The massively successful SyFy franchise Sharknado hit at-home viewers by storm, or you could say that it hit at home viewers with a storm—a storm full of sharks that is. The reaction, as you can probably imagine, went swimmingly. Viewers loved it so much that Sharknado just broke ground with a fourth installment. That means this franchise now officially has more films to its name than The Godfather and many other classic franchises as well. With so many films, its story continues to unravel. It’s brimming with quirky details, inside jokes and Easter eggs (hidden messages that make films like Sharknado so campily great).
Think you’ve fleshed out everything there is to see so far? You might be surprised to learn that you haven’t. From its shocking back story to the tales told by the stars themselves, Sharknado has way more surprises up its sleeves than anybody bargained for. This is a film that has touched on just about every pop culture reference and featured just about every YouTube, TV, film and reality star around and it all happened with a wink of the eye and a slap of the knee. One reporter raved that Sharknado was immensely popular because it made everyone watching feel like they were in on the joke. But here’s the catch. What if the joke was that the movie actually isn’t a joke and the waters you’re watching run way deeper than you think? Here are 16 ridiculous facts that nobody told you about these films.
16. It Could Happen
Sharknado finds its roots in the sheer outlandishness of its scenario. Call it what you will— a gory comedy, tongue-in-cheek cinema, a sci-fi disaster or all of the above, the one thing you probably wouldn’t call it is a nonfictional production. However, from a scientific perspective, the premise of Sharknado is entirely possible. The phenomenon of raining fish (and other animals too, by the way) is an unusual type of precipitation that happens as a result of filtering dust particles combined with excessive levels of saline throughout the air. As a result, the Pacific Northwest has experienced rainstorms inclusive of fish, toads and frogs. Talk about stormy weather. Historically speaking, there have even been instances where it has rained snakes, maggots and shredded meat! Suddenly makes you wonder where the cartoon Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs found its origin now doesn’t it? Once again, fact trumps fiction in the land of the strange.
15. Australia’s Already Had A Close Call
Just a few days ago, a live shark mysteriously washed up on the roadside in a charming region of Southern Australia; a place ironically known as One Tree Hill. The shark was indeed, alive at the time of its discovery, forcing police into a seemingly ridiculous investigation. That day, they dedicated a great deal of time to ruling out the possibility of a real life Sharknado. Sadly, the phenomenal fish they found in a puddle on the side of the road did not survive the ordeal but it is notable to point out the fact that it was very much alive at the time of its discovery and, as such, quite capable of biting anyone who came across its path. By the way, if you like a little One Tree Hill in your Sharknado, then you’ll love the next twist. It’s actually a twister that sweeps up a One Tree Hill star but doesn’t take him as far as he had hoped …
14. Syfy Bomb Stonado Was Actually Sharknado’s Predecessor
A show that featured a seemingly similar plotline with a twist, or rather a twister, was also produced by the SyFy channel. This effort was filed under the title of Stonado. Oddly, producers claim the stone version predated the shark version. It featured a star-studded cast, including One Tree Hill actor Paul Johansson, among others. Although the odds seemed to be in favor of the film, audiences did not gravitate to the “Rocks> Catapult>Boston” rendition of Sharknado and the production tanked in every way imaginable. We can only presume that the general public is more intrigued by sea creatures than meteors. Despite the underwhelming reception of Stonado, Johansson continues to be a dedicated actor. In the heyday of his hit series, he filmed an entire episode while suffering from full-blown pneumonia. He later referred to himself as “one of the most evil men on TV.” We certainly hope more storms are in store for the driven actor.
13. Sharknado Was Made Famous By Twitter
One key ingredient for the success that Sharknado had and Stonado lacked was a rather avid Twitter following. Had the film been released a decade ago, the franchise might just have been buried under the sea so to speak. It was the Syfy channel’s Twitter fan base that brought Sharknado fever to the forefront of the general public and henceforth, the top of the Twitter trending topic feed. Syfy cultivated millions of fans for the series by conjuring up a memorable tagline and keeping the audience in on the joke. The idea that a mega-monster movie with a tongue already in the cheek approach to Jaws was touching down intrigued people and a niche fan base was born. By the time the made-for-TV movie aired for its third consecutive run, a record breaking 2.1 million viewers were already caught up in Syfy’s shark net. The Sharknado hashtag peaked at about 5,000 tweets per minute and that was only the onset of what the future had in store. One notable factor that turned the film on its fin for sure, was the celebrity twitter response. Famous Fans of the absurd series include Wil Wheaton who tweeted:
“We lost the night to #SharkNado? What the hell is that?” – every non-syfy network executive tomorrow morning.
Mia Farrow who tweeted:
Omg omg OMG #sharknado
And Kurt Loder who tweeted:
“If they’re gonna drop something in the tornado, they should’ve taken Tara up with them… #Sharknado”
Prior to twitter, celebrity cameos were reserved for onscreen appearances. Sharknado serves as full proof that is no longer the case. The buzz began on the feed. The silver screen simply followed suit.
12. Some Of The Most Intellectual Tweeters On The Planet Are Stumped By Sharknado’s Complex Plotline
As you can see from the tweet above, Sharknado features a complex plot that’s difficult for many to understand and to follow. If you happen to be in the same boat as this Twitter fan (get it—the same boat?) here’s an overview of the mystifying series. Samuel L. Jackson is aboard an aircraft that happens to also be transporting a slew of highly venomous, extremely aggressive snakes. The snakes are bent on taking out the aircraft’s passengers as well as the crew. Jackson, portraying the role of FBI agent Sean Jones, must prove his valiance against the…Wait a minute… No. Sharknado might not be about snakes after all. It’s possible that the movie Sharknado has something to do with sharks and possibly also tornadoes. That would be pretty tricky though, to summarize the entire film in the title and just leave the rest up to our imaginations. We do like the brief but accurate description in the comment section, Vegas Death, although we get the feeling that title totally deserves its own movie. Those folks at Syfy sure know how to keep an audience guessing. Only a rocket scientist could be certain of this twisted plot. Speaking of rockets though…
11. It’s Really A Space Movie
Don’t let the sharks fool you. Sharknado is a total space odyssey at heart. To prove it, the franchise is literally swimming in Star Wars and Star Trek tributes including a severed limb light saber, a Star Wars inspired promo poster, Han Solo quotations and the now notorious space buccaneer David Hasselhoff “going where no man has gone before”. Of course the sharks can handle life in orbit. Their journey into the outer limits makes a great deal of sense when you consider the fact that Sharknado contains several other elements exemplary of a subgenre space opera movie, even without the pop culture references. Among them are space warfare, futuristic artillery, fantastical adventure, romance centered on chivalry, and advanced technology. There are even several rocket scientists in the film’s fourth installment, many of whom are celebrity cameos. We’ll cover those in just a second but first, please redirect your attention to the first weapon mentioned. Yes. Severed limb light sabers are a thing now thanks to Sharknado.
10. The Franchise Proves Once And For All That Hollywood Has A Severed Limb Turned Weapon Fetish
We’ve long suspected that somebody in a sought after director’s chair was secretly fantasizing about sawing women’s body parts off and reassembling them as torpedoes. Now we know it’s true. The Sharknado franchise has, once again, proven that this freak fetish will continue resurfacing on the big screen in the strangest of ways. Other movies that have depicted these cybernetic severed limbs turned weapons include Planet Terror which featured Rose McGowan in a prosthetic machine gun leg and The Machine Girl which put lead character Ami Hyūga in the position of wearing a fully locked and loaded arm. Spoiler alert: In the Fourth Awakens, lead Sharknado actress Tara Reid becomes a full on cyborg after a shark attack leaves her mutilated and her body becomes an arsenal to wield against the feeding frenzy. Reid’s role in the franchise is a pivotal one. The only reason she lived to tell the fourth shark tale is because of viewers like you. Oh, and by the way…
9. You Co-Wrote Sharknado Without Even Knowing It
Audience participation is the lifeline of the entire Sharknado series so if you’re watching the films, best believe you’re also one of the writers, whether you know it or not. Sharknado is one of just a handful of franchises that lets its viewers decide what does and doesn’t happen on-screen. Following the finale of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, fans were encouraged to cast their ballots in the decision box to determine April’s fate. It truly was a matter of life or death but it wasn’t the only vote that helped mold this series into existence. Fan input has basically been writing this script since launch. So, if you haven’t been able to sink your teeth into the series, you could be partly to blame either because your input was not well received or worse, because you kept your mouth shut regarding a series that was all Jaws. Get it? “All Jaws…”
8. Tara Reid’s Body Was Mutilated In Real Life Too
You’d never guess this by looking at her now but Tara Reid’s been through the ringer physically. While sharks didn’t attack this stunning starlet’s six pack, plastic surgery left her mutilated and scarred for life. In the wake of 2004, entering into the height of what looked to be a very promising future, the Sharknado cyborg experienced a body and soul altering event when the world was accidentally shown pictures of her botched breast augmentation. The star later confessed to feeling pressured into altering her already trim figure. At the time, she was a B cup weighing 110 pounds. Feeling the urgency of fame and riding the wave of surgical enhancement, she never expected such changes would leave her emotionally shaken and out of work. Unfortunately though, they did and while Ms. Reid has since repaired the physical damage, her self esteem still needs a bit of TLC. In a very candid interview, she referred to her stomach as a “bulgy thing” and swore she’d never be “perfect again.” To say we disagree would be an understatement.
7. Sharknado Is Swimming In Obscure References
Famous people made this franchise famous and not just because of their tweets either. The films are flooded with pop culture references and celebrity cameos, some of which are quite ironic and accompanied by inside jokes. You could spend days picking these films apart and still not catch every single cameo and hidden message but here are a few to look for that you could easily have missed:
The jaws license plate seen in Sharknado 3, which ironically, might have been inspired by James Bond
The license plate from Ian Zeiring’s 90210 corvette
The Wizard of Oz lingo nestled into the Stacey Dash cameo
George R.R. Martin, author of the Game of Thrones cameo
Judd Hirsch from Taxi driving a taxi
Pepa from Salt N Peppa gets assaulted much like the name of her hip hop album
Lori Greiner of Shark Tank appears
Subway spokesperson Jared Scot Fogle can be seen eating a subway sandwich while in the subway with a subway sign looming behind him
The Back to the Future clock tower reference
6. All Of This Is Taking Place Just A Few Towns Away From Where The Leprechaun Is Pillaging
Which would you prefer— decapitation by shark or a Leprechaun playing pogo on your lung? In the Sharknado-verse, surviving one of these events would only put you in danger of facing the other. That is because a line from the equally hilarious gore-fest Leprechaun’s Revenge served as inspiration for the movie. According to Sharknado screenwriter Thunder Levin, the talk of a “Sharknado” hitting a nearby town in the motion picture Leprechaun’s Revenge spawned early thoughts of this twisted shark tale that is now a Sci-fi success in every sense of the word. Striking similarities between both movies are easy to point out. Celebrity cameos, plays on words, inside jokes, and of course, extreme absurdity have helped to propel both the Leprechaun and the tornadoes of sharks to the hall of fame. What we all want to know now is, will there be a movie where these two horrific worlds collide, perhaps someone who survives the shark attack only to meet a deadly fate by Leprechaun or vice versa?
5. Lead Actor Ian Ziering Is All About The Health Care
Ian Ziering of Sharknado, Celebrity Apprentice and 90210 has certainly seen his share of pitfalls and successes. Initially, the blonde shark-hunter signed on for the quirky, campy shark series because he desperately needed healthcare. The fact that someone with so many acting notches under his belt could be in the position of needing health care coverage says a lot about the makers of 90210 and possibly hints at what’s to come in the event of an actual Trump presidency. As for Ziering, he got his benefits and they were more than he ever could have bargained for. The massive success of these ‘Nado films came as quite the surprise for him. In order to pay back his rite of passage, he has since raised more than $300,000 to fund medical research related to the skin disease Epidermolysis Bullosa. It’s clear that supporting the medical community is pretty high on this actor’s list of priorities. He also seems to have a fondness for exotic corvette convertibles. We see nothing wrong with that.
4. The Sharks Are Surprisingly Agile Despite Being In A Tornado
We have to give a ton of credit to the sharks in this franchise. They manage to dodge showers of bullets, chainsaws, garden tools, and even light sabers- all while being trapped in incredibly gusty tornadoes. “What is their secret?” you might ask yourself as you witness them maneuvering like no other creature on the planet. Well, folks, it’s all in the mechanics or rather, the lack thereof. Many viewers have pointed out the fact that the sharks look very, very fake, to the point of resembling robots. This led the masses to believe these sharks were mechanical. Surprise. Surprise. As it turns out, all of the sharks in the Sharknado franchise films are digital; hence their uncanny ability to dodge any bullet or garden tool in their paths. Furthermore, these tornadoes are equally impressive in their ability to decipher the difference between sharks and other sea creatures like, say, starfish for instance. When questioned about these strangely selective tornadoes, writers of the franchise basically told their fans,”Just go with it.” What a ride it’s been.
3. The First Sharknado Was Filmed In 18 Days
For some reason, this span of time seems too long and yet too short for cinema of this caliber. When you think about the length of time it takes to film most blockbusters, even the indie ones are likely to take months. On the other hand, the campy nature of the production leads us to believe they might have been able to film the entire series in just a few days. Either way, the number is equally astounding. Recently, Ian Ziering was quoted as saying that it reads like a $200 million movie. As if to signify the end of summer and the tone of the new season, the Sharknado storm has again come and run its course. Thus far, this made-for-TV film series has taken the lives of multiple celebrities and raked in over $19 million in cold hard cash and the profits are ever growing. That said, fans of the hit series should still be on the lookout for other ‘Nados including oilnados, firenados and the like. But don’t worry- there will not be any more Stonados. That much is pretty certain.
2. Be On The Lookout For Sharknado Inspired Chainsaw Athletic Wear
Sharknado actor Ian Ziering is taking the sharks out of space and putting them in your gym bags with his preppy/campy clothing line “Chainsaw.” From baseball caps to polo shirts, tank tops, belts, and custom tees, you won’t want to go golfing without some signature Chainsaw branded apparel if you’re a true Sharknado fan. What makes the clothing line so ridiculous? Much like the movie, it takes itself way too seriously. The logo, two chainsaws crossing one another, perfectly satires sophisticated brands without going too far over the top. Even the advertisements intentionally poke fun at product placement. Our personal favorites from the current lineup are the preppy button down dress shirts. You could easily wear one into your place of business and very few people would catch on to the joke unless you pointed it out to them. Another added cool point stems from the fact that Mr. Ziering chose the chainsaw to symbolize his most iconic role rather than the sharks. Such a creative twist. Speaking of creative twists, Sharknado’s lobbed one last curveball you might not have seen coming. It’s number one.
1.The Movie’s About The Darker Side Of Man, Not The Darker Side Of Sharks
This is the twist few people understood, the joke that went untold if you will. It turns out that one of the shallowest movies of all time actually had a deep point. Are we all so self absorbed that we missed the most obvious tragedy about the film? The sharks, with their wide open, protruding, razor edged teeth, were really the protagonists of the film. Thunder Levin explained this briefly during a 2013 interview when he posed the pivotal question, “what does it say about humans?”
And there you have it. Now you can watch the entire series again with this one thought in mind and the story will unfold pretty tragically. A swirling, selective tornado that picks up only sharks is hurling the massive sea creatures, wielding them well out of their own habitat, taking them as far as space and into places as daunting as Orlando. Can you imagine what a horrifying sight Sea World must have been for the poor guys. Just when they think it can’t possibly get any worse, along come the humans. And what do we do? Do we try to save them from their preposterous fate? No. We attack them with chainsaws, light sabers, garden tools and pretty much anything else we can get our hands, severed or unsevered, on.