Up until last year, The Boneyard topped my list of movies that are so bad that they are awesome. What could possibly be better than a horror movie featuring Phyllis Diller and an eight foot tall zombie poodle?
Why, a tornado full of sharks, of course.
If you missed out on 2013’s smash hit, Sharknado, starring Beverly Hills 90210‘s Ian Ziering as Finn the former surfing star, and American Pie‘s Tara Reid as April, his ex-wife, I’ll give you a quick run down of the plot: Something something sharks, something tornado, something SHARKS. IN. A. TORNADO.
How did such an improbable scenario become a success? Well, blame the internet for that one. The SyFy channel (or SPACE for me in Canada) is well known for its high B-movie programming. SyFy takes great pride in promoting these made-for-TV-movies with commercial spots and plugs across their various social mediums online. For whatever reason, they went above and beyond with Sharknado and the result speaks for itself. Not only was the hashtag #Sharknado garnering 5000 tweets per minute last year according to PopMatters.com, its subsequent re-airings pulled in approximately 2.1 million viewers.
And earned not one, but two sequels (so far), which brings us to Sharknado 2: The Second One (as named by fans). With the buzz already through the roof thanks to the previous film, the stakes somehow had to be raised. But SyFy did not disappoint, with apps and party kits and further evidence that SyFy fully understands the power of social media to make even the worst movie into the best thing ever.
Personally, I think there’s a bit more to Sharknado’s success than just the social media promotion. I can’t say I’m a B-movie connoisseur, but I’ve watched enough to offer an opinion. What I liked most about Sharknado was that the acting wasn’t that bad and at no point did it take itself seriously. It found the right balance of action and exposition, and the cheesy one-liners were always delivered with the right amount of punch. The sequel did all of this and more, with the added bonus of lots more people wanting to get into the bigger boat.
Ever since Minority Report took product placement to a whole new level, I’ve had an eye on the concept when I watch a movie or television show. I was surprised that so few sponsors jumped on the Sharknado train, but pleased and amused by the companies that did, most notably, Subway. Not only did the restaurant chain join in the livetweeting fun, its official spokesperson, Jared, made a very special appearance.
If you don’t like tweets about sharks and/or ‘nados, you’ve come to the wrong place because we’re live-tweeting #Sharknado2 starting now.
— SUBWAY Restaurants (@SUBWAY) July 31, 2014
But of course, what we’re really here for is the unnatural phenomenon that Al Roker excitedly and adamantly explains to Matt Lauer is not a “shark storm,” but a “sharknado.” And two of the toothy twisters are going to hit Manhattan at once!
No one is quite sure how the science of this meteorological event works, but if you are really trying to logic a movie about sharks raining down on New York, then you may have missed the point. I had to pull the suspension of disbelief card (+5) a few times on my husband before he finally gave up, leaving my friend Lisa and I to giggle and point from the comfort of the couch. Her husband had refused to join us, saying that he’d rather be eaten by a shark. I’m sure there are many other people who cannot comprehend why seemingly rational adults of all ages are so excited about a movie this absurd, but like I said, they are missing out. B-movies are about shutting off your brain and enjoying the stupid. Alcohol can help with this concept.
It’s clear to me that everyone involved in making Sharknado 2 happen–from creators to actors to fans–had a blast. That kind of energy is hard to deny and I am right up there with everyone else, happily jumping the shark infested skies.