Last night, a movie called Sharknado screened on the SyFy channel in the UK. I know this because it trended on Twitter. I found out too late to watch, but it's showing again this week so I'll check it out then.
If you have any interest whatsoever in the dafter side of cinema, you were probably already aware of the existence of Sharknado. Like Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and Sharktopus before it, the trailer began circulating online and got a little bit viral. Sharknado presents itself as an irresistible bit of nonsense; the 'does what it says on the tin' school of filmmaking taken to the extreme. Tornado movies and shark movies aren't natural bedfellows, and that's where the appeal lies.
I'm a man who knows the power of a dumb title.
For over 10 years, my wife Pip and I had Strippers vs (Something) as a running joke. It started when I labelled a double-bill VHS of trashy movies that I'd taped off the telly as Strippers vs Nutters Vol.1, and kept cropping up throughout the decade. There was a reference to an imaginary film called Strippers vs Maniacs Dressed as Clowns in my stand-up set circa 2001.
A few years ago I was out at Cannes Festival, selling the distribution rights to a micro-budget movie called The Devil's Music which we'd just completed post-production on and I was extremely proud of. We'd put together a little sales brochure for our company, largely to plug The Devil's Music, but we'd run out of content to fill the pages.
Half-jokingly, we put together a half-page In Development section with a quick little logo for Strippers vs Werewolves along with a tagline stating "It's a B-movie, but it's a bloody good one".
During the festival, something weird started happening. Those three words - Strippers vs Werewolves - began to overpower the movie that we'd already shot.
People stopped introducing me as "the guy who made The Devil's Music".
Instead, they'd introduce me as "the guy who's going to make Strippers vs Werewolves".
Much like Sharknado, it was a concept so cheerfully ridiculous that people were immediately drawn to it. Before too long, I had some serious enquiries about the property and thus I actually sat down and wrote the thing. I sold the script, and it ended up being extensively rewritten by the wonderful Phill Barron and directed by the lovely Jonathan Glendening.
The resultant movie was ultimately released right slap bang in the middle of a whole slew of 'vs' movies (Cockneys vs Zombies, Ninjas vs Vampires, even Zombies vs Strippers) and apparently took £38 pounds at the box office.
Four people went to see it.
That's a fact that continues to generate publicity for the film well over a year later, (just search Strippers vs Werewolves on Twitter - I'd be really surprised if nobody has retweeted the £38 thing in the last week or so). Phill Barron dissects whether this was a 'good' or 'bad' or even 'intentional' thing in a post over here. Incidentally, I very nearly buggered up the whole "£38 at the box office" thing by going to watch it myself out of curiosity.
That massive flood of 'vs' movies did make the whole thing seem rather less original in 2012 than it had done in 2008, though. My plans for Cheerleaders vs Poltergeists and Waitresses vs The Loch Ness Monster faded and died.
But, one day, man. One day I'll wake up on a fine summer's morning with a movie title so irresistibly ridiculous that it'll make Sharknado look like Hamlet.
And you'll roll your eyes when you see it showing at the cinema and ask yourself "Who writes this shit?"
And you'll hear me whisper "I do".
Because I'll be right behind you in the queue.
Along, presumably, with two other people.