So you missed that Sci-Fi Channel original movie when it premiered on a Saturday night, and then you missed the midnight replay as well. Then you missed it again when it aired again later that week. And then you missed it again when the network replayed the film multiple times in the weeks and months following. To be honest, you really don’t have any excuses. Lucky for you more and more Sci-Fi Channel original movies are getting released on DVD quicker and more frequently. Seven more from the past year will be hitting DVD shelves in March and April.
March 4th will first see First Look Home Entertainment’s release of Mega Snake (review), the overtly campy creature feature with “Stargate SG-1″‘s Michael Shanks as a snake-phobic ambulance driver who has to save his small town from an accursed snake that continues to eat and grow and eat. Personally, I thought this one was too stupid and too self-aware of its stupidity for its own good. Shanks also didn’t sound too proud of it in interviews. It’s also noteworthy (sort of) for the two-minute cameo by Feedback, the winner of the first season of Sci-Fi’s reality show “Who Wants to be a Superhero?”, getting to collect one of his rewards by briefly appearing in this turkey just long enough to make a complete jackass out of himself.
One the other hand, there’s Savage Planet (review), also being released on March 4th by Genius Entertainment. This one keeps a straight face from start to finish and that only makes the film all the more unintentionally funny. This is, after all, a movie about what I summed up in my review as “BEARS IN SPACE!” Earth is dying; Sean Patrick Flannery leads a crew of scientists that warp over to an Earth-like planet looking for a means to save civilization only to get stalked and killed by stock footage of real-life bears being passed off as a deadly intergalactic space bears. Just read my review if you haven’t already. It’ll either make you want to see this cinematic train wreck or tell you all you need to know to avoid it like the plague.
March 11th will bring three Sci-Fi originals to DVD, including one of the worst Sci-Fi Channel originals ever. That would be Bats: Human Harvest (review), the in-name-only sequel to the god awful Bats that actually managed to do the unthinkable by being infinitely worse than the terrible movie it’s sequalizing. This time genetically engineered killer bats are released in a Russian forest by a mad scientist working for terrorists; former “Baywatch” dude David Chokachi leads a platoon of soldiers to stop them. Much boredom ensues. Sony Home Entertainment is releasing this one. They should be filled with shame.
You’re better off with the surprisingly fun Showdown at Area 51 (review), also getting unloaded on DVD March 11th from First Look. A pair of rival aliens arrive on Earth and raid Area 51 (the one in Missouri, not Nevada) for an object that will lead the way to a device that will bring about the end of the world. One alien is a Vin Diesel look-a-like that wants to save mankind and teams up with Jason London to do so; the other wants to ensure our annihilation and pretty much stomps about looking like a runaway “Doctor Who” nemesis. Though fairly routine storywise, this one turned out to be far more entertaining than it had any right to be.
Lastly, on March 11th, comes Sands of Oblivion (review), a prime example of a movie with a potentially awesome premise that fails to live up to that potential. Modern day archaeologists (including Adam Baldwin and George Kennedy) search the California desert for the location of the lost sets of Cecille B. Demille’s 1923 version of The Ten Commandments unaware that the reason he had the sets buried for all time was because the film’s shoot had been plagued by an Egyptian curse. Upon finding the sets they unleash that curse and much death ensues, often at the hands of Anubis-like demons. Like I said, so much potential, but only if you’re willing to look past how increasingly idiotic it all becomes as the film rapidly takes on the veneer of a poor man’s Stephen Sommers production. Unlike all the others that are going to be pretty much barebones – some trailers might be included, unless widescreen and Dolby 5.1 audio counts as extras – this DVD, being released by Anchor Bay/Stars, will actually include a “making of” documentary.
April 1st brings us Eye of the Beast (review) with “Dawson’s Creek” graduate James Van Der Beek as a scientist investigating a fishing community being terrorized by a giant man-eating squid. Fangoria just unveiled the DVD artwork for this Genius Entertainment release and I must say whoever came up with it deserves a pay raise. Too bad I suspect a lot of people will get suckered in by the awesome artwork (worthy of an early 80’s Italian-produced nature gone amok flick if you ask me) and come away sorely disappointed that the actual movie is a bland, by-the-numbers, relatively bloodless Jaws knock-off with very little in common with the ghastly DVD box art touting it. Fitting they release this one on April Fool’s Day since anyone who rents or buys this film based solely on the box art will quickly come to realize the joke’s on them.
Finally, on April 29th, Headless Horseman (review) rides onto DVD. Unsuspecting teens on a car trip end up in a little hole-in-the-wall town cursed by a headless horseman that keeps reappearing to exact revenge by decapitating victims and collecting their heads. Richard Moll co-stars as a crazy hillbilly. Hardly great entertainment but I found it enjoyable enough, though instantly forgettable. You can decide for yourself when First Look releases this Sleepy Hollow slasher from Boo director Anthony C. Ferrante.
I’m sure there will be many more Sci-Fi Channel original movies getting released to DVD in the months to come since Sci-Fi just keeps cranking these movies out on a regular basis. This weekend is bringing us the premiere of Ghost Voyage (review). February will bring us Jim Wynorski’s Bone Eater (review), which as you can see I’ve already reviewed, and Jonathon Schaech battling a dangerous organism in Living Hell. And still to come in March will be Ogre with John Schneider and a Sci-Fi Channel original with the greatest title ever: Rock Monster. I’ve been unable to find any other information about Rock Monster so I cannot tell you if the monster is made of rock or is born from a rock, but none of that matters because what really matters is that someone in the year 2008 is releasing a movie with a title like Rock Monster.
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