Category: Fun Stuff

 What The Hell Has Happened to the Syfy Channel?

tv_stargate_atlantis13First, I am still not clear on exactly why the SciFi Channel suddenly became the Syfy Channel (other than the Marketing Department, those liar, liar pants on fire fucktards).  I am sure there are some black suited men, sitting behind a desk who have never liked, seen or heaven forbid — read — anything related to Science Fiction.  Too bad for them, and apparently, too bad for us also.

I don’t have any answers as to why the SciFi Channel, which seemed so hopeful in terms of great, original new shows like Stargate, Stargate Atlantis, Eureka, Ghost Hunters, etc. had suddenly turned to shows like “Shark Attack Times 1000!”, “The Catfish that ate your Mother”, or “The CROC THAT ATE ATLANTIS!”.  Even worse “Smackdown!”.  Obviously, I was joking with those titles, but they aren’t too far off.  Unfortunately, here are some real ones:  “Sharktopus”, “MegaShark vs. Crocosaurus”, “Dinocroc vs. Supergator” and “Smackdown” (that one was real, and just as bad).  Heaven help all of us science and fiction geeks, but that sad list goes on, on and on in terms of the films SyFy is willing to torture us with.

There are, however, some bright spots in the content downfall of the channel, and as anyone with common sense knows, there are but a few shows holding that channel together.  They are:  Warehouse 13, Ghost Hunters (which I used to love but is getting bor-oor-oring), and FaceOff, which is a great show that I encourage all of my peeps to check out.  That is all I will watch on that channel these days, and that is just damn sad.

If I were a betting person, I would lay down lots of money that whoever was put in charge of programming once the change was made is a Godzilla fan and maybe, just maybe a zoophiliac.  I know it’s hard to think about, but why else would someone choose to kill a burgeoning channel with lots of viewers?  Someone cancelled great shows like Stargate Atlantis and Eureka to make way for “My Dingo Ate Your Crocodile”.  Even worse, “Lost Girl” which does nothing but try to capitalize on young mens desires to see two chicks make out.   Really??  She NEEDS to suck face with everyone she meets to survive?  Please God tell me we are not that stupid or that ruled by our loins.

Look, I get the fact that men want to see that kind of thing.  But are you willing to let a TV show eat your brain away so much that the plot no longer matters?  If so, I got nothing for ya.  Come on you other guys, I have more faith in you than that.    Frankly, that’s what porn is for, not prime-time shows showing crap our kids can see.  Eh, whatever.

Now, if you want to watch a channel that is actually Science and Fiction try the Science Channel. They are showing Fringe and they even have a show called “Dark Matters” which is what the SyFy channel promised to be, but never delivered.  It can get a little gross at times, but it’s still great eureka-showand informative.  You know, kind of like life… and science.

Please do me a favor and stop watching the SyFy Channel just because it’s there.  You now know we have the Science Channel, which gives us a lot more than “Smackdown”.   And quite frankly, don’t be a dumbass consumer or teenager with a hard-on, both of whom will believe anything…. including that the Syfy Channel is still worth watching.

Grave Encounters 2011

This film should not be confused with the reality television shows Ghost Adventures or Ghost Hunters.  Although, if you only caught the first 30 or so minutes, you would be hard pressed to know the difference since Grave Encounters follows the crew of a pretend TV show (of the same name)  as they investigate a defunct, yet supposedly haunted joint named Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital.

First off, we all know that movies that have X people trapped in X closed and creepy psychiatric hospital have been done to death (ha ha!).  But really, it is to the point where if you have seen one, yes, you have seen them all.  The only thing these movies usually have going for them is the fact that closed psychiatric hospitals are by their very nature creepy as hell, thus usually making it the star of the movie regardless of who the actors may be.  While this is no doubt true for Grave Encounters, it is also true that this particular film is actually pretty damn good.  Confusing and at times mind-bendingly stupid, but I still had fun watching it.

After setting up their cameras and whatnot for their evening locked in the hospital, bad things start to happen pretty quickly (yay!), but you do have to stick with it for a slow 30+ minutes beforehand.  The crew — lead investigator “Lance,” (Sean Rogerson), tech guy “Matt” (Juan Riedinger), camera man “T.C.” (Merwin Mondesir), just-to-have-a-girl-in-it “Sasha” (Ashleigh Gryzko) and fake psychic “Houston” (Mackenzie Gray) —  expecting another boring night, find themselves actually dealing with true paranormal activities.  Lance wants to continue investigating, finally getting something real on tape but the rest of the crew isn’t so keen on the idea.  However, the arguing becomes moot when they realize that they are in fact trapped inside the hospital with only God knows what.

This introduction really doesn’t do the film justice, but in order to do that I would have to give away a lot of what makes the film unique and more importantly, fun, which I refuse to do.  Grave Encounters will never be voted best horror film of anything, but it is a really nice twist on a very over done idea and surprisingly, I only found a few things to bitch about and they were minor in the overall scope of the film.

Normally, I would list here the things I didn’t like about the film, but I’m feeling generous today so instead here’s 5 things they did right:

  1. The black guy isn’t the first person to die.  I find the fact that this still happens to be insulting especially since far too many horror movies still only cast one token black person in the first place.  If the setting dictates it, fine.  But otherwise — seriously?  It’s 2011 people, not 1911.  Just sayin.
  2. The characters are actually smart (mostly).  Praise is deserved for whoever decided to give the characters a chance to use their brains and think through situations as opposed to making one stupid decision after another.
  3. It keeps you guessing.  You are never really shown or given a nice tidy reason why everything is happening.  This works because you are just as lost as they are in trying to figure out the situation.
  4. Poking a bit of fun at the current reality ghost-themed TV shows.  Lance will no doubt remind you of Zak Bagans from Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, and had to be intentional.  Mackenzie Gray as Houston, the fake psychic, is pretty funny too.
  5. It’s not afraid to go dark.  Although most of the movie is just a fun treat, it does go a bit dark in the end.  I did not see this coming and have to say I was very happy to see it.

So, don’t go into this expecting award winning material here, but do expect a few jumps, a smart film and a main character (the hospital) that as always deserves more credit than it gets.

Forest Haven Asylum

REAL ASYLUM INFORMATION:  In the film, the fictional Collingwood hospital is located in Maryland.  Whereas there is no such hospital in Maryland, there is at least one that the locals love to trespass on — little known Forest Haven Psychiatric Hospital.  If you really want to get in the mood for Grave Encounters, do a bit of research on Forest Haven first and you won’t be disappointed (these links should help).  If you are near Maryland and thinking about visiting, be aware:  Someone takes trespassing there very seriously — but who and why, I don’t know.  I only know that I tried to get on the grounds myself about 2 years ago and was turned away by some very shady characters (no uniforms) and this seems to be common amongst would-be visitors to the site.  Anyway, enjoy!

Ah, September.  That time of year when the night air turns crisp and clean and you can just feel fall beginning to settle into your bones.  The time of year when Mother Nature prepares your soul for cold weather, hot soup and reminds you to save your energy for the all-too-soon holiday shopping nightmare.

However, September is also a reminder that soon, very soon, we get OUR month — you know the one — October. October, the one month of the year that belongs to horror and horror fans alone (well, and maybe a few Wiccans, but whatever).  Yup, we get one whole month in the ramp up to Halloween where horror movies are shown all times of day, haunted houses are visited (and maybe egged), “no trespassing” signs are completely ignored and yet, no one bitches about it because in the end, everyone loves Halloween.

So I say, why not take a note from the advertisers playbook and start the Halloween celebration in September?  That one month ramp up goes by way to quick for this horror fan so here, babies, we is breakin’ the rulz.  Starting now, each week leading up to Halloween we will have a feature on what makes this time of year so great — the monsters, the chill in the air, and all the things that go bump in the night.

To start our Festivus for the Rest of Us off right, this week, it’s zombies, zombies and more zombies.   Since I just so happened to just finish re-reading Best New Zombie Tales, Volume I, the theme fits quite nicely with my current state of mind.

Best New Zombie Tales, Volume I has some real doozies in it, but since I’m not gonna read the book for you and ruin it, here are a few standouts and my thoughts on them you know, just to whet your appetite.

Paradise Denied, by John L. French:  In a world where all of the “good” people get taken up by God, what happens to those left behind?  More importantly, what becomes of those that come back?  A great twist on the zombie story and one that just might make you think about all of those little white lies…

Muddy Waters, by Brian Knight:  Definitely one that stays with you.  Big city girl gets herself in quite a mess in the country.  This one will stay with you, so “haunting” is the right word here.

Zombie Love, by Ray Garton Asks the eternal question “What would you do for love?”  A better question would be “Would it be worth it?”  This one asks and answers both questions much to this readers delight.

Pegleg and Paddy Save the World, by Jonathan Maberry:  When you read this one, be sure to have their accents right in your head to get the full enjoyment factor.  It’s funny, gruesome and charming — the best mix.

In the Land of the Blind, by Robert Swartwood:  I don’t normally go for deep zombie tales, but this one has that certain something that makes it work.  An inspiring zombie tale in a down trodden world.  Or something.  Just read it for Pete’s sake.

So, that’s Volume I and all of the stories contained in it are great.  Also, there are currently two other volumes out there (II and III) and I may post about those this week as well.  But if not, rest assured that I’ll be doing my part by being kept entertained by something of the undead variety and I hope you are too.

OTHER STUFF:  For the record, there are other holidays in October besides Halloween.  There is Columbus Day which deserves a bit of attention I suppose, but the only other holiday in October is United Nations Day, which —  let’s be honest — should really observed be on April 1st.

OTHER STUFF II:  I would also like to take a moment and apologize for the lack of posting lately.  Unfortunately, I am located on the East coast and was affected by hurricane Irene.  That bitch killed my power and left me feeling very lost, hungry and quite frankly, scuzzy.  But Pepco be praised, it’s back from the dead and so am I.  Here’s to everyone else still without power joining us in the 21st century again very soon.

If the basement you are about to walk into is pitch dark and the light switch doesn’t work – do not go into the fucking room.  Don’t even think about it until high noon the next day and even then, take the dog with you —  just in case.

Horror Movie Survival Tip #2

It’s not the cat.  It’s NEVER the cat.  Except, of course when it is the cat, but really, why chance it?  Whose side do you think they’re on anyway?

Horror Movie Survival Tip #1

When all the animals around you start running in one direction, it’s time to haul ass with them.  Trust them, they know their shit.

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