Ten of the Best SyFy Channel Original Movies
Preposterous! Insanity! Outrageous! You’re lying! I didn’t hit you!
That’s probably what the reaction to the title of my article is going to be. SyFy (or Sci-fi for us old school fans). I have no good retaliation for that. SyFy Channel movies are bad most of the time. It’s cheap TV entertainment that specializes on the ridiculous. It’s like someone took the bargain bin horror/sci-fi section and crammed it all into this TV channel that occasionally brings in quality TV series. It seems that today especially that SyFy is trying to outcrazy The Asylum when it comes to B movies with ridiculous titles (Arachnoquake is an actual movie). However, being a connoisseur of SyFy since I was 14 years old, I’ve seen enough of these movies to get some entertainment value out of them even the worst ones. This list is to showcase those movies that are actually GOOD or at least offer some cheap fun on a Saturday evening.
10. Python This movie is basically Anaconda in a small town. A military plane is transporting some mysterious cargo (hint: It’s the snake) and the plane crashes and the snake is unleashed on the small town of Ruby. Python actually sports some recognizable faces from Casper Van Dien (sporting an English/Southern accent combo), Robert Englund (looking like a plantation owner), William Zabka (being a jealous ex-boyfriend which is almost like being a bully), Wil Wheaton (with purple hair), and a cameo from Jenny McCarthy. The whole film concentrates on a aspiring BMX’er to stop those snake and features scenes where they outrun the snake on bikes when the snake is supposedly very fast. It’s a cheesy and goofy movie to be sure, but the characters are fun (the real estate agent is a riot) and even the effects at times aren’t terrible. If you ever get a copy of this movie, make sure to also listen to the commentary as they the director has a blast ripping into the movie. Plus, the movie starts out with lesbians having sex in a tent in the woods. There you go.
9. Sabretooth This is another one of those obscure early films from the SyFy Channel when it seems they were starting to get their feet wet. This movie is essentially Jurassic Park with a sabretooth tiger. A truck carrying a sabretooth tiger brought to life through genetic engineering escapes and terrorizes some campers. It features a pre-LOST Josh Holloway and has John Rhys Davies, Vanessa Angel, and David Keith rounding out the cast. It’s yet another goofball movie that knows what it is and has fun with it. The effects for the cat range from ok (animatronics) to really bad (the CG). However, there’s some funny lines and the cat does a good job killing him some people featuring a great little door kill involving a couple in a cabin.
8. Dinocroc This movie is brought to us by the king of independent features Roger Corman. It tells the tale of a prehistoric crocodile that escapes a lab and terrorizes a lakeside town. Again, it’s nothing new regarding the story, but it flies by at hurricane speed and it features some fun dinocroc action. The main theme to the movie is so ridiculously over the top that it must be appreciated for that alone. It is a choir/orchestral piece that should be better featured in some epic fantasy film instead of a low budget Corman creature feature. They even break one of the cardinal rules of horror movies halfway through and for that it gets my respect.
7. Decoys This is essentially a sex comedy with aliens that freeze their victims. It’s actually rather funny and it does kind of have a Invasion of the Body Snatchers quality to it dare I say. The aliens disguise themselves as hot college girls and seduce the guys on campus and killing them. It has fun with the theme and it offers a good amount of sexiness thanks to the two blonde leads.
6. Snakehead Terror This movie is another of those Jaws ripoffs that populate the channel although this is one of the better made of the bunch. It features scream queen Chelan Simmons and Bruce Boxleitner battling against snakehead fish pumped up with growth hormones. This movie came out a few years after the real life “invasion” of snakehead fish in the Northeast portion of the country so it took advantage of a real event and turned it into a monster movie. It features all the tropes of a killer animal movie, but it also has fun with it like I’ve stated with other films and it’s probably one of the gorier movies in their catalog and it’s mostly practical also.
5. Chupacabra Terror This one is what I would call a beautiful carwreck. It’s pretty stupid, but damn if it isn’t a lot of fun. It features a man in a chupacabra suit (always welcome in my camp) terrorizes patrons on board a cruise ship featuring Rhys Davies as the captain. It’s funny that it is so obvious that the “ship” is actually a hotel on land so that in itself is hilarious. The movie once again embraces what it is and rolls with it offering petty jewel thiefs, glowing green blood ala Predator (the chupacabra has to be the Predator’s second cousin) , special forces who wear bicycle helmets painted black, and plenty of gore. Let’s not also forget Giancarlo Esposito as the crazy chupacabra obsessed cryptozoologist. A true ham in this movie for sure in how over the top he presents his character.
4. The Bone Snatcher The Bone Snatcher would have to be one of the only SyFy films that actually tries to build some sort of suspense. It presents several people looking for some lost miners in a desert in South Africa where they encounter a creature of legend and are stalked by this creature as he kills them off one by one. It actually has mood attached to it and isolation thanks to the desert setting. The acting is actually pretty good and the effects aren’t bad either. The creature is a somewhat original creation that can morph itself into different shapes since the main threat are ants. Yes ants. These ants can build themselves up like Optimus Prime and create a creature using human bones and it actually looks pretty cool.
3. Larva This movie is what I can describe as a body horror film from the 70’s or 80’s It has that aesthetic of an old school gore film like Parasite that it’s infectious. It features killer larva that infects these cows and later infect humans through hamburgers and other means and pop out of them ala Alien as these bat like creatures terrorizing a small town. It’s rather tense at points and the direction is well done. The effects can get hokey at times, but it mostly takes place in the dark so you don’t really notice. It features plenty of gore to satisfy your thirst with these creatures just eating their way through the townspeople.
2. Abominable This is probably their most theatrical quality film in their catalog. It features a score by legendary composer Lalo Schifrin (his son directed the movie) and the poster isn’t half bad either. It can be described as Rear Window meets Sasquatch as it features a man who is paralyzed from the waist down thanks to a rock climbing accident and is sent to a cabin in the mountains to relax along with his jerk of a male nurse. In another cabin across the road, several women are getting together for a girl get together and things go to hell fast. It has a fair amount of suspense and a good look to it. The gore is great and the costume for the sasquatch is good if a bit silly looking. The acting is really good and features Paul Gleason’s last role before he passed away as the sheriff. Look out for Lance Henriksen and Jeffrey Combs as two hunters who want to kill the creature.
1. Dog Soldiers I might have cheated a little bit with this one since it isn’t technically a SyFy Channel movie. However, it’s how most people got to know about this movie’s existence since it broadcasted nonstop during those Saturday movie marathons. SO I consider it part of the SyFy catalog and it is hands down the best film they presented. Dog Soldiers ranks right up there with American Werewolf in London as one of the best werewolf movies ever. It is fast paced, gory, suspenseful, and just a badass werewolf movie with some aspects of a war movie in between. It is also the film that introduced us to a man named Neil Marshall who would bring us the classic horror gem The Descent. Check this movie out if you haven’t already.