How Sharknado Is Ruining The Fun Of Bad Movies

How Sharknado Is Ruining The Fun Of Bad Movies

What SyFy originals are lacking.

After an absence of almost twenty years, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is back, having premiered on Netflix last week. Thankfully, the new cast has proven adept at heckling bad movies, just as the original cast did in the 90s.

While it may never have had a large audience, the show was arguably the starting point for the Internet's obsession with bad movies. During its original run, the show featured some of the worst movies ever made, as its characters mercilessly mocked them. To this day, IMDb's list of the 100 worst-rated movies includes many films brought to light by the show, from Manos: The Hands of Fate to The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies. Old school B-movies, foreign exploitation films, and direct-to-video schlock are common targets on the show. However, another kind of film has joined the landscape of trash cinema: the SyFy original.

Sharktopus. Dinocroc. Mega Piranha. The list goes on. The name SyFy (formerly the Sci-Fi Channel) has become synonymous with unimaginative disaster and monster movies. The Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival even commented on this development during its takedown of the 1978 disaster movie Avalanche. The show's new host Jonah, along with his robot companions, devised an increasingly absurd series of potential SyFy titles, from Triceraquake to Volcanasaurus Rex. It seems like a playful jab at SyFy, which cancelled the original Mystery Science Theater in 1999. However, they make a valid point in the process.

MST has always uncovered genuinely bad films, amusing oddities lacking budgets, talent, coherence, or some combination thereof. SyFy, on the other hand, specializes in producing deliberately bad movies, seemingly intended for ironic viewing. SyFy's movies are undeniably bad, but they lack the qualities that make bad movies funny. Genuinely bad movies often take themselves incredibly seriously, despite being ridiculous. There's something inherently amusing about actors screaming in terror at the sight of a monster that's clearly a rubber sock puppet. The problem with movies like the Sharknado series, however, is that the filmmakers are in on the joke.

Making a deliberately bad movie is just an easy way to circumvent criticism. No matter how bad it turns out, the filmmakers can always argue it was intentional. Ambition and risk are essential to the creative process, even if they result in failure. You can learn a lot about filmmaking by seeing the common mistakes that can drag a film down. Besides, failure can be funny. We get a rush of excitement when we see a boom mic drop into frame, or a crew member trying (and failing) to hide from the camera. SyFy originals draw our attention to their calculated flaws, effectively throwing an Easter egg at your face instead of letting you look for it. There's simply no point in mocking a bad movie if it wants to be mocked for its badness.

Watching a bad movie can often be a much better experience than watching a good movie. However, that experience simply can't be captured intentionally. Trying to make a movie bad can prevent it from being good, but it misses the real appeal of a bad movie. Good or bad, any movie worth watching is the product of a leap of faith, not a cynical lack of effort.

Cover Image Credit: SyFy

Popular Right Now

30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!


I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

Related Content

Facebook Comments