‘Sharknado’ Takes Albuquerque on August 2nd

Casey St. Charnez - July 29, 2013

"'Sharknado' will play Albuquerque’s Regal Cottonwood Stadium 16 for one day only Friday, August 2nd. Make that one night only, as it’s a midnight show, one of 200 across the nation."

Now here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: A made-for-the-SyFy Channel movie is coming to a theater near you.

More or less.

“Sharknado” will play Albuquerque’s Regal Cottonwood Stadium 16 for one day only Friday, August 2nd. Make that one night only, as it’s a midnight show, one of 200 across the nation. Santa Fe won’t get it--Albuquerque is the sole playdate in the state.

Be advised that it will have a somewhat staggering $12.50 admission, pretty steep for a flick you can catch on cable. Nor will it differ from the TV version, as there are no deleted scenes or extra gory bits. The “additional footage” they’re advertising is a documentary featurette and a gag reel.

Nevertheless, it could be worth it. Regal Entertainment sees “Sharknado” as a burgeoning cult item, in which crowd reaction enhances the experience. Rather than the usual (and blessed) banning of cell phone use in the auditorium, Regal is encouraging electronic discourse while the watery epic unspools.

“Sharknado,” with Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, and John Heard, is about a freak hurricane that hits Los Angeles and dumps hordes of ravenous beasties into the flooded streets, turning every front lawn into a bloody beach. When it premiered on the tube July 13th, it inspired an unprecedented 5,000 tweets and 600,000 social media notices. This, despite a lackluster rating of only about 1.4 million viewers who caught its first go-round. Both SyFy and Regal are promoting it as being unique.

It was produced by The Asylum, which has made nearly 300 movies over the last 21 years. Almost all of them are rip-offs of better-known theatrical features. Among them: “Jack the Giant Killer” (instead of “Slayer”), “Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies” (not “Vampire Hunter”), “The Amityville Haunting” (not “Horror”), “Almighty Thor” (not just plain “Thor”), “Transmorphers” (a ditto of “Transformers”), “Snakes on a Train” (a grounded “Plane”), and “30,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (or, fully 10,000 more than Jules Verne ever imagined).

They’ve also shot those crazy mash-ups for which SyFy has become notorious, titles like “Mega Piranha,” “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus,” “Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus,” and “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid,” not to mention “Megafault.” If the prefix “Mega” were declared illegal, Asylum would go out of business.

Asylum also made “2-Headed Shark Attack,” one of several bactoidally themed toothy extravaganzas broadcast in a marathon on SyFy last Saturday. Although I adamantly do not approve of the demonization of sharks, these marvelous creatures have been resident movie villains since “Jaws,” which invented the summer movie nearly 40 years ago.

Still, I’ll always watch a shark flick. That Saturday, I caught the ones I hadn’t already seen on SyFy, including “Super Shark,” “Swamp Shark,” and the delightful “2-Headed Shark Attack.” A rerun of “Sharknado” came on last, during which SyFy solicited viewer submissions for the already announced 2014 sequel to be set in New York City. Tweeted suggestions for “Sharknado 2” included “Twist and Shark,” “Bloodbath on Broadway,” “Times Square Shark Scare,” and, my fave, “The Jawsey Shore.” (Myself, I suggested both “Sharknado Bites the Big Apple” and “Sharknado Takes Manhattan.”)

Having seen “Sharknado,” I have to admit it’s better than most SyFy fodder…which is not to say it’s good, only better. It’s fairly outrageous, with occasional left-of-center dialog serving as a semaphore that the director Anthony Ferrante (“Boo,” “Headless Horseman”) and writer Thunder--his real name--Levin (“Mutant Vampire Zombies From the ‘Hood!”) are thoroughly in on the joke. And it was amusing to see a shark drop from the sky and take out a helicopter, or to witness the disengaged ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier rolling through the city. All things considered, it’s not a bad time in your den. It could be an even better time in the theater. Laughter unites people.

The Regal Cottonwood Stadium 16 is on the west side of the Rio Grande at 10000 Coors Blvd., in the Cottonwood Mall. For more info, call (505)-897-5919. You can also check out www.regmovies.com, or use the Regal app.

PS: I very much liked the very last word in the end titles of the movie, so I shall use it here: