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RiffTrax Returns for Special Sharknado Screenings

The RiffTrax team’s coming to town – and Sharknado’s coming with them!

In the summer of 2013, Syfy aired one of its over-hyped, high-concept, low-budget science-fiction/disaster schlockfests in the form of Sharknado, in which an unnatural (and how!) tornado in the Pacific Ocean scoops up hordes of man-eating sharks and deposits them – at the most inopportune times, to be sure – at various points throughout flooding Los Angeles.

The water rises, the tension rises, the sharks fall … However ridiculous that premise may seem, this small-screen camp-fest became a social-media phenomenon, with hundreds of thousands of viewers tweeting, texting and twittering during the airing … so it must be good. (Reportedly, Sharknado was the last thing actor Cory Monteith tweeted about before his untimely death.)

Sharknado, which stars “Beverly Hills 90210” alum Ian Ziering, American Pie cutie Tara Reid, and Home Alone patriarch John Heard, became an instant cult classic, earning midnight theatrical showings in August 2013 and, of course, spawning the inevitable sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, which is scheduled to premiere on Syfy at the end of July.

To celebrate this “phenomenon,” there will be special theatrical showings of Sharknado on Thursday, July 10 and Tuesday, July 15. But these won’t just be any old screenings – they’ll be hosted (and commented upon) by the perennially popular RiffTrax trio of Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett.

Local audiences can join in the fun, as the RiffTrax Live: Sharknado screenings will be presented at the Brassfield Cinema 10 and Greensboro Grande Stadium 16 in Greensboro and in Winston-Salem at The Grand 18 Winston-Salem IMAX on July 10, and again on July 15 at Greensboro Grande Stadium 16 and The Grand 18 Winston-Salem IMAX.

“We’re excited to have landed the big fish that is Sharknado,” says RiffTrax founder Nelson in an official (and deadpan) statement. “For a long time we’ve wanted to do a shark-based movie as well as a tornado-based film, so we think combining the two will be twice as thrilling for our audience.”

The RiffTrax crew will provide commentary broadcast live from the State Theater in Minneapolis on July 10, with the taped presentation screened again on July 15.

For 11 years, Nelson, Murphy and Corbett were part of the core team of the cult series “Mystery Science Theatre 3000,” in which the crew of the Satellite of Love – stranded in outer space – was forced to watch transmissions of the worst movies ever made on Earth, which they commented upon with ribald wit and addle-brained insight.

Not only did “MST3K” amass a sizable worldwide following, but it also drew attention to scores of movies best forgotten. During its lengthy run, the series earned two Emmy nominations (both times for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Variety or Music Program), and in 1993 received the prestigious Peabody Award.

With the cancellation of “MST3K” in 1999, after 197 episodes and even a feature film released in 1995, the series lives on in syndication – as well as in the hearts and minds of its fervent fans.

But in 2006, Nelson reunited with Murphy and Corbett to continue the tradition with “RiffTrax,” a series of downloads presented in the same style as the earlier series, with running commentary. These were followed by a series of live events that proved so popular that the “RiffTrax” screenings were born. Previous Rifftrax offerings have included Ed Wood’s infamous Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), the indescribable Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966), George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), and Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 sci-fi blowout Starship Troopers, which proved so popular that encore screenings were scheduled. !

WANNA go?

Showtimes are 8 pm Thursd ay, July 10 and 7:30 pm Tuesday, July 15. The Brassfield Cinema is located at 2101 New Garden Road (Greensboro), the Greensboro Grande Stadium 16 at 3205 Northline Ave. (Greensboro), and The Grand 18 Winston-Salem IMAX at 5601 University Parkway (Winston- Salem). Tickets are $11.50 (general admission), $10.50 (senior citizens) and $9.50 (children under 12) at Brassfield; $20 (general admission) at Greensboro Grande; $12.50 (general admission) at The Grand 18. (Please note: Brassfield Cinema is screening the film July 10 only.) For advance tickets or more information, check out www.FathomEvents.com.

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