It's on everyone's lips and Twitter feeds. "Sharknado."
The drive-in-quality TV movie starring Ian Ziering and Tara Reid aired on Syfy on Thursday night and somehow, miraculously, it managed to capture the national zeitgeist. Hollywood was a-Twitter about it.
But anyone arriving late to the "Sharknado" party may be surprised/shocked/appalled to learn that the film, about a tornado of sharks terrorizing the citizens of Los Angeles, doesn't represent Syfy's first dive into these waters. In fact, anyone tuning in early to the cable outlet on Thursday would have seen a bit of some of the channel's previous shark-related monsterpieces:
"Shark Swarm" (2008)
Chemical pollutants transform a bunch of normal, easy-going sharks into a swarm of bloodthirsty monsters terrorizing a sleepy bayside town in this SyFy premiere that actually features Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham alongside Darryl Hannah, Armand Assante and former "Dukes of Hazzard" star John Schneider.
"Malibu Shark Attack" (2009)
Peta Wilson and Warren Christie play Malibu lifeguards defending the California coast from a swarm of prehistoric goblin sharks intent on devouring swimmers and other things. The movie drew predictably bad reviews, but managed to include this immortal line: "There was a shark in the parking lot." Those frightened of attacking sharks can watch this trailer for the film with little to fear, a lot of the action is so dim you might as well have your eyes squeezed shut.
Before "Sharknado" was deriving terror from portmanteaus, there was this Roger Corman-produced Syfy production starring Eric Roberts as a Dr. Frankenstein-like scientist who must track and destroy his creation, a half-shark, half-octopus genetically engineered monster. You may come for the name, but you'll stay for the bungee-jump/shark-bait scene promised in the trailer.
"Swamp Shark" (2011)
A small town's celebration of killer alligators is interrupted by the arrival of a killer shark in this film that premiered on Syfy in 2011. Though the shark was just a regular killer shark -- nothing prehistoric, genetically enhanced or supernatural about it -- it does manage to decapitate a sheriff's deputy through a spectacular flying maneuver. "Swamp Shark" does have the saving grace of having a somewhat recognizable cast, including Kristy Swanson, D.B. Sweeney, Robert Davi and Major League Baseball hall-of-famer Wade Boggs(!?!)