Let’s Talk About Monster Island (dir by Mark Atkins)


Oh hell yeah, the Asylum strikes again!  And this time, it’s all about Kaiju, helicopters, and Eric Roberts!

Listen, folks, if you don’t get automatically excited when you see the words “Kaiju,” “helicopters,” and “Eric Roberts” all in the same sentence, I don’t know what to tell.  Obviously, you’re not the audience that this film was made for.  This is a film for people who enjoy monster mayhem, things exploding, and helicopters.  Seriously, it’s not an Asylum film without a helicopter.

Admittedly, Eric Roberts’s role is actually pretty small.  He plays Admiral Butler and he’s got an entire fleet of warships at his disposal.  You’d think that would be just what you would want when dealing with a bunch of recently awakened ancient monsters but it turns out that  the Admiral is pretty stubborn.  He’s better at shouting into telephones than understanding the logic behind Kaiju.  And if you’re saying to yourself, “Would we really want Eric Roberts to be in charge of the U.S. Navy?,” you are again missing the point.  Asylum films, like this one, create their own parallel universe.  It’s a universe where monsters live, sea creatures can take down helicopters, and, of course, Eric Roberts is going to be in charge of a battleship.

The main character is Billy Ford (Adrian Bouchet, giving a cheerfully flamboyant performance), a billionaire who operates out of a beach house and whose underwater sea mining operation may be responsible for awakening the fearsome Tengu.  (Tengu looks kind of like a giant starfish and has molten magma for blood.)  Billy has two people working in the basement of his beach house.  Cherise (Donna Cormack Thompson) has been working with him forever.  Riley (Chris Fisher, giving a nicely neurotic performance) is such a recent hire that Billy still calls him “James.”  When it becomes apparent that something has awakened at the bottom of the ocean, Billy, Cherise, and Riley head underwater to investigate.

Coming along with them is Sarah Murray (Natalie Robbie), who works for the government and who is an expert in geomythology.  Geomythology is the study of alleged references to actual geological events in mythology.  Geomythology is a real thing and, after having watched this movie, I kind of wish that I had at least minored in it.  At one point, Sarah has to go to her former Geomythology professor (Margot Wood) for advice on how to stop Tengu from destroying the world and it turns out the professor lives in this huge cabin.  There’s money to made in keeping track of the world’s Kaiju.

Anyway, needless to say, once Tengu is awakened, it’s pretty much determined to end the world.  This movie, as you can probably guess from the title, pays homage to the Japanese monster movies of old.  When flying, fire-breathing monsters start hatching from eggs and attacking the world, their battle shrieks will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen a movie featuring Godzilla, Mothra, or Rodan.  When the film reaches the point of two giant monsters fighting each other while a bunch of human beings watch on, it’s impossible not to be reminded of Godzilla fighting King Kong.  It’s all in good fun, a monster movie made by people who loves monster movies for people who love monster movies.

Monster Island is a film to watch and to enjoy for the mayhem and the destruction.  Watch it to enjoy Eric Roberts bragging about the Navy’s new “sonar weapon.”  Watch it for the scene where one person makes the mistake of taunting one of the monsters.  (Piece of advice: Don’t ever yell “Come on!” at a create that can breathe fire.)  Watch it for giant starfish rising out of the ocean and the crashing helicopters.  Get a group of your friends together and enjoy the movie because the Asylum is back and so are the monsters and the helicopters!

Monster Island aired on the SyFy Network last night and it’ll probably air again.  Keep an eye out!

2018 In Review: The Best of SyFy


Continuing my look back at the best of 2018, it is now time to reveal my picks for the best SyFy movies and performances of the previous year!

But before I do that, a plea to the SyFy Network.  If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because I make this plea every year and it never does any good.  It probably won’t do any good this year.  But still, I’m going to make it.  SyFy, give us more original films!  From a business point of view, I can understand why SyFy shifted their focus from movies to episodic television.  But I’m not a business person!  I’m a movie lover, one who has wonderful memories of when every weekend would bring another gloriously over-the-top SyFy movie.  Those were wonderful days and it’s sad that the only time that I get to relive them is either during Shark Week or during October.

(Of course, with the Sharknado franchise ending last year, is there even going to be a Shark Week in 2019?)

Seriously, SyFy — give us more original movies!

With that in mind, allow me to say that SyFy’s 2018 films were some of the best that they’ve ever aired.  It’s unfortunate that there weren’t more of them but the ones that they did show were excellent.  It was not easy to narrow down my picks this year but I’ve done it.  And here they are:

(All credits are based on what’s listed at the imdb.  If anyone has been incorrectly credited or left out, please leave a comment and I will correct the mistake.)

Best Picture — The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (produced by Paul Bales, Jarrett Furst , David L. Garber, Andrew Golov, David Michael Latt, Bogdan Moncea, Tara Reid, David Rimawi, Justin Smith, Josh Van Houdt, Ian Ziering)

The Sharknado franchise ended with everything you could possibly want: flying sharks, bad puns, meta humor, and finally a heart-warming speech from Finn that not only saluted those who worked on the films but those of us who watched as well.  After years of defining SyFy for many people, the Sharknado franchise concluded on the perfect note.

Best Director — Anthony C. Ferrante for The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time

Anthony C. Ferrante has been with the franchise since the beginning and he brought it to an end with style.

Best Actor — Reid Miller in Santa Jaws

Playing an aspiring comic book artist who brings to life a shark that’s full of Christmas spirit, Reid Miller gave a likable performance that achieved just the right balance between comedy and terror.

Best Actress — Jearnest Corchado in Cucuy: The Boogeyman

Jeanest Corchado did a great job grounding this Halloween in film in reality (or as close to reality as you’re going to get in a SyFy film).

Best Supporting Actor — Varun Saranga in Killer High

If you’re high school reunion is ever attacked by hellish monsters, you’re going to want a friend like Varun Saranga’s Ronnie at your side.  Or maybe not….

Best Supporting Actress — Alyson Hannigan in You Might Be The Killer

If you ever find yourself surrounded by a bunch of dead bodies at a summer camp, Alyson Hannigan is exactly the friend that you want giving you advice.  Or maybe not….

Best Screenplay — Jesse Mittelstadt for No Escape Room

With its clever script and ominous feeling of impending doom, No Escape Room was my favorite of SyFy’s Halloween films.  Seriously, it was creepy as Hell.

Best Cinematography — 6-Headed Shark Attack (Mark Atkins)

Paradise is a paradise, even with a multi-headed shark eating everyone in sight.

Best Costumes — The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (costumes by Oana Draghici)

The best thing about time travel is getting to see what everyone’s wearing.

Best Editing — Santa Jaws (Eva K. Morgan and Misty Talley)

If the Sharkando films really are finished with, I certainly wouldn’t mind another five or so films about Santa Jaws.

Best Makeup — The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (Petcu Alina, Alexandra Barladeanu, Devin Bianchini, Jeremy Bramer, Roxana Cardas, Denise M. Chavez, Bee Cruz, George Doroftei, Brianna Farfel , Adelina Handuri, Caitlin Krenz, Andreescu Maria, Tracy Rosen, Victoria Rowe)

Again, the best thing about time travel is getting to see what everyone looked like.

Best Score — You Might Be The Killer (Andrew Morgan Smith)

Smith’s score created the perfect mood and atmosphere for this homage to the horror films of the past.

Best Production Design — No Escape Room (Shane Boucher and Garrett Dunbar)

Seriously, this film was creepy as Hell.

Best Sound — No Escape Room (Bryson Cassidy, Joseph Facciuolo, Danielle McBride, Lucas Roveda, Laszlo Szijarto, Julie Zhu)

Again, creepy as hell.

Best Visual Effects — Nightmare Shark (Adam Clark and Gretchen McNelis)

When you give your film a title like Nightmare Shark, you’re obviously making a bold statement.  Fortunately, the visual effects were able to live up to the title.

And that’s it for the best in SyFy!  I really hope that SyFy will continue to air original movies so I’ll be able to do another one of these lists next year.

(For my previous picks, click on the links: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017)

Up next: dinner!  And then, after that, I’ll post my favorite novels of 2018.

Lisa Looks Back at 2018:

  1. The 10 Worst Films of 2018
  2. The Best of Lifetime

 

 

4 Shots From 4 Beach Horror Films: The Horror of Party Beach, The Beach Girls and the Monster, Blood Beach, Sand Sharks


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today, we celebrate horror on the beach with….

4 Shots From 4 Beach Horror Films

The Horror of Party Beach (1964, dir by Del Tenney)

The Beach Girls and the Monster (1966, dir by Jon Hall)

Blood Beach (1981, dir by Jeffrey Bloom)

Sand Sharks (2011, dir by Mark Atkins)

 

Let’s Talk About 6-Headed Shark Attack (dir by Mark Atkins)


Right now, we’re in the middle of SyFy’s Sharknado week. On Sunday night, SyFy will premiering what they say is going to be The Last Sharknado. In the days leading up to that moment, they’ve been reshowing all of their classic shark films and premiering a new shark film each night!

Saturday night’s premiere was 6-Headed Shark Attack!

“Oh, Hell yeah!” I shouted when I first saw the title of this movie.  So much attention has been paid to The Asylum’s Sharknado franchise that people tend to overlook that the Asylum has another equally entertaining franchise, the multi-headed shark franchise.

Starting with 2-Headed Shark Attack in 2012, the Asylum has steadily been increasing the number of heads on its sharks.  Indeed, one of the pleasures of these multi-headed shark films has been trying to guess just how exactly all of those shark heads would fit on just one shark body.  With last year’s 5-Headed Shark Attack, we ended up with a shark who had four heads at the front and, rather awkwardly, one head on its tail.  The shark in 6-Headed Shark Attack is shaped by like a starfish and is perhaps the most impressive multi-headed shark yet.

What was it that made the 6-headed shark so impressive?  Well, have you ever seen a shark crawl out of the ocean and chase someone across a beach?  Watch 6-Headed Shark Attack and you will!  By using two of its heads as legs, the shark could move pretty quickly across sand.  As a result, the timeless advice of “Don’t go in the water” isn’t going to help you out when it comes to the 6-headed shark!

Another great thing about the 6-headed shark is that it had super healing powers!  For instance, if it lost one head, another head would eventually pop up in its place.  In perhaps one of the greatest scenes ever to be found in an Asylum shark film, the 6-headed shark actually ripped off one of its own heads and threw it at someone!  Not even Jaws could do that!

Whereas previous multi-headed shark films pretty much ignored the question of just how a shark ended up with multiple heads, 6-Headed Shark Attack actually does provide a bit of an origin for its title character.  It was created as the result of a military research lab that was located on a remote island.  The lab has long since been abandoned but the 6-headed shark is still out there.  Unfortunately, the island is currently being used for couples therapy, which is being led by Will (Brandon Auret).  Even once the 6-headed shark shows up, Will remains determined to bring everyone together and help them achieve their full potential.  There’s something oddly touching about Will’s effort to do his job, even when there’s a shark throwing one of its heads at his clients.

I liked 6-Headed Shark Attack.  This is one of those films that works because it delivers exactly what it promised.  The title declares that we’re going to get a 6-Headed Shark Attack and that’s what we get!  If you can’t enjoy the sight of a shark with 6 heads chasing people across the beach, I worry about you.

Cleaning Out The DVR: Empire of the Sharks (dir by Mark Atkins)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 178 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on February 1st, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Empire of the Sharks, off of SyFy on August 5th, 2017!)

Welcome to the future!  It’s very wet.

That’s to be expected, of course.  In fact, now that 98% of the world is underwater, we should probably be surprised that the future isn’t more wet than it actually is.  What survives of humanity now lives on floating, makeshift communities.  Some of them are doing better than others, of course.

A warlord floats out there.  His name is Ian Fien (John Savage).  With the help of his main henchman, Mason Scrimm (Jonathan Pienaar), Fien has several communities under his grip.  Everyone is required to pay Fien his tribute.  Failing to do so means getting attacked by the sharks that Scrimm has under his control.

(Once 98% of your planet is underwater, you learn not to laugh at the possibility of being eaten by a shark.)

However, Fien has finally gone too far.  He’s kidnapped Willow (Ashley de Lange), the daughter of a shark caller who may have inherited her family’s ability to control the sharks.  Her boyfriend, Timor (Jack Armstrong), sets out to rescue Willow but it quickly turns out that he’s not going to be able to do it alone.  Fien is simply too powerful and his fortress too well-defended by both men and sharks.  Timor is going to have to travel to a floating bar and recruit a team of misfits to help him both rescue Willow and free his people from Fien’s tyranny.

If the plot of Empire of the Sharks sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a prequel to 2016’s Planet of the Sharks.  It’s also an Asylum film.  Of course, The Asylum is best-known for the Sharknado franchise but I think that, if they don’t also develop a Planet of the Sharks franchise, they’ll be missing out on a huge opportunity.  One of the things that I liked about both Planet and Empire was the amount of effort that was put into creating the future.  Each floating community is its own little world and full of details that will reward sharp-eyed viewers.

(I know that some people online complained that everyone looked too good, considering that they were living in a post-apocalypse wasteland.  That may be true but here’s something to consider.  Do you really want to spend 90 minutes watching ugly people?)

Anyway, I enjoyed Empire of the Sharks.  The movie is pure fun.  (Just the fact that the main villains are named Fein and Scrimm should tell you a lot about the film’s sense of humor.)  It’s a cheerfully crazy movie, featuring CGI sharks and a nicely demented performance from John Savage.  Hopefully, during this year’s shark week, we’ll get a third installment in the Planet of the Sharks franchise.

 

2016 In Review: The Best of SyFy


Well, here we are!  We have reached the end of the first week of January, 2017 and that means that it is time for me to start listing my favorite movies, books, songs, and TV shows of the previous year!  Let’s start things off by taking a look at the best that the SyFy network had to offer in 2016!

Below, you will find my nominees for the best SyFy films and performances of the previous year.  The winners are listed in bold and starred.  As you’ll quickly notice, it was a good year for films about zombies, spiders, and sharks!

(Please note: When it comes to determining the nominees, I have used the credits for each film as listed on the Internet Movie Database.  If anyone feels that they have been miscredited, feel free to let me know and I’ll correct the mistake.  Thanks!)

nightbeforehalloween4

Best Picture

2 Lava 2 Lantula, produced by Neil Elman, Anthony Frankhauser, Lisa M. Hansen, Paul Hertzber

Atomic Shark, produced by Tanya Bellamy, Diane Boone, Matt Chiasson, Angela Meredith Furst, Griff Furst, Stephen Furst, M. Juan Gonzalez, Ross Herbert, Howie Klein, Som Kohanzadeh, Yoram Kohanzadeh, Isiah LaBorde, Kevin Lamb, Daniel March, Will Matherne, David Poughatsch, Lee C. Rogers, Miguel Sandoval, Arthur Scanlan, Ben Yimlimai

Dead 7, produced by Paul Bales, Nick Carter, David L. Garber, David Michael Latt, David Rimawi, Micho Rutare, Dylan Vox

Isle of the Dead, produced by Paul Bales, Lauren Elizabeth Hood, David Michael Latt, David Rimawi

*The Night Before Halloween, produced by Blake Corbet, Priscilla Galvez, Christina O’Shea-Daly, Marek Povisal, Lance Samuels, Mary Anne Waterhouse

Ozark Sharks, produced by Kenneth M. Badish, Sam Claitor, Eric Davies, Daniel Lewis, Jordan Lewis, Pierre-Andre Rochat, Tommy Talley

Best Director

Nick Lyons for Isle of the Dead

Nick Simon for 2 Lava 2 Lantula

Misty Talley for Ozark Sharks

*Sheldon Wilson for The Night Before Halloween

nick-carter

Best Actor

*Nick Carter in Dead 7

Steve Guttenberg in 2 Lava 2 Lantula

Justin Kelly in The Night Before Halloween

Michael Papajohn in Ozark Sharks

bailee

Best Actress

Jessica Blackmore in Dam Sharks

Laura Cayouette in Ozark Sharks

*Bailee Madison in The Night Before Halloween

Maryse Mizanin in Isle of the Dead

dc

Best Supporting Actor

Raymond J. Barry in Day of Reckoning

*D.C. Douglas in Isle of the Dead

Alex Harrouch in The Night Before Halloween

Thomas Francis Murphy in Ozark Sharks

ozark_sharks_2016_13_molly_woolf

Best Supporting Actress

*Allisyn Ashley Arm in Ozark Sharks

Barbara Crampton in Day of Reckoning

Kristina Hughes in Stakeland 2: The Stakelander

Kiana Madiera in The Night Before Halloween

2-lava-2-lantula

Best Screenplay

*2 Lava 2 Lantula, Neil Elman, Ashley O’Neil

Isle of the DeadJacob Cooney, Brandon Trenz

The Night Before HalloweenSheldon Wilson

Ozark Sharks, Marcy Holland, Greg Mitchell

Best Cinematography

Atomic Shark, Don E. FauntLeRoy

*The Night Before Halloween, Daniel Grant

Planet of the Sharks, Mark Atkins

Stakeland 2: The Stakelander, Matt Mitchell

Best Costumes

*Dead 7Sarah Sharp

Isle of the Dead, Cailan Calandro

Planet of the Sharks, Mary-Sue Morris

Stakeland 2: The Stakelander, Brenda Shenher

ozark-sharks

Best Editing

Atomic Shark, Stephen Pfeil

Isle of the Dead, Rob Pallatina

The Night Before Halloween

*Ozark SharksMisty Talley

Best Makeup

The Crooked Man, Laurie Hallack, Laura Morton, Hannah Schenck, Eric S. Wilson

*Isle of the Dead, Leslie Burdick, Dennis M. Chavez, Michael Robert Cypher, Lleva Radina

Sharknado 4Krystal Bagorio, Stacy Bisel, Haley Coats, Rebeca Ovadia, Magali Serrano, Melissa K. Webb

Stakeland 2: The Stakelander, Raven Dee, Jill Demaer, Lindi Edge, Pete Gerner, Nina McArthur, Brian Spears, Krista Stevenson

Best Score

*Dead 7Drew Lerdal, Bryan Shackle

Isle of the Dead, Chris Cano, Chris Ridenhour

Ozark SharksAndrew Morgan Smith

Sharknado 4Christopher Cano, Chris Ridenhour

getimage

Best Production Design

2 Lava 2 Lantula, Yana Veselova, Megan Sunzeri

Dead 7, Caitlin Langen, Mikki Mamaril

*Isle of the Dead, Kalise Wallace, Taylor Jean

Sharknado 4Kalise Wallace

Best Sound

Atomic Shark

Isle of the Dead

The Night Before Halloween

*Sharknado 4

2lava-2lantula

Best Visual Effects

Atomic Shark

*2 Lava 2 Lantula

The Night Before Halloween

Shadows of the Dead

 

Congratulations to all the nominees!  Thank you for keeping us entertained in 2016!

Want to see my picks for last year?  Click here!

Click here for my picks from 2014!

And here for my picks from 2013!

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the best from Lifetime!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016

 

Let’s Talk About Planet of the Sharks


planet-of-the-sharks-2016

Yesterday, I watched the latest SyFy shark movie premiere — Planet of the Sharks!

As if there was any doubt, Planet of the Sharks is an Asylum movie.  And let’s give the Asylum some credit.  They know how to title their movies.  When I saw that this movie was called Planet of the Sharks, I immediately thought of Planet of the Apes.  I went into this movie expecting that it would feature speaking sharks and maybe a stranded astronaut shouting out, “Take your damn fins off of me, you damn dirty sharks!”

Well, needless to say, that doesn’t happen in Planet of the Sharks.  The sharks don’t speak, though they have apparently figured out how to leap out of the water and fly through the air.  And though there are a few stranded people, none of them are astronauts.  In fact, the only thing that Planet of the Sharks has in common with Planet of the Apes is a shot of the Statue of the Liberty.

But that’s okay!  What’s important is that seeing a title like Planet of the Sharks got me excited.  I was really looking forward to watching the movie and that enthusiasm carried me over some potentially rough moments.  It’s a brilliant title and The Asylum deserves all the credit in the world for coming up with it.

As for the film itself, it takes place in the future.  Apparently, humanity never did anything about all of that climate chance because the entire world has been flooded.  The Statue of Liberty is now underwater!  The few humans that are still alive live in crude floating cities, places that have names like Junk City and Sanctuary.

Speaking of Junk City, when the film begins, it’s in the process of being destroyed by a group of sharks.  That’s right — in a world where there’s too much water, the entire world becomes a shark feeding ground.  Add to that, it appears that all the plankton have died off.  The sharks have no choice but to eat human beings.

(And, quite frankly, it’s hard to blame the sharks.  When the people of Sanctuary gather to slaughter a group of sharks, they do it with so much savagery that you can’t help but sympathize with the sharks.  Importantly, it should be noted that this seemed to be what the movie was going for.)

Fortunately, there is hope!  A group of scientists think that if they can power up a transmitter and send a rocket into space, they’ll be able to change weather patterns.  (Or something like that.  To be honest, I had a hard time following their plan but what’s important is that it’s what they need to do to lower the sea levels and save the world.)  But in order to launch the rocket and power up the transmitter and do everything else, they’re going to have to avoid being eaten by rampaging sharks…

Planet of the Sharks was a little bit talky for an Asylum film.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The film deserves some credit for trying to explain the science behind what was going on and for attempting to give the characters some sort of motivation beyond “Let’s blow up a bunch of sharks.”  Those looking for nonstop action may be a little bit disappointed.

But, no matter!  I liked Planet of the Sharks.  I appreciated the fact that it tried to make its dystopian future plausible and you could tell that the filmmakers had actually given some thought to the story.  It was actually kind of interesting to see the savage and sometimes odd culture that had risen up to replace the old world.  (The floating town of Sanctuary was especially memorable and disturbing.)

So, no, Planet of the Sharks did not feature talking sharks.  But it was still an enjoyable SyFy film.