BitDepth#896 - July 30

There are bad movies and then there are baaaaddd movies, films so unremittingy and unapologetically awful that they create their own powerful undertow. Sci Fi channel's Sharknado is an outstanding example of the genre.
And then…Sharknado
The absolute mind-bending terror and bravura defiance of physics are captured in this still from The Asylum’s new film Sharknado.

For most of this decade the SyFy channel has been beating a steady but determined retreat from considered and contemplative series television to one-off, high-concept and low-budget explorations of no-class cinema.
Most of this stuff is unwatchable, but some of it aspires to the clueless auteur class of the works of Ed Wood and Roger Corman.

On the altar of such cinema have countless blocks of 90 minutes, never to be seen again, been cheerfully sacrificed.
It's been a while since I've found something as delightfully appalling as Plan 9 from outer space or Battle beyond the stars, but it looks as if film studio The Asylum have crafted a viable contender in the ongoing race to the cinematic cellar with its new film

This is a film that bundles the primal excitement of the tornado film Twister with the visceral lizard-brain terror of Jaws to craft a movie experience that will have you looking skyward nervously at the first sign of the thunderstorms.
Who hasn't woken up at three in the morning, drenched in sweat with the vivid fear of a ton's worth of angry shark arcing down from the sky to swallow you with a clean gulp of their mighty maw?

Under the sure hand of director Anthony C Fernando, Sharknado gets going early. An idyllic day at the beach, full of flirtatious glances and jet skis, which spookily appears to be happening at both midday and late evening, is suddenly interrupted by the ravages of a marauding shark.
So far so good. We're on sound, if familiar territory, as a hottie disappears in a churn of red.

But no, this is just the prelude to the terrors which has await as a school of ravenous sharks make a beachhead on the unwary paddlers who foolishly believed that crazy talk of sharks avoiding shallow water.
No sooner has panic ensued in the shoals than thunderstorms roll in, churning up towering waterspouts and huge waves which bring these militant aquatic predators onto roadways and into sewer lines.
In your world, rushing seawater is likely to bring salt corrosion and seaweed, in the awesome universe of Sharknado, it ferries man-eating sea life.

But nature isn't content to launch a ground-level assault in Sharknado, for this film we are introduced to the HALO jump specialists of the species, the few, the proud, the deadliest of sharks, those willing to be swept up in a waterspout and land vengefully on a beach community.
How unfortunate for them to have chosen so unwisely in selecting a town capable of fending off rope climbing sharks with a pistol, a shotgun, a chainsaw and a particularly lethal bar stool.

I gasped to see the deadly Stoop of Sparta employed in the film, a move lost to history in which the warrior kneels with his weapon held aloft above him while the opponent’s momentum overhead proves their doom. And it’s a throw away moment before the touching chainsaw nativity scene that’s the special effects climax of the film.
Reputed to be used by Leonidas against the rampaging elephants of Persia, the Stoop split the animals from nostril to cute little tail when they charged his forces.

If more people knew the amazing and stunning fight techniques buried in our histories, they would surely spend more time with Herodotus and Sun Tzu than they do with John Woo and Justin Lin. But I digress, both fiercely and fictionally.

Sharknado is a bravura film, with courageous thespians who used their actual names as they performed before green screens reacting to SFX sharks and even more absentee actors.
It takes a lot of courage to make a film like this, more than you'd think, but it takes far more to plan its sequel.

Having spasms of terror after experiencing Sharknado? Here’s some recent news about the rise in shark attacks.
Fair's fair. It was Time’s review of Sharknado that tipped me off that this was a film to watch out for.
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