'Sharknado' swims into three LI theaters

"Sharknado" is a 2013 made-for-television disaster movie about

"Sharknado" is a 2013 made-for-television disaster movie about a waterspout that lifts sharks out of the ocean and deposits them in Los Angeles. (Credit: The Asylum)

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Just when you thought it was safe to go to the movies, along comes ... "Sharknado."

As a warm-up to "Sharknado 2: The Second One," which premieres July 30 on Syfy, Fathom Events is presenting last year's original big fish tale (which caused a tweeting frenzy) at theaters in Westbury, Farmingdale and Holtsville on July 10 and July 15 as part of its "RiffTrax Live" series. In addition to the movie, RiffTrax comedians Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett and Mike Nelson will be on hand to add their own biting commentary a la "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (the cult TV show on which both Nelson and Murphy appeared).


The three riffers, who have hosted similar screenings of such camp classics as "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians," had gotten many requests to bring "Sharknado" to the big screen, Murphy says. And he promises that the movie's chintzy special effects, including rubbery flying sharks, hurling bar stools and a tornado that kinda blows, will look even less spectacular on the big screen.

"All of those cheesy effects are going to have double cheese on them," Murphy says.

One particular shot Murphy called so much Velveeta is the one of star Ian Ziering pretending to surf. "There's obviously a stuntman out on the waves and then this static stock picture of Ian standing up and smiling," Murphy says. "I'm old enough to remember the TV show 'Gidget,' where they used to show Gidget surfing in the exact same shot. So Ian is taking the role of Gidget in this movie."

Of course, if the movie were actually well made, it wouldn't be as much fun. "It's not about production values," says John Rubey, Fathom Events' CEO. "It's the energy that 200 to 300 people in a cinema produces. That's what makes it special."


Even though it may seem as if the three riffers are saying their jokes off the cuff as the movie rolls, Murphy says the show is meticulously scripted. The trio and three other writers each watch a section of the film ad nauseam for a week.

"Then these things start to pop up, like how wooden Ian Ziering is as an actor or how utterly gobsmacked Tara Reid looks at any moment. They sometimes become themes. Then you end up riffing. You get to know the film pretty intimately, at least a chunk of it," Murphy says.

From there, a script eventually is written and then the comics rehearse it several times so they're fully polished by the time of the live simulcast, which will be in front of an audience in Minneapolis. Of course, by that point, Murphy says, he's pretty sick of seeing the movie.

"I want to murder this movie. I want to take my computer and throw it out the window," Murphy jokes. "But you have to turn that anger into funny. You can't just trash the film, you have to make it fun. Nobody's going to want to sit there and just watch us trash the film."

He adds: "I will download it out of my brain as soon as the show is over."

WHAT "RiffTrax Live: Sharknado"

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. July 10 and 7:30 p.m. July 15 at Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, 1001 Broadhollow Rd.; Island 16 Cinema De Lux, 185 Morris Ave., Holtsville; and Westbury Stadium 12, 7000 Brush Hollow Rd.

INFO $12.50-$13.50; fathomevents.com

WHAT "Sharknado 2" viewing party

WHEN | WHERE July 30 at 8p.m., The Hub, 4060 Austin Blvd., Island Park

INFO $5 cover; 516-442-1599, hubbc.squarespace.com

Enjoy pool and a big splash for the premiere of "Sharknado 2: The Second One." The Hub, a billiard club and music hall in Island Park, will host a viewing party to celebrate the TV event of the summer as Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and flying sharks return, this time to wreak havoc on New York City. In addition to a screening of the movie, there will be music by Long Beach band The Shipwrecks and surf rockers Let's Go Trippin'.

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