By Jeff Pfeiffer
Happy 200th, Syfy Original Movies!
This Saturday, March 26, Syfy airs the 200th of its infamously “so bad it’s good” type of movie. I knew they really churned these things out, but man, the number “200” still threw me for a loop. The film is Scream of the Banshee, starring Lauren Holly and Lance Henriksen. When a college professor opens a mysterious box, she and her students hear the, um, scream of the banshee. Since everyone who hears the scream is fated to die a strange and terrible death, they must find a way to stop the banshee.
As you can see, it’s nothing special or out of the ordinary for Syfy. But it works. Between the old Sci Fi Channel and now Syfy, the network has carved a campy but strong ratings niche for itself on Saturdays with titles such as this, and it shows no signs of easing up on its successful formula. At the current rate of production (about two new movies a month), Syfy Original Movies look to be on pace to hit No. 400 in roughly another eight years or so.
In heading toward that destination, Syfy this week, at their advertising upfront presentation, announced several more movies in development that we can look forward to over the next couple of years (dates, titles, etc. subject to change):
Red Faction: Origins — 2011. Robert Patrick (the evil T-1000 in Terminator 2) and Kate Vernon star in this film based on the Red Faction video game franchise.
Zombie Apocalypse (working title) — October 2011. Syfy’s take on a tried and true (too tried lately, in my opinion) horror formula. Months after a zombie plague wipes out 90 percent of the American population, a small group of survivors fight their way cross-country to a rumored refuge on the island of Catalina.
Gretl — November 2011. Syfy updates another public-domain fairy tale. As an adult, a witch hunter named Hansel returns to his childhood village to find and kill the witch who murdered his sister Gretl (played by Shannen Doherty), only to discover that Gretl is not dead and danger lurks around every corner.
Snowmageddon (working title) — December 2011. No local news weather team has trademarked this title? Amazing. This movie is about a mystical snow globe that makes very bad things happen in the real world when it is shaken.
Bigfoot — 2012. Perhaps the cheesiest cast in Syfy Original Movie history (and that’s saying a lot), this film stars Barry Williams and Danny Bonaduce, with the duo hunting for the legendary creature of the title.
St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun (working title) — March 17, 2012. Wow, I hope that really is only a working title. But like Snakes on a Plane, it kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Quite similar to the Leprechaun films, this story is about an evil leprechaun who is accidentally set loose from his prison in the roots of an old oak tree. Once out, he’s after more than his lucky charms — he wants vengeance on the descendants of the people who originally imprisoned him.
Roswell — June 2012. Jason Connery directed this film, which is a story selected by fans for Syfy and IGN.com’s B Movie Mogul project. Sixty-five years after the original Roswell UFO crash, another ship from the same civilization comes to rescue their downed comrades and continue their preparation to invade Earth.
Jersey Shore Shark Attack — 2012. Title aside, I highly doubt that Snooki, The Situation and others from the hit reality show will be cast as fish food in this flick … but it’s nice to dream. What’s really scary is that Syfy may have to dredge up even cheaper knockoffs of these folks.
Dungeons and Dragons 4 (working title) — September 2012. Honestly didn’t know there were a 2 and 3 to this franchise. In this one, a princess and a rogue knight become reluctant heroes in a magical kingdom.
© NBC Universal, Inc. Credit: Jay Kay