Gather a bunch of Z-list celebrities, think of a plot that takes no more than five minutes to cook up, create special effects a child could make, and answer every question with, “Yeah, sure, why not? That’s how you end up with Sharknado 4. Now, in honor of the sharks being sucked up into tornadoes and attacking people franchise, here are 9 more just as absurd flicks.
9. High Plains Invaders
This one is a bizarrely appropriate mashup of genres, and the 21st installment in the illustrious line of made-for-TV schlock known as the “Maneater Series.” Swap out Daniel Craig for the guy who played Spike on Buffy, and Harrison Ford with literally any other old grizzled actor, and this movie is essentially Cowboys vs. Aliens… except that it was released two years earlier and has a self-awareness the aforementioned completely lacked.
Roger Corman’s Dinocroc actually had a theatrical release in 2004 before bowing on TV. It would go on to spawn two sequels (Supergator and Dinocroc vs. Supergator) and a spin-off (Dinoshark) relating to an evil corporation splicing the DNA of a dinosaur with a modern day crocodile before having it break loose. When are scientists going to learn this never ends well?
The movie is essentially a precursor to Sharknado in that some sort of devastating natural event happens, and the hapless citizens of a large metropolitan area must deal with it in increasingly absurd ways. In this case, it’s gigantic albino spiders that emerge from the cracks in the Earth’s surface after an earthquake rocks New Orleans. Not sold? Well, in what other movie will you get to hear the line, “It’s time to show daddy long-legs how we roll on the bayou”?
6. Ice Spiders
This movie does not refer to the ice spiders in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. While there’s no Jon Snow, there is a group of sky bros who head to a conveniently isolated ski resort to train for the Olympics. Unfortunately, some top secret government experiments are going on nearby involving some massive arachnid creatures that promptly escape and cause some total bummers.
5. Mega Shark Vs. Crocosaurus
The only thing better than having one absurd creature terrorizing young nubile innocents is having two. Mega Shark Vs. Crocosaurus follows in the footsteps of legitimate Japanese monster movie mashups that involved Godzilla fighting a whole slew of overgrown creatures, but its safe to say none of those starred Jaleel White (better known as Steve Urkel) in the lead role.
4. Mega Python vs. Gatoroid
Dr. Nikki Riley (former pop star Debbie Gibson) breaks into a lab in the Florida everglades to set exotic pythons free. For whatever reason, it causes the invasive species to grow in size, threatening the local ecosystem overseen by ranger Terry O’Hara (played by also former pop star Tiffany). To combat this, O’Hara feeds an experimental serum to some alligators that also grow to monstrous size. As one does.
Where David Cronenberg’s gruesome 1986 remake of The Fly was a harrowing metaphor for the AIDS epidemic, Mansquito is just a cheap excuse to talk about radioactive mosquitoes that turn an ex-con into a literal bloodthirsty mutant. Still, it’s kind of a fun throwback to the 1950s craze of bug-filled horror movies that were more entertaining than didactic.
Another Corman not-quite-classic, this 2012 cheese-fest was most likely an excuse for everyone involved to take a quick vacation to Hawaii. Piranhaconda is about what you’d imagine a movie named Piranhaconda would be about: a hybrid creature that’s a mix between a piranha and an anaconda hunts people that steals its eggs. The laughable special effects are just the cherry on top.
If any other terrible monster movie deserves the same surprisingly long shelf life as Sharknado, it’s got to be Sharktopus. It tops the list because it hits all of the marks with such confidence you can’t help but be impressed. It’s truly — and we say this with all due respect — the best of the worst.