Animal Planet’s first plunge into the B-horror-movie genre with Blood Lake: Attack Of The Killer Lampreys, from the producers of Syfy’s Sharknado, premiered with fewer viewers – 1.2 million on Sunday to Sharknado’s opening 1.37 million back in July of ‘13 – and not nearly the same buzz.
More to the point, Killer Lampreys fell far short of the 3.6 million viewers who’d watched Animal Planet’s second mermaid faux-docu, Mermaids: The New Evidence, on comparable Sunday one year earlier. That was Animal Planet’s biggest audience. Ever. New Evidence was a follow-up to the previous year’s mermaid faux-docu, Mermaids: The Body Found which netted 3.4 million viewers and was, until it got trumped by its sequel, Animal Planet’s biggest draw since its September 2006 memorial to on-air talent Steve Irwin (2.7 million viewers), who died after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary.
An Animal Planet rep says they’re pleased with the Killer Lamprey ratings performance, given that it was the network’s first stab at a B-horror film. To recap: the network’s first stab at a faux documentary about half-women-half-fish clocked nearly three times the crowd. In its ratings news release, Animal Planet noted the lamprey thriller landed the network at No. 6 among all ad-supported cable networks in the 9-11 PM timeslot among Males 25-54 (251,000) and No. 7 among Adults 25-54 (511,000), excluding sports. In some circles, this is known as damning with faint praise.
Like Sharknado, Blood Lake boasted a 90201 alum (Shannen Doherty) as well as production house The Asylum’s trademark iffy CGI effects and craptastic writing:
Blood Lake: “Nice pet, Michael – it looks like an anus with teeth.”
Sharknado (in re bloody water): “Looks like it’s that time of the month!”
But the press, who had loved Sharknado — or, more accurately, loved the celebrity hate-watch tweeting that the shark movie generated in its premiere — were not kind to Blood Lake. The NYT warned, “What is done to Mr. (Christopher) Lloyd’s character… in Blood Lake: Attack Of The Killer Lampreys, a rare Animal Planet venture into the television-movie arena, is revolting in ways that may haunt you long after this otherwise unmemorable film is over.” And Zap2It sniffed, “We’ve seen Sharknado and Blood Lake is no Sharknado. A couple media outlets suggested Animal Planet may have aired Blood Lake, which ran during the cable network’s annual Monster Week, so that critics wouldn’t notice the channel also telecast extended cuts of its fake documentaries: Mermaids: The Body Found and Mermaids: The New Evidence.
We’re guessing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration loved Killer Lampreys. NOAA did not get a heads-up from Animal Planet before it telecast either of its mermaid docus and, after the first one premiered, got pelted with so many demands from citizens for more information on its mermaid discoveries featured in the TV show that the agency had to issue a statement on its Web site saying: “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.” The “docu” had presented loads of “evidence,” including cave drawings, mysterious deep-ocean bloops, and evidence of injuries to beached whales that could only have been perpetrated by part-woman/fish.