Lance Henriksen
Credit: Jay Kay/Syfy

When it comes to original movies, it’s kind of hard to beat the Syfy channel. After all, this is the network that’s given the world Dinocroc vs. Supergator, Ice Spiders,and Mansquito. For its 200th (!) original film, Syfy unveiled Scream of the Banshee last night.

Lauren Holly (NCIS) stars as archeologist professor Isla Whelan, who apparently is in charge of some sort of massive organizational project down in her school’s very dark and creepy-looking basement. She’s got a couple of plucky assistants to help her, Otto (Todd Haberkorn) and Janine (Leanne Cochran), and one very disaffected why-can’t-I-ever-please-you-mom teenager, Shayla (Marcelle Baer), each of whom happen to be in the vicinity (along with an unfortunately placed security guard) when they discover a mysterious box — a box hidden behind a false wall! A box that can only be opened with an armored hand! And yet while most of us would probably back away from said box, these people are scientists and curiosity always seems to get the better of them. So the box gets opened and a horrifying head that looks part human, part hyena, and part pumpkin (with an awful lot of teeth) is discovered. As you may have guessed from the title, this is a banshee and, boy oh boy, can it scream!

What follows next is part The Ring, part Final Destination, with some Drag me to Hell, Flatliners, and Priest thrown in for good measure. Each person who witnessed the banshee scream begins to be haunted, not just by the unearthly screech but by visions that become increasingly violent and can, in one literal case, cause a person to gouge their own eyes out. Whelan becomes convinced that Broderick Duncan (Lance Henriksen) — “On the one hand, he’s an esteemed professor who retired with dignity. On the other, he’s an end-of-days prophet of doom” — holds the answer to this supernatural phenomenon.

The fun of this movie, naturally, is seeing just how the filmmakers dispose of the various doomed characters, and in the second hour, Scream of the Banshee does not disappoint. It takes a while for the great Lance Henriksen to emerge out of his crazy-person house (full of mannequin heads) and spring into action, but he makes up for it in the powerful final 15 minutes.

So, PopWatchers, who else saw this last night? What did you think of Scream of the Banshee? Is it destined to join the ranks of Mansquito as a Syfy classic? Sound off below!