The Asylum

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We’re all aware of and used to the blockbuster knockoffs from The Asylum. Maybe you were reminded this past week by coming across their 2011 movie Almighty Thor while looking up Marvel’s own Thor: The Dark World. Well, they haven’t taken on documentaries yet, but there are comparably cheap versions of hit nonfiction films to be found around the web. We can’t call them all knockoffs or ripoffs or copycats or anything of that responsive nature, though, because most of the time they are produced earlier and are actually the ones being overshadowed by the new, better-known features. Last week I was going through the latest documentary additions to Netflix Watch Instantly, as I regularly do for my home viewing picks for our sister site Nonfics, and one title stood out to me: Wild Eyes: The Abby Sunderland Story. The synopsis told me simply that it was about a teen girl who “dares try to become the youngest person to sail around the globe solo.” That sounded awfully familiar. I’d known about the SXSW audience award winner Maidentrip, which also is about a teen girl who set out to sail around the globe solo. But I didn’t know that film’s subject’s name and thought maybe it was Sunderland. After all, how many teen girls are there who attempt such a dangerous adventure? Apparently at least two, because the girl’s name in Maidentrip, I quickly learned, is Laura Dekker.

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Last week, the world reeled at the thought of a powerful hurricane creating freak tornadoes that would scoop up dozens of man-eating sharks and deposit them onto dry land. The idea of a sharknado probably never occurred to anyone outside of the production offices of The Asylum, until the Syfy Original Movie Sharknado hit the air on July 11th. The movie tells the (possibly) unlikely story of a global-warming-fueled hurricane that strikes the coast of Southern California. This unprecedented hurricane spawns a line of tornadoes that fling sharks across Los Angeles, and the only people who can stop them are Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. Were this real life, we’d be screwed. (Pinning humanity’s hope on drop outs from Beverly Hills 90210 and the American Pie franchise has almost never worked out.) However, that got us thinking: should we be worried about a Sharknado really happening? Shouldn’t we be planning for its imminent arrival?

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All the cool kids who are too cool for Comic-Con and all about trying to be cool by saying how not cool Comic-Con has become try to be cool by going to the cool comic area and buying cool things. Cool, right? But seriously, I always like to put the “comic” in Comic-Con and take a walk around the all the different comic vendors, big and small, and find cool stuff to buy. This year is no different and I found a few things that piqued my interest and raped my wallet. Have a peek into my barely literate world!

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As an expert on Asylum movies, the bar isn’t exactly high here, but what’s most striking about the trailer for Jose Prendes‘s The Haunting of Whaley House is that it looks like an actual movie – not a CGI-from-1994 slathered abomination cribbing close to the legal limit of blockbuster theft. Granted, it’s a haunted house film, and it looks like it’s maintained the central tropes, but there’s lighting! And decent camera work! And the lines don’t completely read like they came from a a sophomore in high school with a loose understanding of grammar! Could it be? Could The Asylum have produced a good movie? It’s too soon to tell, but we’ve acquired proof that it’s highly possible:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly round-up of entertainment news and tidbits written by a Doctor Who obsessive. But you already knew that. If you didn’t, you’re about to. The sixth season of Doctor Who debuts this weekend on BBC and BBC America (at the same time!!) So of course I’m writing something about it. I just found out that season passes for ‘Part I’ of the Matt Smith-led sixth frame are available on iTunes, for those (like me) who eschew the bonds of cable providers. Also, if you’re looking to throw a Doctor Who premiere party — and invite your favorite film blog publisher — the BBC America page has Doctor Who recipes, including Ginger Companion cookies and Radioactive-Spuds with Cool Avocado Cream. Don’t put these in front of me, because I would easily EXTERMINATE! them. Get it? I’m like the Daleks of food.

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Because I hate myself, I’ve taken on the task of watching Z-grade crap for an entire day. This is supposed to prove something, I think, but at this point I don’t have the mental capacity to figure it out.

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