Saturday, July 16, 2011

Syfy Channel Week: Ice Spiders

Are you for real?  Syfy Channel films are often full of ludicrous premises (in fact, I did a Top 12 on that), but sometimes they just take the cake.  Just consider this title for a minute- Ice Spiders.  That's just...are you for real?  That said, this goofy title does draw your attention right away.  Will it actually have the odd, entertainment value of Mongolian Death Worm?  No.  Will it have the good effects?  Again- no.  It does have the most random of Guest Actors though.  That man- Stephen J. Cannell.  Yes, the late Mr. Cannell makes his final film appearance in this movie, I guess he was doing someone a favor.  First off, why is the Creator of The A-Team acting a film, let alone this one?  It's surprising to say the least.  Let's get over that randomness and just skate alongside the...
We get the usual Syfy Opening here, this time featuring two hunters who get attacked by the titular monsters.  The point of this- there really is none.  Our hero later finds their bodies, but he could have just as easily seen the giant pile of webbing too!  We meet our main characters next- a bunch of skiers going to a lodge to practice for their Olympic qualifiers.  Two Syfy Channel films about sports teams in peril (in the snow no less!) this week- weird.  We also get the modern horror trope of 'No Reception' as one of the group complains about his phone not working.  Literally one minute later, they cut back to one of the webbed-up hunters whose phone rings, but he drops it!  Why did you do that?!?  The phone call he misses- it means nothing.  Nobody finds the phone or calls it again later- nothing!  Anyways, they get up to the Lodge and meet the owner (Stephen J. Cannell).  The sad part is that you can see his skin condition and tell that he was battling Cancer at the time.  That's actually a little more sad than him simply being in this film!  Oh right- spiders.
Our main hero turns out to be a former Olympic hopeful (7 Adventures of Sinbad's Patrick Muldoon) who now works at the Lodge teaching rich jerks.  By the way, this 'major Ski Lodge' has less than thirty people there (counting staff)!  He goes out with the Sheriff in search of the hunters and finds dead animals (see picture below) and eventually runs across the spiders.  In the film's C-Plot, a good-looking scientist (Melrose Place's Vanessa Williams) discovers that the genetically-engineered spiders that they have been working on escaped.  We get a full-scale Melrose Place reunion in fact as our lead is from the show, as is the Head Scientist at the Lab (Thomas Callabro).  This might explain the extended cameo role given to Cannell as one for, say, Aaron Spelling- but it's not him.  The spiders move out as the Commandos hunt them down.  The creatures make it down to the Lodge and start picking off skiers and snowboarders.  Our *former* leads finally do something again in the movie- hide in the Lodge.
All of our heroes are back together in the Lodge now, including the scientist lady.  Meanwhile, the Commandos and Dr. Melrose Place plan to catch some of the spiders.  This doesn't go too well at first, although they do get one.  The Olympic hopefuls try to escape in the bus and they are joined by Cannell.  They drive away for a bit, but crash.  The group escapes thanks to Cannell, who seems to be left to die...but the Commandos show up.  They wouldn't possibly kill him off!  More of the spiders get caught by the Commandos when they work with the others.  It all boils down to Muldoon luring the spiders via a snowboard chase to an area where they can trap them.  However, Muldoon and company decide to kill the spiders, angering Dr. Melrose Place.  In a weird happenstance, a seventh spider suddenly appears and kills him.  Yeah, they established that there were six and six were killed so...I cry bullshit there.  The government covers everything up and the movie ends.
Baby, it's death outside!  The plot of this movie is nothing really to write home about, as the expression goes.  The only thing it really has going for it is the juxtaposition of its odd plot to reality.  You have giant spiders that can survive in the snow.  Sure- why not?!?  They try to explain it a bit, but it's mostly movie science that's just silly.  The big problem is that the Special Effects just aren't that good.  Not to keep going back to it, but Mongolian Death Worm came out about two years after this one.  How did they get good effects and yours look like shit?  Hell, Sand Serpents has pretty good effects and it was made a bit earlier than that one!  The whole thing is just weird and silly.  That said, I did have some fun with it, as it is just so damn cheesy.  If you actually think that a movie like Ice Spiders is worth watching, you'll probably have a good time.  For the other 98% of you, feel free to laugh at the title and move on.
*1 minute later*
Next up, we begin Mummy Week with something silly.  If you want to see The Mummy- but in 1967- this one is for you.  Stay tuned...

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