Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movies …

by Mark Burger

Fathom Events and the Asylum have teamed up to present a special, one-night-only, big-screen event for horror mavens: Sharknado!

Having recently premiered to big ratings on Syfy (formerly the Sci-Fi Channel), Sharknado proves once again that, after nearly 40 years, man-eating sharks are sure-fire crowd-pleasers. (What hath Steven Spielberg wrought with Jaws?!) There will be a special midnight showing this Friday (starting at 12:05 am) in Greensboro at the Greensboro Grande Stadium 16 (3205 Northline Ave.) and in Winston-Salem at the Grand 18 Winston-Salem IMAX (5601 University Parkway). Some 200 theaters around the nation will be rocking and shocking by showing this special screening of Sharknado.

Yes, what you saw for free on cable you can now pay to see on the big screen, albeit with such additional attractions as a behind-the-scenes featurette detailing the making of the film and a gag reel. And even though this isn’t a “RiffTrax” screening, it’s entirely likely that this will be something of an “audience-participation” event.

“Sharknado was an instant hit with fans — and celebrities — from the moment they first saw it, creating a social-media phenomenon on July 11 with nearly 400,000 social mentions,” noted Shelly Maxwell, executive vice-president for NCM Fathom Events, in an official statement. “Imagine sharks invading from the skies on 40-foot screens in movie theaters nationwide. [This] week’s special midnight showing is a first for Fathom and will answer the age-old question: ‘Who knew sharks could fly’?” Sharks? No. Piranha? Yes. Yours truly knows that piranha can fly, having watched James Cameron’s immortal directorial debut Piranha II: The Spawning on more than one occasion.

When Sharknado premiered on Syfy on July 11, the tweets starting coming fast and furious — generating nearly 5,000 by the minute. I’ve always felt that if you’re tweeting while watching the movie, then you’re not really watching the movie, but we are talking about Sharknado here….

Such tweeting did not go unnoticed, and Syfy almost immediately announced that Sharknado 2 would go into production and make its broadcast debut next July. No cast or crew has yet been announced. I’ve always felt that starting a film project without actors, a director or a script doesn’t necessarily bode well for the end result, but we are talking about Sharknado here….

As the title implies, this disaster/horror saga dramatizes what happens when a massive tropical storm slams into the California coast. If that weren’t enough, this super-sized deluge has brought with it an even deadlier peril than the winds and rain: a seemingly endless number of man-eating sharks that start feeding on the storm’s survivors.

Not only is the water not safe, but these voracious beasts have an annoying (and often lethal) tendency to simply drop out of the sky on top of or near a victim, at which point it’s feeding time.

And these sharks are hungry, yes they are. The cast includes Ian Ziering (fondly remembered from the original “Beverly Hills 90210”), Tara Reid (fondly remembered from the American Pie films), Cassie Scerbo (fondly remembered from the gymnastics TV series “Make It or Break It”), Julie McCullough (fondly remembered from “Growing Pains,” Big Bad Mama II and the February 1986 issue of Playboy) and screen veteran John Heard (fondly remembered for Home Alone, Home Alone 2 and CHUD).

Who will be left in peace and who will be left in pieces? You’ll have to see Sharknado to find out.

“Sharknado is bad to the bone,” claimed the New York Daily News. “It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous. If you’re a fan of low-budget horror movies and you miss it, you will regret it for the rest of your life.”

Tickets are $12.50 at each theater. For advance tickets or more information, check out