When I imagine the thought process that went into developing the idea for a movie like “Sharknado,” I like to imagine that it happened in one of two ridiculous ways 1) It was an early morning half drunken last minute pitch by a 20-something PA after an all night bender playing darts at a dive bar, or 2) An insane genius writer somewhere (probably LA) had a mid-meeting low blood sugar brainfart and blurted out: Sharks + Tornado = Sharknado! … or, I guess it could have been neither.
However the idea came about it WAS a stroke of genius, as pretty much everyone from The Boston Globe to the AV Club will agree. The only thing left to do was break the internet, or at very least Twitter, talking about it.
For anyone who wasn’t part of the party during (and after) last weeks airing of “Sharknado” on the SyFy channel, it might be hard to imagine how a movie involving sharks that are sucked up out of the ocean by a tornado and then rain down on the city of Los Angeles, could become so popular, and I totally get that. “Sharknado” is the kind of movie that’s “so bad, it’s awesome,” and although it’s admittedly riddled with the kind of ridiculousness that would render other lesser movies just about “unwatchable,” for some reason you just can’t stop watching the “story” unfold. Minutes go by, then hours and then all of a sudden you realize you just had a really good time and DAMMIT, you’re hooked!
The thing is any movie like “Sharknado” is made in good fun. People aren’t tuning into watch something like it for it’s amazing storyline, serious cinematic merit or to ponder the deepest mysteries of life. They’re watching it to laugh their ass off and see some crazy big ass CGI storm suck CGI sharks up out of the ocean and hurl them at the city of Los Angeles (not that it deserves that).
It’s not all just about the “cool” (read: cheesy) graphics either. There are other crucial elements to this SyFy bad movie formula as well, things like bad dialogue, not awesome extras, nonsensical plot lines, excessive use of stock footage, lots of ironic deaths, bad one liners and science so fringe it’s not even part of the cloth. There are also the “stars” who are maybe not quite as mainstream as they once were but who seem to be a favourite for these features and I have no complaints there either. “Sharknado” featured Ian Ziering and Tara Reid, but they are just two of many. I imagine for the stars it’s kind of a doubled edged sword. On the one hand you’re not as popular as you once were but on the other hand you get to be in a pretty awesome B-movie that has a pretty widespread appeal and will probably get you back on the public radar. Were I an actor, or just a “regular joe” who had the opportunity to be in one of these films, I would probably jump at it and just enjoy, what I presume is, a wild and crazy ride. In fact I would probably think of it as a great honor… which is how I hope the actors approach it… but maybe that’s just me.
If sharks aren’t you’re thing don’t worry, when it comes to SyFy movies there is a little something for everyone. There are other creatures from the deep, space invaders, mad scientists, genetic mutations, alternate realities, dystopic futures, mythical creatures, superstorms, angry old world gods, ancient curses, armageddon, dinosaurs and of course lots of sharks.
Since it’s too hot here in Boston to spend a lot more time in an un-airconditioned room writing, I thought it might be a better idea to offer some viewing suggestions for people who are new to the genre… and who might have ability to lock themselves in their apartment with the AC on high. So, I am going to leave you with a list of what are currently my favourite SyFy movies (at least as of right now). Rest assured that there are many many more where these came from and hopefully there are many more to come:
(Not in order of importance)
- Mega Shark V. Giant Octopus (2009) Deborah Gibson, Lorenzo Lamas.
- Sharktopus (2010) Eric Roberts: Possibly my all time favourite
and i’m still waiting for it’s sequel, Sharktopie.I ‘ve just been told that it’s sequel is now in the works and is titled,”Sharktopus vs Mermantula.” So, I can’t wait! (*Further correction, there have been two sequels and my fingers are still crossed to one day see some “Sharktopie”)
- Sharktopus Vs, Pteracuda (2014)
- Sharktopus V Whalewolf (yep, whalewolf) (2015)
- Stonehenge Apocalypse (2010) Misha Collins, Torri Higginson, Peter Wingfield.
- Piranaconda (2012) Michael Madsen, Rachel Hunter.
- Triassic Attack (2010) with a really young Emilia Clarke
- Lightening Strikes (2009) Kevin Sorbo.
- Mega Pirahna (2010) Paul Logan, Tiffany, Barry Williams
- Sand Sharks (2011) Corin Nemec.
- Chupacabra Vs. the Alamo (2013) Erik Estrada, Julia Benson.
- Flying Monkeys (2013) Elektra Avellan.
- Tasmanian Devils (2013) Danica McKellar.
- Behemoth (2011) Ed Quinn, William B. Davis.
- Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (2011) Aka. Tiffany vs Deborah Gibson:
- Sharknado (2013) Ian Ziering, Tara Reid. Nuff Said
- Big Ass Spider (2013) Mike Mendez with Greg Grunberg.
- Mega Cyclone aka Superstorm (2011) – With Mitch Pileggi a.k.a, Skinner from the X-Files
While you may not be completely sold on the genre, or maybe like me you were a believer from day one, it’s hard not to get caught up in the cultural zeitgeist as everyone continues to analyze the crap out of the “Sharknado,” and its succesors in an series of epic Tweetstorms online. Speculating on the title of it’s sequel(s) opened a whole new can of worms, in the Twitterverse, which thankfully the enthusiastic fans have jumped on! But, for me, the mindless fun of Sharknado and it’s fellow SyFy movies will continue to provide a cathartic release, of laughter, from all my daily frustrations… and the heat.