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 Lisa and the Snarkalecs Watched Last Night #92: Scarecrow (dir by Sheldon Wilson)


Last night, the Snarkalecs and I watched the SyFy original horror film, Scarecrow.

Why Were We Watching It?

For the first time in several months, SyFy was actually showing an original film on Saturday night (as opposed to episodes of Sinbad).  Since the Snarkalecs have sworn to protest SyFy’s decision to make Thursday movie night, we were naturally very happy to have a movie premiering where we felt it belonged.  Needless to say, there was no way that we weren’t going to watch Scarecrow and tweet the hell out of it, if just to let SyFy know that there is an audience for original movies on Saturday.

What Was It About?

A high school teacher takes the Saturday morning detention crew out to a deserted farm so that they can perform a community service by taking apart an old scarecrow and transporting it back to town.  However, the scarecrow has other ideas…

What Worked?

Overall, Scarecrow was a surprisingly effective little horror film.  The filmmakers didn’t attempt to reinvent the genre but that’s okay.  They may have told a familiar story but the important thing is that they told the story well.  In the best SyFy tradition, Scarecrow moves quickly and is a lot of fun to watch with a group of friends.

As I watched Scarecrow, I quickly came to realize that the filmmakers understood something very important.  Farms — especially deserted farms that sit abandoned out of the middle of nowhere — are inherently creepy.  When I was little, my family lived near (and occasionally on) several farms and, as my sisters delight in reminding me, I would get scared anytime we walked or drove by a barn.  Can you blame me?  Barns, after all, were big, dark buildings that were maintained by taciturn, unsmiling men.  Anything could be living inside of a barn, just waiting to reach out and grab a little redheaded girl as she tried to walk by.  (Not to mention that barns were full of hay and dust and were not the best place for a girl with severe asthma to be near.)  The barns in Scarecrow were just as creepy as the ones from my childhood and they contributed nicely to the film’s horrific atmosphere.

The Scarecrow, itself, was a surprisingly effective monster.  Considering the film’s limited budget, the Scarecrow was scary and, even more importantly, believable.  He was the type of monster who could have easily popped out of one of my many farm-related nightmares.

What Did Not Work?

This was another one of those horror films in which one of the major characters was essentially responsible for getting almost the entire cast killed off.  And yet, nobody ever said, “Hmmm…y’know, that person really screwed things up…”  Seriously, if we don’t start to hold people accountable then what hope do we ever have of stopping scarecrows from committing mass murder?

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Whenever I watch a movie like this, where a group of people end up getting killed largely as a result of their own stupidity, I realize that I probably would not survive a horror movie.  Seriously, if I was ever confronted by an axe-wielding maniac, I would so be the type of girl that everyone makes fun of whenever they watch a horror movie.  I would be the girl who would end up trying to escape by running up a flight of stairs.  In the case of Scarecrow, I guess I would the one who would end up running off into the cornfield by herself.

I also appreciated the scene where two future victims start making out on the school bus.  It brought back a lot of memories because, as fun as it was to go to speech and drama tournaments and on field trips, you still had to find some way to pass the time on the bus.

Lessons Learned

Farms are creepy!

Scarecrow