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Syfy’s Summer of Schlock

The Sci-Fi Channel’s name change to Syfy makes me think of a scene from the classic miniseries “Roots”. The evil white man wanted to change Kunta Kinte’s name to Toby. They whipped him until he said it. Afterwards, a fellow African told him they can call him whatever they want; he knows his true name is Kunta Kinte. Bonnie Hammer can use that bullwhip on me all she wants; I know that Syfy will always be Sci-Fi, and not just because the words are pronounced exactly the same.

  • Sat, July llth: Sand Serpents – At an isolated Taliban outpost in Afghanistan, a small platoon of US soldiers faces a danger far greater than fanatical rebels: giant worm-like creatures that come up through the sand and devour everything in their path. Their inexperienced lieutenant has to lead them across the treacherous desert to a rendezvous point where an army helicopter will pick them up – but not all of them are going to make it. Star Jason Gedrick probably wishes he still had his Iron Eagle fighter jet when he faces off with these babies. As you’ll see from the trailer below, if these “sand serpents” were any bigger, Kyle MacLachlan could surf on them.

  • Sun, July 19th: Hellhounds – After his bride is poisoned at their wedding, a young Greek warrior risks a journey to Hades to rescue her from the God of the Underworld and bring her back to life. What he doesn’t know is that the best friend who accompanies him is the man who killed her in a jealous rage. Probably more fantasy than horror, Rick “You’ll always be Silver Spoons to me” Schroder directs this RHI Entertainment effort.

  • Sat, July 25th: Malibu Shark Attack – An underwater earthquake generates a tsunami that strikes Malibu and brings a hunting pack of prehistoric-looking goblin sharks to the surface. Although the beach is evacuated before the big wave strikes, a group of lifeguards and a crew of construction workers are stranded in the high water and have to fight the sharks to get to dry land. Former USA Network “La Femme Nikita” Peta Wilson dons her finest “Baywatch” wear in preparation of her aquatic smackdown with the rarely seen goblin sharks and their ugly toothy mugs.

  • Sat, August 8th: Infestation – Kyle Rankin’s zany horror comedy about a hapless cubicle monkey who becomes the unlikely hero when his town becomes ground zero to an infestation of giant insects. If you liked Eight Legged Freaks, then you’re probably gonna dig the hell out of this. Have a look at the film’s trailer and you’ll see why. I’m surprised they’re airing this; it strikes me as being a bit too wacky for the channel’s usually mundane tastes.

  • Sat, August 22nd: Fast & Ferocious – According to Fangoria, this is the title of the film premiering on this date. According to Sci-Fi’s own schedule listing, the movie airing is titled Phantom Racer. I’m guessing there was a title change, and not a moment too soon because Phantom Racer is a fairly lame title. This film stars Greg Evigan and concerns a race car driver from beyond the grave. Hopefully Charlie Sheen will show up so the Phantom Racer and The Wraith can have a drag race. Hey, Drag Race to Hell - is it too late to change the title again?

    High Plains Invaders Poster

  • Sun, August 30th: High Plains Invaders – In the early 20th Century a small Western mining town is invaded by giant insectoid alien creatures whose only mission is to mine uranium to fuel their spaceship – but they’ll kill anyone or anything that gets in their way. After they devastate the town, it’s up to a retired outlaw to lead a small group of survivors in fighting the “bugs.” Two giant bug movies in one month; whose birthday is it? This one stars James Marsters (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”).
  • And if you’re someone who wouldn’t mind watching some of the Asylum’s latest output but feel guilty about potentially putting money in their pockets doing so, three current Asylum movies will make their broadcast debuts on Sci-Fi in August: Transmorphers: Fall of Man (Aug 1st), The Terminators (Aug 15th), and Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (Aug 29th).

    Looking at this line-up I can tell Sci-Fi/SyFy/Siii-Fiii/whatever plan to keep me busy this summer. And probably bitter about it too.

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    • Terminal

      I’m looking forward to the Transmorphers sequel.

    • FilmCritic3000

      Foy, it’s actually David Howe who’s president of SCI FI/Syfy now. Bonnie failed upward, as all no-talent hacks do, to become president of NBC Universal Cable.

      • Foywonder

        I’m aware of this. But everything that the Sci-Fi Channel is today is almost entirely the doing of Bonnie Hammer. She is the person who got hired to run a sci-fi channel called the Sci-Fi Channel and her first complaint was that there was too much sci-fi airing on it. It all goes back to her hiring.

    • JoeSena

      hey verm, don’t despair. the beast needs to be fed, and a monster movie’s a monster movie. i’m a first generation “monster kid” and my son and i love the scifi channel’s doses of cheese. you still have the dvds to watch with your little boy…cue them up and it’s like having your own channel. then you can graduate to this generation’s monster movies. to put it in perspective, the monster movies we love were reviled by somebody when they were contemporary.

      thanx foy for the great piece and the brilliant roots analogy. one can almost hear james earl jones booming out: “i found you! scifi channel, i found you!”

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      • Foywonder

        But the difference is that those films we loved today that were reviled then will still be beloved by future generations, where as I have a hard time imagining that few of what Sci-Fi churns out will be even be remembered by future generations even if only to revile them.

    • HorrorMaven

      I keep hearing rumors about The Dunwich Horror premiering on SyFy/Si-Fi/Schli-Fli sometime in the summer too, but I think it’s still slated for fall. :/

      • Vermithrax

        Makes me sad, especially thinking that I have a little boy on the way….I grew up watching movies like Tarantula, THEM!, and the various Harryhausen and Godzilla gems on the Sci-Fi Channel and it shaped me into who I am today as far as movie tastes go. Now the channel is absolute shit and there will be nothing but uneventful DVDs (and of course I have them all) to sit down and watch with my little boy…sad.