The Sci-Fi Channel didn’t really come into their own until they started producing original programming, and now they are a force to be reckoned with, airing one of the most acclaimed genre shows in recent memory (Battlestar Galactica) and, as of today, producing films aimed at theatrical distribution. Well now it appears to be Chiller’s turn, as the horror network debuts its first original program: Chiller 13: The Decades Scariest Movie Moments. Read on for a look at what you can expect!Much like I Love The 80s or whatever, the special features a variety of talking heads from various mediums and backgrounds (comedians, filmmakers, etc) summarizing, critiquing, and often riffing on a certain topic, in this case, the chosen 13 scariest films of the past decade. While there will be some argument among viewers, I personally think it’s a very good list, featuring many of the films I myself would have chosen (Paranormal Activity, The Descent). Also, there are a few unexpected choices that fans should applaud, such as The Mist or Orphan, both of which are featured while expected big smashes like The Grudge and Texas Chainsaw (2003) are ignored. Basically, while you might be disappointed that foreign films don’t have much of a presence (no [Rec], bummer), it’s far from a studio stroke-fest, either – at least four films on the list were produced independently. With one exception, I had no problem talking positively about the choices.
Yes, I, your ‘beloved’ BC, am one of the talking heads featured. Honestly I think I’m in it too much – who the hell wants to look at me when Ashlynn Yennie or Betsy Russell are on hand? But they used some of my better lines, and I’m the only one who gets bleeped twice I think, so that’s a nice little badge of honor. I was disappointed they didn’t use my defense of Cloverfield (“I’d run halfway up a collapsing building to save Odette Yustman too!”), however.
Luckily, they have far more exciting people than me offering their thoughts, including “30 Days of Night” creator Steve Niles, Tony Todd, KNB legend Greg Nicotero, Ti West, and Lucky McKee, plus some comedians like Ed Alonzo and the guys from CollegeHumor.com. There’s even a legit psychologist named Brian Russell and… uh, Ace from American Idol? OK, I have no idea how he got thrown in the mix, but he does hilariously hold up a demon mask for his first few appearances, so there’s something. But the eclectic nature is part of the fun; one minute you’re hearing legitimate experts discuss fear, the next you get a comedian mocking the same movie.
One caveat, which might not be necessary for a typical B-D reader, but should be mentioned – this special is loaded with spoilers. The ending of pretty much every movie is discussed in detail (the segment on The Mist basically STARTS with the ending of the film), which is kind of a bummer as I would hope that the average viewer would watch this and be enticed to check out something they had missed. So if you’re spoiler-phobic, I’d steer clear of the segments involving the movie or movies you hadn’t seen yet (the “coming up” clip before each commercial break always reveals the next two movies so you can plan ahead). But we’ve seen them all, right?
Hopefully this is a start of a long line of specials. It’s the type of thing that’s fun to watch and can be about anything (top 10 sequels, worst remakes, etc), so there’s an endless wealth of topics they can cover for future specials. Plus, even if the topic or choices are questionable, the resulting show can still be entertaining provided they get good guests. And if they can’t, well, I’m usually available if all else fails.
Chiller 13 premieres Friday, December 17th at 8 pm and airs throughout the night (and I’m sure will air more throughout the month). Check your listings!