Getting Eaten by a Shark in Kansas Never Seemed More Possible.

Last week, I wrote about disaster movies. Imagine my horrified bemusement, then, when I woke up this morning to realize that #SharkNado struck the airwaves last night, and somehow, we weren’t prepared. The gory aftermath was splattered all over my Twitter.

It started with this:

#SHARKNADO (7/12/13)

Which drove me straight into the bowels of the internets. I had to find out all about it.

(This may or may not be related to Callaghan interrupting my train of thought just now to say, “Hey Baby – we need to start making a food stash.”  Seriously! He didn’t know that I was writing about this! The sixth sense is a funny thing.)



So, a Sharknado is a storm in which great numbers of some species of shark – I’m assuming Great Whites, from the looks of it – come raining down onto the land from a Category 5 monstrosity broiling over the sea. Meteorologists have no doubt already taken note that the eyes of these storms are special. For one thing, they’re lateral.

Now, I’m not a film critic. But if I were a film critic, and if I had the task of reviewing #SharkNado, the first thing I’d do is call out the omission of Samuel L. Jackson. Samuel L. Jackson was in Jurassic Park, and, of course, Snakes on a Plane, two of my all-time favorite disaster movies. Because this was the one thought pounding through my head as the trailer wound down:


Major casting FAIL.

That is all.

Thrashing around in the Throes

“Mr. Hammond, after careful consideration, I’ve decided not to endorse your park.” (Jurassic Park)

What a great conclusion! What valleys of chaos traversed to reach it! (Hmm, if we were to return to our wilderness home in France, would we find T-Rex and Velociraptor tracks in our wake?) Humans seem to thrive on mayhem. What is it about disaster – especially violent disaster – that mesmerizes us?

“I wonder if robots will ever watch Terminator and figure out that they’re supposed to kill the humans,” Callaghan mused as we were eating our salad the other night. “Maybe it’s the movie that’s going to trigger everything!”

Indeed. When it comes to entertaining ourselves with disaster, it’s not enough for people to kill other people. Nature killing people isn’t enough, either. We need robots to kill us, too.

For me, it’s clowns… call me a traditionalist, or maybe just a person with a weak imagination. For those of you who were wondering, the incessant buzz over World War Z extinguished my preoccupation with zombies. Main-streaming the topic to that over-budgeted extent in a “summer action blockbuster” production finally killed it for me. (I enjoyed Zombieland, but even that was borderline. We did try to watch Warm Bodies recently, but we lost interest not even halfway through, and couldn’t finish it. When it comes to zombie movies, nothing does it for me like Shaun of the Dead.) World War Z might be a great movie, and I might really like it, but its making dethroned zombies from the top of my list of dark, fantastical obsessions. My horror sensibilities are stimulated most effectively in the more obscure tunnels of pop culture. Reading the hundredth little article on the production troubles of WWZ, I turned back to clowns with a perverse nod of respect and restored to them their hold on the freak-out center of my brain.

Clowns scare me because those colorfully diabolical characters embody the insane. Insanity means complexity, and the more complex something is, the more there is to fear. Clowns also tend to be smart, and that makes them terrifyingly unpredictable. Zombies are brainless and therefore completely predictable, engendering fear in the opposite way. (If we use this comparison as a political analogy, which would be the scarier party, then, the Clowns or the Zombies?)

Plus, clowns’ origins can be found in nature. This explains everything:


Am I right?