What Horror Lisa And The Snarkalecs Watched Last Night #156: The Crooked Man (dir by Jesse Holland)


Last night, my friends, the Snarkalecs, and I watched the latest SyFy original film, The Crooked Man!

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Why Were We Watching It?

Gawdamn, y’all (as we tend to say down here in Texas), do you remember how much fun it used to be when SyFy would premiere a different movie every Saturday night?  Back when I first started regularly watching SyFy and live tweeting with the Snarkalecs, SyFy was all about original movies.

Sadly, things have changed.  Now, we only get SyFy original movies twice during the year.  Once is during the week leading up to the latest Sharknado film.  The other time is October, when SyFy does its 31 Days of Horror.

Since the Snarkalecs are still trying to change SyFy’s policy towards original movies, we make it a point to watch every single one of them.  We also make it a point to tweet about the movies, the hope being that someone at SyFy will see that there is an audience for original movies.

That’s what we were doing last night as we watched The Crooked Man.

What Was It About?

Olivia (Angelique Rivera) gets all of her friends killed but isn’t ever really held responsible because she’s the main character in the film.

Okay, there’s actually a little more to it than that.  The Crooked Man is a hybrid of The Ring, It Follows, Candyman, Slenderman, The Nun, and … well, just about every other horror film made over the past 16 years.  It starts with a slumber party, where a group of 12 year-old girls make the mistake of listening to a song online.  The song, it’s said, will summon the Crooked Man.

Later, the slumber party is interrupted when all the lights go out.  Fortunately, there’s also a pizza delivery guy at the party and he knows how to turn the lights back on.  Well, that’s good.  However, there is yet another interruption when one of the girls, Jill, is found dead at the foot of the stairs.  Standing over her is Olivia.  Though Olivia has a knife in her hands, she swears that she didn’t kill Jill.  It was … THE CROOKED MAN!

Olivia is sent to a mental asylum for six years.  When she’s released, she returns home.  The problem is that nobody in the town wants her to come home.  And actually, they have a point because, as soon as Olivia returns, The Crooked Man starts killing everyone who was at that slumber party.

EVEN THE PIZZA GUY!

What Worked?

I will be the first to admit that most of my tweets were pretty critical last night but there were a few effectively creepy moments in The Crooked Man.  The Crooked Man himself was scary.

The Voice‘s Dia Frampton showed up to sing a song and then promptly got killed.  That definitely provided the film with a nice WTF moment.

What Did Not Work?

Okay — so the Crooked Man can only get you when you’re in the dark, right?  SO WHY DOES EVERYONE IN THE FILM KEEP TURNING OFF ALL THE LIGHTS!?  Seriously, nobody seemed to appreciate that there was a really easy solution to most of their problems…

(Actually, in all fairness, The Crooked Man had the power to kill all the electricity and plunge people into darkness.  But still, it did seem like the characters often never even considered trying to turn on all the lights.  I would have at least liked to have seen some sort of effort.)

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments

I related to the character of Violet.  Violet was at the slumber party and therefore, she was on Crooked Man’s kill list.  And Violet put the blame right where it belonged.  On Olivia!

Seriously, Olivia, way to get all your friends killed.

Lessons Learned

If a monster can only exist in the dark, turn on the damn lights!

Let’s Talk About Roboshark!


In case you missed it, it is currently Shark Week on the SyFy network.  (Or, as the Snarkalecs and I like to call it, Snark Week!)  Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No will be premiering this Wednesday and, in honor of that historic event, SyFy has devoted this week to broadcasting some of their trademark original movies.  Along with showing such classics as Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Shark Week, Two-Headed Shark Attack, and Ghost Shark, SyFy is also premiering 6 new shark films.

Roboshark, the first of these premieres, was aired on Saturday night.  Now, obviously, there was no way that I would be able to resist watching a film with a title like Roboshark.

 Roboshark, like many great SyFy films, opens with something falling out of the sky and landing in the ocean.  A chunk of UFO plunges into the water and is promptly eaten by a normal, every day shark.  Soon, that shark is transformed into … ROBOSHARK!  With its fins glowing red and a twitter account of his very own, Roboshark attacks Seattle.

That’s right!  Roboshark destroys a Starbucks, eats hipsters, and eventually takes out an eccentric billionaire named Bill Glates (Steve Sires) and it’s all a lot of fun to watch.  And before everyone decides to leave a snarky comment pointing out my typo, allow me to assure you that the character was indeed named Bill Glates.  However, he looked and sounded just like Bill Gates and, seeing as how Windows 8.1 has had 40 updates this month alone, there was something undeniably satisfying about seeing him get eaten by a roboshark.

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As often happens in SyFy film, Roboshark isn’t really bad.  He’s just misunderstood.  He uses his twitter account to communicate with Melody (Vanessa Grasse), the daughter of Trish (Alexis Peterman), the local “wacky weathergirl” who is looking to prove herself as a serious journalist by covering the roboshark attack.  Unfortunately, Trish continually finds herself overshadowed by her rival reporter, Veronica (Laura Dale, giving a nicely comedic performance).

Meanwhile, Trish’s husband, Rick (Matt Rippy), has been half-recruited and half-kidnapped by Admiral Black (brilliant Nigel Barber), who is determined to save the world from Roboshark, even if he has to destroy the Seattle Space Needle to do it.  (“But the Space Needle is the symbol of Seattle!” Rick protests.)  Admiral Black is addicted to energy drinks and seems to be having a lot of fun being the craziest guy in the room.  His character was a lot of fun.

Actually, the whole film is a lot of fun.  Roboshark is a great example of everything that we love about SyFY films.  It was a deliberately over-the-top film full of inside jokes and a really cool monster.  And I’m not just saying that because Roboshark retweeted me several times on Saturday night.

(Though he totally did!  Love you, Roboshark!)

Roboshark is the type of film that must be watched with a large group of people looking to have a good (and silly) time.  It’s the type of film that literally begged to be live tweeted and, needless to say, that’s exactly what a lot of us did.  Here are just a few tweets from the epic Roboshark live tweet:

If you missed Roboshark the first time, keep an eye out for it!  It’s everything we love about SyFy shark movies!

We love you, Roboshark!

We love you, Roboshark!

 

What Horror Lisa and the Snarkalecs Watched Last Night #106: Finders Keepers (dir by Alexander Yellen)


Last night, the Snarkalecs and I watched the latest SyFy original film, Finders Keepers!

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Why Was I Watching It?

I had been watching Big Driver over on Lifetime but that film proved to be unusually disturbing and I really wasn’t in the right mood to deal with it.  Sometimes, you need to just be entertained and SyFy original movies are always entertaining!  So, after watching an hour of Big Driver, I turned over to SyFy and watched Finders Keepers.

What Was It About?

Recently divorced writer Alyson Smith (Jaime Pressly) moves into a nice, old house with her daughter, Claire (Kylie Rogers).  At first the house seems ideal but soon, cracks start to appear on this perfect fantasy of home ownership.  Claire starts to act strangely.  A crazy old cat lady (Marina Sirtis) keeps coming by the house.  Alyson does some research and discovers that the reason the house was empty was because, years before, it was the scene of a brutal mass murder.  And, of course, Claire finds a creepy doll in her bedroom and becomes extremely attached to it.

Soon, everyone who knows Alyson and her ex-husband (Patrick Muldoon) is turning up dead.  Could it be that the doll is evil or could it all be a coincidence?

Actually, there’s really no question.  That is one messed up doll…

What Worked?

SyFy hasn’t been showing as many original movies this year as they did last year.  Fortunately, the ones that they have shown have all been excellent and Finders Keepers keeps the streak going.  Finders Keepers is an effectively creepy horror film, featuring excellent performances from Jaime Pressly and Patrick Muldoon, atmospheric direction from Alexander Yellen, and a clever script from Peter Sullivan.

Incidentally, Finders Keepers probably featured one of the bigger body counts that I’ve ever seen in a SyFy film.  Nobody’s safe from that doll!

What Did Not Work?

Over the course of the film, two cats and a crazy old cat lady are killed.  As most of you know, I am about 40 years away from becoming a crazy old cat lady so that was a little bit difficult for me to deal with.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

So, beyond the crazy old cat lady and her two cats, this film also featured a vivacious, 20-something redhead who ended up being murdered by the evil doll.  And then, once the redhead and the cat lady had been dispatched, we were introduced to an incredibly efficient office administrator and guess what happened to her?  That’s right — murdered by the crazy doll.  Speaking as a vivacious and efficient redheaded office administrator and future crazy cat lady, I really have to wonder just what exactly this film had against me!

Lessons Learned

Do not let your daughter keep any creepy old voodoo dolls that she just happens to find in her bedroom.  If she won’t get rid of the voodoo doll, consider giving her up for adoption because, seriously — voodoo is nothing to mess with.

What Lisa and the Snarkalecs Watched Last Night #105: Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse (dir by W.D. Hogan)


Last night, my friends, the Snarkalecs, and I watched the latest SyFy original film, Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse!  So, was Zodiac as good as Sharknado 2, as underrated as End of the World, as overrated as Invasion Roswell, or as bad as Heebie Jeebies?  Or was it just somewhere in between?  Let’s find out!

Zodiac

Why Was I Watching It?

Why were we watching it?  Because I’m a snarkalec and that’s what we do!  We watch original films on SyFy, we tweet along, and we do our best to try to get things to trend.  My hope was that Zodiac would eventually become a trending topic on California and end up freaking out a lot of people who would naturally assume that the legendary Zodiac Killer had finally been caught.  Unfortunately, last night, we were competing with football and this is America.  Nothing beats football.

What Was It About?

Good question.  It was a SyFy movie so naturally, the world was on the verge of ending.  And somehow, the upcoming apocalypse involved the signs of the zodiac and an ancient stone that was found in a deserted mine.  There was a bad business guy named Woodward (Aaron Douglas) or maybe he was a government guy.  But, for some reason, he wanted to get the stone so he could do evil things with it.  Luckily, there were three scientists (Joel Gretsch, Andrea Brooks, and Emily Holmes) and one scientist’s son (Reilly Dolman) who were attempting to save the world.  And Christopher Lloyd was in it, playing yet another scientist who had apparently invented holograms or something like that.  There was also a guy named Marty (Ben Cotton) who was a survivalist and lived in a really spacious bunker.

And let’s see, what else happened?  Fire rained from the sky.  Raging floods soaked the Earth.  Woodward flew around in a helicopter.  The scientists spent a lot of time driving around in an SUV.  A lot of stuff happened.  How it was all related was not always easy to follow but, then again, we all know that if you’re tying to make logical sense out of a SyFy film, you’re doing it wrong.

What Worked?

You know what?  I always think that when people criticize SyFy films, they’re missing the point.  SyFy films are supposed to be silly, the special effects are supposed to be cheap, and the performances are supposed to be melodramatic.  Occasionally — like with Sharknado 2 for instance — these elements come together perfectly.  And then other times, like with Zodiac, the end results are fun for two hours and quickly forgotten about afterward.  Zodiac was no Sharknado 2 but it gave us everything that we typically want from our SyFy films, it was a fun movie to tweet along with, and it gave the viewers a few laughs.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Zodiac was a Canadian film and Canada certainly looked pretty.

What Did Not Work?

For a film that was sold as being about the signs of the apocalypse destroying the world, the greatest sign of all — Scorpio — was sadly underused.  I kept expecting a scorpion-shaped cloud to form in the sky but it never happened!  Speaking as a Scorpio, I was very let down.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

My favorite character was Sophie (Andrea Brooks), the kickass scientist who survived being buried alive in a mine, not to mention Aquarius, Capricorn, and Sagittarius!  And she did it all while rocking the traditional SyFy scientist outfit of tank top and tight jeans.  She also had great hair!  If I wasn’t already planning on being the Black Widow, I’d be Sophie for Halloween.  She was the best!

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Lessons Learned

Don’t mess with the Zodiac.

What Lisa and the Snarkalecs Watched Last Night #102: Bermuda Tentacles (dir by Nick Lyon)


Last night, the Snarkalecs and I turned over to SyFy so we could watch and live tweet the latest offering from the Asylum, Bermuda Tentacles!

Why Were We Watching It?

Because it was the first SyFy original film of 2014, that’s why!  Seriously, yesterday should have been a freaking national holiday.  (Sad to say but rumor has it that the SyFy network may be looking to phase out original films — like Bermuda Tentacles — in order to devote more time to episodic television.  I sincerely hope that the network will reconsider that plan.)

What Was It About?

The President (John Savage) has gone missing in the Bermuda Triangle.  It’s up to rebellious Chief Petty Officer Trip Oliver (Trevor Donavon) to save him!  But while Trip and his crew float around under the sea in a submarine, gigantic CGI tentacles attack Admiral Linda Hamilton and the entire U.S. Navy.  Could the two events be related?

What Worked?

What do I always say about Asylum films?  It all worked.  Asylum films are the epitome of low-budget fun and that was certainly the case here.  To be honest, those who criticize a film like Bermuda Tentacles are missing the point.

Asylum films are designed to be watched by large groups of snarky individuals.  That’s why I always look forward to watching them with the Snarkalecs.  And I have to say that we, as a group, were on fire last night!  We were all in full snark mood and it was a wonderful thing to behold.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get #BermudaTentacles trending, largely because there were thousands of tweens tweeting about fucking Ashton Irwin at the same time we were tweeting about the movie.   But still, it was a good effort and everyone should be proud.

One thing that the Snarkalecs seemed to especially appreciate about Bermuda Tentacles was just how long, by Oval Office standards, the President’s hair was.

Thank you, John Savage, for not getting a haircut!

What Did Not Work?

I have to admit that, unlike TSL editor-in-chief Arleigh Sandoc, I’m hardly an expert as far as military history or ranks are concerned.  However, it was obvious, even to me, that the Navy in Bermuda Tentacles didn’t appear to follow any sort of real-world protocol.  Quite a few people on twitter doubted that an admiral would be on a destroyer and some had issues with a scene where the President referred to Oliver as being a “soldier” as opposed to being a “sailor.”  This really wasn’t a big deal to me because, quite frankly, I hardly expect Asylum films to be documentaries.  However, judging from some of the comments on twitter, it was a big deal to quite a few people who had actually served in the Navy.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I had a harder time than usual relating to the characters in Bermuda Tentacles, largely because they were all career military whereas I majored in art history.  I was happy to see that the Admiral was a woman and that none of the men in her command had any problems with taking orders from her.  I would hope that, if I was an admiral, I would be just as effective.

Lessons Learned

There’s nothing quite as uniquely fun as watching a SyFy film with the Snarkalecs.  I’m already excited for the SyFy premiere of Big Ass Spider next Saturday.

20 Good Things That I Saw On Television in 2013


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Someday, I want to have my own tv network.  I’ll call it Lisa Marie Television (or LMTV for short) and it’ll be like Lifetime but with the Lisa Marie difference.  What’s the Lisa Marie difference?  Sweetheart, if you have to ask, you’ll never know.

Anyway, as I wait for that day to come, I’m going to continue my series of posts on my favorites of 2013 by telling you about some of the best things that I saw on television over the course of the previous year.  Here they are, in random order:

1) The series finale of Breaking Bad

Perfection.

2) The series finale of The Office

After a rough couple of seasons, The Office redeemed itself with a perfect conclusion.  How can you do any better than Jim and Pam moving to Texas?

3) Children’s Hospital on Adult Swim

Without a doubt, the funniest 15 minutes on television.

4) Burning Love on E!

E! broadcast episodes of the hilarious, Bachelor-parodying web series in 2013 and gave everyone a chance to follow Julie as she pined for Blaze and asked lucky bachelors, “Will you hold my box?”

5) SyFy Saturdays

This year, my Saturday night ritual was to gather online with the Snarkalecs and watch an original movie on SyFy.  And while all of the Normals (as we refer to the rest of the world) were going crazy over Sharknado, the Snarkalecs knew that End of the World was a hundred times better.

6) The only likable team won The Amazing Race 23

I can’t remember their names but I can remember that I liked them more than Tim & Marie, Nicole & Travis, and Leo & Jamal.

7) Bonnie and Clyde

Broadcast on three different networks and over two separate nights, Bonnie and Clyde was big, silly, over-the-top, glamorous, and full of style.  It made me want to go out and rob a bank while looking good doing it.

8) Orange is the New Black

We lost a lot of good shows in 2013 but, fortunately, we also gained a few new ones.

9) South Park satirizes Obama and Game of Thrones

I like one of those targets and dislike the other (guess which is which) but the important thing is that both of them have reached a point where they deserve to be satirized.  Not surprisingly, South Park continues to be one of the few show to have the guts to ridicule the topics that other shows are too cowardly to touch.

10) Bates Motel

Bates Motel was frequently uneven but it was always worth watching for Vera Farmiga and Max Thieriot.

11) The Space Kitten

That little space kitten that was singing Wrecking Ball at the American Music Awards?  Adorable!

12) Jimmy Kimmel

Whether he was causing Kanye West to have a meltdown or posting fake videos on YouTube, 2013 was the year of Kimmel.

13) The Talking Dead

Look, we all know that The Walking Dead is great but, for me, The Talking Dead is usually the highlight of AMC on Sunday night.  Chris Hardwick is adorable to begin with but the moment he choked up while discussing the death of Herschel confirmed that he’s not just a host.  He’s a true fan as well.

14) Miley Cyrus at the VMAs

It was tacky, it was shocking, it was disturbing, it got people talking and overreacting, and it was everything that television should be.  (That said, I would like to point out that — despite what some members of the media seem to believe — twerking existed long before Miley Cyrus decided to make it a part of her act.  I was twerking back when Miley was still Hannah Montana.)

15) That episode of Girls with Patrick Wilson

One of the best 25 minutes of television ever, and not just because Patrick Wilson is super hot.

16) The Herstory of Dance and Intro to Felt Surrogacy episodes of Community

Without the guiding vision of Dan Harmon, Community‘s fourth season was undeniably rough.  However, these two episodes reminded us that Community still had something to offer.  (That said, I’m glad Dan Harmon’s back for season 5…)

17) Colton walks off Survivor …. again

Colton Cumbie is one of the most loathsome people to ever show up on a reality TV show so it was satisfying to see him utterly fail to win Survivor not once but twice.

18) The Big Brother Blog got a new writer named Lisa Marie

This year, Bill Lage asked me to write episode recaps for the Big Brother Blog.  Of course, I said yes and, for three months, I had a lot of fun keeping people updated with what all of the loathsome people in the Big Brother house were up to.  I made a lot of new friends and I even made a persistent enemy named Maggie Long, a poor little internet troll who just couldn’t handle the fact that I encouraged my readers to “Stay supple!”  It was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing it all over again in 2014.

19) Winter Storm Cleon caused the local news people to freak out!

Yes, we did get some snow and ice down here in December.  Unlike you folks up North, those of us in Texas only see snow and ice every other year so, whenever it does show up, you can be sure that all of the local newspeople are going to panic.  That’s exactly what happened this year and it was fun to watch.

20) Degrassi!

My favorite Canadian show came back!

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Tomorrow, we take a look at ten of my favorite books of 2013.

Other Entries In TSL’s Look Back At 2013:

  1. 10 0f Lisa Marie’s Favorite Songs of 2013
  2. Lisa Marie’s 16 Worst Films of 2013
  3. Necromoonyeti’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013
  4. Things That Dork Geekus Dug In 2013
  5. Lisa Marie’s Best of 2o13 SyFy

 

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.

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