This summer, #SyFy and The Asylum continue their absurd cult hit Sharknado franchise with Sharknado: Global Swarming. It's the fifth movie in a franchise that should have, by all reasonable expectations, been dead by now.
How does the Sharknado series continue to stay fresh and keep audiences entertained? The secret is that over the course of the franchise, it's evolved from B-horror movies with a disaster movie at their centers to disaster movies with a B-horror movie at their centers. This is why SyFy can take a crazy idea like a tornado full of sharks and keep making TV movies that are new and different each time.
To B-Movie Or Not To B-Movie, That Is The Question
The first #Sharknado movie didn't have a large budget like The Walking Dead. They still don't. The cheesy special effects in Sharknado spoke to its wacky camp that made the preposterous idea of combining a tornado with sharks so much fun. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, visual effects supervisor Emile Smith even stated this was the look and feel they were going for to tell the story:
“There wasn’t going to be ground-breaking [effects] ... [The work was about] how we could tell the story and make it a fun story."
This use of visuals is evident in the climatic scene where Fin bursts out of the shark's gut with his chainsaw when everyone thought he was eaten alive.
It wasn't just the budget that made Sharknado a B-movie. The headlining actors were #IanZiering (Fin Shepard) from 90210 fame and #TaraReid (April Wexler) known for her roles in the American Pie movies. Both of these actors weren't even on the B-list at the time they were cast, their stars having fallen far. Yet, these two would become the main staples in the following sequels.
After the success of Sharknado, audiences were clamoring for more. Syfy and The Asylum decided to give their fans some more shark-filled fun and created Sharknado 2: The Second One, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! and Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens the following summers. As the tornadoes kept flinging the sharks, the sharknadoes kept bringing in more money and that snowball effect reflected in each sequel. Even the sequel titles mirror the evolution of the franchise's production values with every movie.
'Sharknado' Chomps On The Disaster Movie Genre
With the modest success, it only made sense to up the value of the movies that followed, and that's when the series started to shift toward the disaster movie genre. Sequels included bigger set pieces like the scene in #Sharknado2TheSecondOne where Fin and his son are attacked by the sharknado at Citi Field in New York City, echoing disaster flicks that are localized to one city like San Andreas and Dante's Peak.
Likewise, it's the scene where the head of the Statue of Liberty comes tumbling down that we are reminded of the other disaster movie staple of a famous landmark being destroyed. And yet a third common trope: In the midst of the disaster, characters have to do everything they can to survive by using whatever is at their disposal. In the Sharknado movies, the characters find increasingly outlandish ways to stay alive: April attaches a circular saw to her hand that is bitten off by a shark (a nice nod to B-movie Army of Darkness), and Fin is resuscitated by using two sharks as shock paddles in #Sharknado4The4thAwakens.
It's really this fourth movie that Sharknado takes hold of the disaster genre. Until then, our plucky protagonists only had to deal with your regular sharks-meet-tornado scenario, but in the fourth movie, they up the stakes to a ridiculous degree. Here sharknadoes have combined with other elements to turn into new 'nados: oilnado, bouldernado, firenado and even a cownado. As Fin and his family move from Las Vegas back to Kansas, these types of hybrid tornados just happen to follow.
With this devastatingly dangerous new twist and multiple cities added to the story, the Sharknado movies start to broaden in scope in other ways, introducing new characters and special cameos. Don't think for a moment your are going to see an A-List actor like George Clooney or Gal Gadot appearing, though. Sharknado 2: The Second One and the other sequels still retain their B-movie roots by bringing in stars of the past that retain their own cult following such as David Hasselhoff and Gary Busey.
What's In Store For 'Sharknado 5: Global Warming'?
It looks like #Sharknado5 will go even further into disaster porn. In the just released trailer, the sharknadoes are now destroying cities (and their famous landmarks) all over the world. According the list of cameos, there are even more actors signed up to appear in the film. Hope Fin can find a bigger chainsaw!
Just as the trailer asks, in big, bold letters, "You See Where This Is Going...Right?", we knew it was inevitable. It was just a matter of time before the sharknadoes started wreaking havoc in other parts of the world. No matter what buildings they destroy, we will continue to cheer Fin and crew on as the smash and bash any shark that comes flying their way. Because underneath all the destruction and semi-famous actors, there's a little B-horror movie at the center that snared our funny bones and will keep us entertained until the last sharknado spits out its last shark.
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming will premiere on August 6, 2017, only on Syfy.
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)