2017 in Review: The Best of SyFy


Continuing my look back at the best of 2017, today is the day that I 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.  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.

Seriously, SyFy — give us more original movies!

With that in mind, here are my picks for the best of 2017 SyFy:

(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 PictureHouse of the Witch (produced by Neil Elman, Margaret Huddleston, Bryan Sexton)

This haunted house movie was effectively creepy and featured some unexpectedly starting imagery.  Runners-up (and it was a close race): Trailer Park Shark, Sharknado 5, and The Sandman.

Best Director — Griff Furst for Trailer Park Shark

The idea of sharks attacking a trailer park sounds like a huge joke but Furst crafted it into a compelling and entertaining story that celebrated redneck ingenuity.

Best Actor — Ian Ziering in Sharknado 5

The fifth time is the charm as Ziering gives his best performance so far as the chainsaw-wielding Finn.

Best Actress — Haylie Duff in The Sandman

Duff brings some much-needed gravity to the role of a formerly irresponsible aunt trying to save her niece from a monster made of sand.

Best Supporting Actor — Jason London in Mississippi River Sharks and Dennis Haskins in Trailer Park Shark

As much as I tried, I simply could not make a choice between London’s comedic performance (as himself) and Dennis Haskins’s villainous turn.  So, we have a tie!

Best Supporting Actress — Shae Smolik in The Sandman

As the girl being haunted by the Sandman, Smolik gave a refreshingly realistic performance.

Best Screenplay — Neil Elman for House of the Witch

This is the third year in a row that Neil Elman has won in this category.

Best Cinematography — Dane Lawing for House of the Witch

House of the Witch feature some truly haunting images.  In my review, I raved about one shot in particular, of a pickup truck driving across the desolate landscape in the middle of the night.

Best Costumes — Mary-Sue Morris for Empire of the Sharks and Kendra Terpenning for Neverknock

Another tie.  Empire of the Sharks proved that, just because the world’s ending, that doesn’t mean you can’t look good,  Neverknock’s costumes made good use of the Halloween setting, especially with Lola Flannery’s devil costume.

Best Editing — Anna Florit and Ryan Michelle for Sharknado 5

In 2017, Sharknado 5 took us on a trip around the world, offered up nonstop action, and there was never a boring moment.

Best Makeup — Madeleine Botha for Empire of the Sharks

Again, just because the world’s ending, that doesn’t mean you can’t look good.

Best Score — Andrew Morgan Smith for Trailer Park Shark

The score brought the bayou, the trailer park, and the shark to life!

Best Production Design — Anthony Stabley and Dana Rice for House of the Witch

Seriously, that house was so creepy!

Best Sound — Dylan Blount, Leandro Cassan, Jonathan Iglecias , Mitchell Kohen, Chris Polczinski, Mike Varela for House of the Witch

It wasn’t just the way the house looked in House of the Witch that made it a creepy place.  It was also the way that every sound in the background could have just been someone stumbling around or it could have been the witch about to jump out and rip off someone’s fingers.

Best Visual Effects — Craig Bassuk, Sasha Burrow, Yancy Calzada, Glenn Campbell , Yolanda Charlo Rodriguez, Aine Graham, John Karner, Tammy Klein, Mark Kochinski , Kevin Lane, Christian McIntire, James Payfer, Richard A. Payne, Paul Runyan, Chris Simmons, Scott Wheeler, Aaron Witlin,
Al Magliochetti for Sharknado 5

Keep those sharks flying!

Tomorrow, my look back at 2017 continues with my list of good things that I saw on television last year (not counting, of course, all of the good things that I just mentioned in this post).

Previous entries in the TSL’s Look Back at 2017:

  1. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Single Issues by Ryan C
  2. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Series by Ryan C
  3. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Edition (Contemporary) by Ryan C
  4. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Editions (Vintage) by Ryan C
  5. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Graphic Novels By Ryan C
  6. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I saw in 2017 by Valerie Troutman
  7. My Top 15 Albums of 2017 by Necromoonyeti
  8. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Picks For the 16 Worst Films of 2017
  9. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Final Post About Twin Peaks: The Return (for now)
  10. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2017

 

Let’s Talk About Trailer Park Shark (dir by Griff Furst)


Oh hell yeah!

Listen, if you ever find yourself being unexpectedly menaced by a shark, you’re going to want a redneck around.  Trust me on this.  I may not be one myself but I’ve grown up around rednecks and I feel a lot safer around them than I do with sensitive types from up north.  Seriously, if you’re under shark attack, who do you want protecting you?  A guy with a gun and a cooler full of beer or someone who drives a Prius?  Elon Musk may be smarter but, when it comes to sharks, Trace Adkins is going to be more helpful.

The other great thing about rednecks is that there’s nothing that they can’t do with duct tape.  Give a redneck enough duct tape and a weather satellite and I guarantee that he’ll find a way to stop climate change.  There’s a name for that: redneck ingenuity.

When I was watching Trailer Park Shark on Wednesday night, I was impressed with the amount of duct tape on display.  As the main character, a redneck played by Thomas Ian Nicholas, was using duct tape to solve yet another problem, I tweeted that I was enjoying the music playing in the background.  To me, it sounded like something that Ennio Morricone would have come up with for a spaghetti western.  It fit the scene perfectly because Trailer Park Shark is a film that make duct tape feel just as epic as the final cemetery confrontation in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.  Andrew Morgan Smith, who did excellent work on the film’s score, informed me that the musical cue was called “Redneck Ingenuity.”

That’s a perfect name because, while Trailer Park Shark is about a lot of things, it is ultimately a celebration of redneck ingenuity and the never-give-up attitude of  life in the Southern bayou.  The characters in Trailer Park Shark have a lot to deal with.  Because of a freak rains storm and some evil plotting by mean old Mr. Deconnard (Dennis Haskins), their trailer park has been flooded.  And with the flood has come a shark!  It would be easy to give up, especially when people and horses start getting eaten.  But no one surrenders to fate!  No one gives up!

It’s a lot of fun, as any movie about a shark attacking a trailer park should be.  All of the characters in the park are memorable in their redneck way.  Even with the majority of the park underwater and neighbors getting eaten left and right, they’re still just as likely to be fighting each other as they are the shark.  While I personally have never lived in a trailer park, I’ve lived close to a few and I’ve spent a few nights visiting and this film gets the atmosphere just right.  Griff Furst, who is something of a specialist when it comes to bayou chaos, brings this location to life.  From the very first tracking shot to the film’s action-packed finale, the bayou feels alive.  You can easily imagine this location and these people existing long before the cameras started rolling.  The relationships feel real.

Speaking of feeling real, I always suspected that Dennis Haskins had the ability to play a really evil character.  Seriously, go watch the earliest episodes of Saved By The Bell and you’ll see some hints of darkness underneath Mr. Belding’s goofy exterior.  That said, Haskins does such a good job playing this film’s villain that you eventually forget that you’re watching Mr. Belding threatening to kill people.  Instead, he’s just a very bad man with an interesting preference in weapons.

(Speaking of weapons, Tara Reid also shows up, playing a trailer park resident who has a wide variety of weapons at her disposal.  Though her role is small, her appearance allows for some playful poking at the Sharknado franchise.)

I liked Trailer Park Shark.  It’s a blast of pure entertainment and my favorite of the recent SyFy shark movies.  Since SyFy reruns everything a hundred times, keep an eye out for it!

Watch it in honor of the rednecks who keep us safe from sharks, often at the cost of life, limb, and satellite dish.