Daily Archives: 13/09/2013

Holy Sharknado – that’s high concept!

Yesterday, I watched Sharknado. For anyone who has had the misfortune not to have heard of this truly astonishing piece of filmmaking this is, indeed, the story of a tornado – with sharks!

My husband tells me it’s a straight-to-video modern, cult classic.  He was so excited about this morsel of event TV that he waited a whole two days for my return from Wales so we could watch it together.  Isn’t that sweet?

Let’s be clear: this film is absolutely as ridiculous as it sounds.  Sadly, no-one seems to have told the cast who, bless their hearts, try to play it straight throughout.  Tara Reid, in particular, makes regular use of her go-to expression of incredulous horror: shark crashes through living room window – gasp in incredulous horror! Boyfriend chomped in two by said shark – gasp in incredulous horror! House collapses as shark apparently brings swimming pool inside (not 100 per cent sure this was what was supposed to be happening, but it was a bit difficult to tell) – gasp in incredulous horror!

Sharknado - a still from the film. Yes, really.

Sharknado – a still from the film. Yes, really.

Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

I believe this is what is known as “high concept”, i.e. an idea so bizarre/exciting/barking mad that it’s virtually a story in its own right.  Wikipedia defines it thus: “High concept narratives are typically characterised by an overarching ‘what if?’ scenario that acts as a catalyst for the following events.” So Snakes on a Plane, Planet of the Apes, Jurassic Park, etc.

Sharknado goes one better in my book – not only a film where the title neatly sets out the concept in question, but one where it introduces a word sandwich into the bargain!

In honour of the never-to-be repeated cinematic experience of watching Sharknado (two hours of my life I’ll never see again), I thought I’d have a go at my own high concept word sandwich film titles.

Buckle up, people, here we go…

Trollcano: in which the once-in-a-century eruption of a deadly volcano releases a troll from the earth’s core to terrorise the inhabitants of Iceland.  [Note to studio: I’m open to persuasion on the location.]

Gatorgeddon:  A population explosion amongst New York’s sewer-roaming alligators results in a trail of death and destruction across Manhattan.  There’s a great scene with a little boy sitting on the loo reading “How doth the little crocodile” when – snap! I’m telling you, it would work like a dream for the trailers.

Apocalizards: Basically the same, but with giant komodo dragons.

ApoCalypso: An evil genius has poisioned the world’s supply of orange flavoured soft drinks.

Apocalipids: The obesity epidemic meets crisis point.

Dinosorgy: Dinosaurs have been brought back to roam the earth (I’ll work out how later – perhaps something involving DNA extracted from amber) but the scientists have got something wrong.  These dinosaurs are sex-crazed maniacs.  Fixated on finding mates, they wreak all kinds of devastation across the country – a veritable orgy of destruction! Like the double meaning? Note too the Twilight-like moral message to teens everywhere! This one has to be a winner.

Psyclone: A wind sweeping the country gives those who inhale it psychic powers.  Murder and mayhem ensue.

My door is open, Hollywood.

Just remember, you saw them here first.