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7 Asylum Movies Better Than Their Blockbuster Original

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The Day the Earth Stopped image
The Asylum

You may not be familiar with The Asylum, but you’ve probably watched a few of their movies. The studio is famous for making low budget films comparable to Hollywood blockbusters. Not all of them were naff though.

Here are seven Asylum movies that are better than the originals they’re based on.

7. Hercules Reborn (2014)

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson starred in the blockbuster Hercules movie from the same year. This one though also features an ex-wrestler in the lead role. Former WWE star John Morrison is playing Hercules in this movie. To be fair, he does a pretty good job. His acting is decent, and the film isn’t full of cheesy one-liners that you may expect. Yes, The Rock’s Hollywood version has the better effects and a gigantic budget, but that isn’t everything. The Asylum films normally have a budget of one million dollars. They’ve spent every cent of Hercules Reborn. The costumes and set look great and the supporting cast does a fine job. There’s no explosion of CGI, but it’s a good story that’s well-acted and expertly executed.

6. Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)

I remember seeing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter advertised and thinking what a silly idea. The big $100 million budget was spent well as it’s full of CGI and monsters. Where it fell flat, was the weak story and the inability not to take itself too seriously. In stark contrast, Abraham Lincoln Vs Zombies hits the sweet spot. Released in the same year, it features a clever historical story that has more substance than the Hollywood version. Credit should also go to Bill Oberst Jr who does a sterling job of playing Lincoln. The Asylum have nailed the atmosphere, photography, and story just right. They also haven’t forgotten to add in a touch of humour. This is an enjoyable watch, which is exactly what it should be.

5. Mercenaries (2014)

Sylvester Stallone has done a good job of building up the Expendables franchise. Originally, there was talk of a female version being made. It never happened, so to coincide with the release of Expendables 3, The Asylum released Mercenaries – an all-female action flick. Expendables 3 was a bit of a damp squib, so the Asylum have found a gap and capitalised on it perfectly. Featuring the brilliant Bridget Nielsen in the cast, this movie kicks butt. The plot has been done a million times before, so you must disengage your brain before watching. But the action sequences are excellent, and the female cast delivers all the punches. Without the cheesy one-liners that litter the Expendables. Add this to your Saturday movie list.

4. Snakes on A Train (2006)

The plane version of this film with Samuel L Jackson has become a bit of a cult classic. Mostly because of the silly idea, but also because it doesn’t really know if it’s supposed to be a horror or a comedy. Coming off the back of the hype of that movie, the Asylum released Snakes on a Train. Now, they knew exactly what they were doing with this. It’s a horror and cleverly, they add in a supernatural twist with a Mayan curse. It works as the film feels creepy and dark and full of dread. As you would expect from a low-budget film from 2006, the effects are poor. Particularly the climactic scene. But the story is clever, the acting is decent, and the atmosphere is perfect. Go in with an open mind and it’s more enjoyable than watching Samuel L Jackson curse at some CGI snakes.

3. American Warships (2012)

Battleship, the big-budget sci-fi action featuring Liam Neeson and Rhianna was a terrible movie. The acting was questionable and the plot? Well, that could have been written on the back of a cigarette packet. Not to mention the awful pacing of the whole thing. American Warships, but, is a welcome antidote. So, you don’t have the big-budget effects, but the plot has more substance to it. Rather than just having boats trying to blow up alien ships, this has a relevant political story. It’s also well-paced with a good collection of actors. I mean, it has Mario Van Peebles and Carl Weathers in it. If that’s not a good enough reason alone to watch it, then I don’t know what is.

2. Hansel vs. Gretel (2015)

You can’t beat a good movie about killing witches. This effort from 2015 is actually a pretty good movie. One thing that the Asylum do very well is getting the atmosphere just right. They have done it again with this film. It’s dark, brooding, and atmospheric. There is plenty of action and a decent story, but it’s not over-the-top. The film it’s based on (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) is exactly that. Critics panned it for its over-use of gore and 3D which left them wondering what sort of film it was. Comedy parody or a straight-up bloody adventure? Hansel Vs Gretel sticks to its premise. It’s a decent effort that doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t. Give it a watch.

1. The Day the Earth Stopped (2008)

This was a mockbuster from The Day the Earth Stood Still. That film featured Keanu Reeves, and itself based on a movie from 1951. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a patch on the original classic. Although it was visually stunning, even Keanu Reeves looked bored to be there. The Asylum’s version is a bit better. It doesn’t have the budget for the effects, but what they do have, is used in a clever way. A lot of the alien ship is shot at night, which helps. And they also have the brilliant Sinead McCafferty as the alien messenger on Earth. She does a great job and it’s a cool twist on the part. Director C Thomas Howell also takes a lead role and pulls it off. This is a clever film that does the 1951 original more justice than the 2008 remake.


That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.


Read our Arcane review HERE.

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9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies

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Paramount Pictures

There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.

1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)

Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.

2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.

3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)

You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.

4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.

5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)

Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.

6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)

I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.

7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)

This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.

8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)

We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.

9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)

Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.


That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.

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