SCREAM FEST: Anthony C. Ferrante’s ‘Sharknado’

MV5BOTE2OTk4MTQzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODUxOTM3OQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_It’s that time of year again. Halloween means Scream Fest around here. This year, I’m starting with the almost immediate cult (sort of) classic, “Sharknado” (2013), directed by Anthony C. Ferrante.

Originally airing on SyFy last July, “Sharknado” ridiculously follows the disjointed story of a few semi-pals trying to escape the inexplicable shark-infested tropical storm while simultaneously trying to save all of humanity–or at least Santa Monica–from the freak weather incident. The hero, Fin Sheperd (Ian Ziering of “Beverly Hills, 90210” fame); his almost-30-years-younger quasi-crush and employee, Nova Clarke (Cassandra Screbo), and his chiseled Australian buddy, Baz Hogan (Jaason Simmons), team up to…drive around for most of the movie. They occasionally slice sharks with chainsaws in mid-flight (meaning the sharks actually flew at them from one of three sharknadoes that touch down in Santa Monica).

To its credit, the movie makes some attempts at substance, with a couple daddy-daughter and daddy-son and daddy-ex-wife moments thrown in there. However out of place these scenes are, at least they tried. The film coaxes the audience to go along with a plot line that Fin must save his family from impending shark-induced doom at all costs. Even if it means driving through computer-generated waves and water that sweep every other vehicle off the road but Fin’s own.

sharknadoThe most amazing thing about this movie is not the movie itself, but the public’s immediate reaction to it. When the movie came out more than a year ago, it was all anyone could talk about on Twitter, Facebook, radio and television. If there was a way to slip “Sharknado” in any broadcast or social media outlet, someone would find a way. One of my coworkers even printed out a picture of the sharknado when I had to cover a news story on storms that postponed last year’s trick-or-treating in our area.

One thing no one can deny: “Sharknado” isn’t just out in left field; it’s playing its own ballgame, which, I suppose, is what all filmmakers hope their movie does.

In a script that is both inspired by and completely rips off Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” (from a panicked beach scene in which Fin commands everyone to get out of the water to Nova tweaking the classic line to say, “You’re gonna need a bigger chopper”), “Sharknado” is nothing if not bizarre and entertaining.

Oh. And there’s a sequel.

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