SyFy sees me. It always has since the mid-1990s when it was the more recognizably monikered “The Sci-Fi Channel.” It’s where I grew to love Saturday Morning Horror movies, where weekdays were a crash course in the paranormal with Sightings, and where I first discovered Akira, Zeiram, and the film that would alter the course of my life: Night of the Living Dead.
And while SyFy has been given countless facelifts and produced everything from the acclaimed (Battlestar Galactica) to the infamous (Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus) its mission has always been the same: to be the preeminent spot for all things genre on television. And they just got a huge new dash of goodwill.
Bloody Disgusting broke the news that SyFy, purveyor of all things shark and -nados, are in talks to license and produce new versions of Chiodo Brothers cult classics Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Critters. This is all part of a move by SyFy to begin rebooting beloved franchises. First on the docket is Leprechaun Returns. And it’s in SyFy’s handling of this first installment that intrigues me the most for these other two revitalized franchises.
The last film in the Leprechaun franchise was 2014’s Leprechaun: Origins, featuring a wildly different interpretation and character design in an attempt to actually make the Leprechaun scary. The problem, though, was the original franchise was always intentionally funny, so by wedging in an overtly serious villain they woefully miss the point of its legacy. Already in our first glimpse of Linden Porco filling the boots left by Warwick Davis, we can tell SyFy has wiped the slate clean and returned the character to its fun, vicious roots. We couldn’t ask for anything more from a reboot, remake, or sequel to Killer Klowns or Critters except for it to be fun and vicious. But maybe most importantly, this is SyFy showing how well they know their audience.
There is literally no other word about the new films beyond “this is going to happen,” but again if we can glean from what Leprechaun Returns has already laid bare, if The Chiodo Brothers don’t return to helm either of these films, the franchises will still be in good hands. Rather than give the keys to the castle to just anyone, they gave Leprechaun Returns to Steven Kostanski, the director of The Void, Father’s Day, and Manborg. The writer is Suzanne Keilly, the genius who blessed us with one of the best episodes of Ash Vs. Evil Dead featuring a puppet Bruce Campbell, “Ashy Slashy.” This is clearly SyFy doing their homework and looking for creatives that will bring something more to the table than just another SyFy Channel Original Picture.
But admittedly I would be shocked if The Chiodo Brothers weren’t back to helm a new Killer Klowns movie. They’ve said that they’ve been working on a sequel since the day they finished the first film. And with Killer Klowns celebrating its 30th anniversary, the brothers have been touting an idea for what they call a “requel.” Neither a sequel nor a reboot, the film would incorporate classic elements and characters while still continuing the story established in the first film. It’s not a new idea, especially after J.J. Abrams did it so magnificently with Star Wars and as David Gordon Green just did with Halloween.
But The Chiodo Brothers don’t just have a sequel planned: they have a trilogy of films! However, that was all dependent on MGM wanting to go ahead with a new Killer Klowns project. Only a month ago, The Chiodo Brothers finally told fans that they can “hold their breath” for a sequel. And this appears to be why. So with such a history of trying to get this film off the ground, it really just wouldn’t feel right without the creators’ involvement.
This sequel news. though, doesn’t really clue us in as to where Critters: A New Binge, the TV series reported earlier this year, lands. Or does it? We know that it was a season of 10 eight-minute episodes, which if shown together would be the perfect length for a Critters movie, and has 100% already been filming. Hell, Thomas Lennon has even been cast! The series is from Jordan Rubin, Jon Kaplan, and Al Kaplan, the creative team behind Zombeavers, a practical-effects bonanza I have a huge soft spot for. Could this new Critters film just be A New Binge cut to feature length? Perhaps, or we just have an embarrassment of Critters riches to look forward to in 2019!
However either of these new films shakes out, this is nothing but a good sign for horror fans. SyFy has been rather infamously known for its Z-Grade films, especially in regards to its effects work. So by re-embracing a trio of practical effects throwbacks, we could see the studio take a turn audiences may not have been expecting: a film they can enjoy guilt-free.