tweeting Grave Halloween, largely because it was directed by the same guy who directed the greatest film to ever premiere on SyFy, End Of The World.

What Was It About?

A group of American exchange students in Japan go into a place known as Suicide Forest to make a movie.  Years ago, Maiko’s (Kaitlyn Leeb) mother committed suicide in the forest.  Naturally, as soon as Maiko and her friends enter the forest, they end up getting lost, having visions of the dead, and dying in various grotesque ways.  It doesn’t help that one of Maiko’s friends finds a discarded watch in the forest and decides to stick it in his pocket.  Seriously, ghosts are apparently really attached to their watches.

What Worked?

A lot of people on twitter complained that Grave Halloween moved too slowly.  I, however, didn’t find the film to be that slow.  It was definitely deliberately paced (especially when compared to some of the other films that have appeared on SyFy) but I thought that was to the film’s advantage.  The film took its time to set up its scares and shocks and the end result was a genuinely creepy horror film that rewarded the audience’s patience.

The film was set in Japan but, like most SyFy films, it was actually filmed in Vancouver.  Now, I’ve never been to Japan or Vancouver so I can’t really say whether Canada could pass for Japan.  But what I do know is that director Stephen R. Monroe got every single bit of atmosphere that he could out of the forests of British Columbia.  As filmed by Monroe and cinematographer Michael C. Blundell, the scenery is both beautiful and menacing.  By the end of the film, the forest itself feels like an individual character.

Of the cast of victims, my favorite was Brody (played by Jesse Wheeler), mostly because he looked like he could be Greg Grunberg’s younger brother.

What Did Not Work?

As I watched Grave Halloween, it quickly became apparent that the entire situation was pretty much all Maiko’s fault.  She’s the one who led her friends into Suicide Forest.  She’s the one who, even after everyone started to vanish, refused to leave.  Ultimately, she was the one who was responsible for putting her friends in a position where they could all be killed.

And yet, no one in the film seemed to be willing to acknowledge that they would have all been better off if they had never met Maiko.  Seriously, I was so waiting for someone to say, “Okay, Maiko — you go do your thing and the rest of us are going to get the fuck outta here before we end up getting ripped into little pieces, ‘kay?”

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

So, naturally, one of the girls ended up tripping while she was running through the forest.  Despite the fact that it didn’t look like that bad of a fall, she ended up with a broken bone literally poking out of her leg.

Since I’m currently recovering from a sprained ankle, you can probably imagine that this was not my favorite scene in the movie.  Instead, it made me go, “Agck!” and then hide my face in a pillow because I could relate way too much.

(That said, I’m still amazed at how fragile her bones apparently were…)

Lessons Learned

Never steal a dead man’s watch.

grave_halloween_685x385_138023298696___CC___685x385