Another year, another “Sharknado” movie. It really is sort of baffling that we’ve received a new film in this ongoing franchise every year since Syfy and Asylum birthed this strange cinematic idea unto the world. How much can they milk out of this seemingly old concept?
Well, by the looks of the latest installment — “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens” — a lot. That is, if you consider loading it up with pop culture movie references, “milking it.” Yes, there are references to “QVC” and “The Today Show” in this movie. The latter one? That’s probably due to NBC and Syfy being in the NBC Universal family. Hey there, Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie.
Aside from those television shows, however, the majority of the references are movie related. Did you catch them all? Zap2it compiled 14 of the best.
The reference is right there in the title and poster for the film. But, do they stop there? Nope. Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) pretty much runs the gamut from quoting Han Solo to wielding a chainsaw that looks like something Kylo Ren would admire.
Gilbert Shepard (David Hasselhoff) pulls directly from the Captain Kirk handbook by stating they are “going where no man has gone before.” What’s worse is, his granddaughter Claudia (Ryan Newman) has absolutely no idea what “Star Trek” is … no matter how many times he tried to explain the reference.
‘The Wizard of Oz’
Okay, so Fin is living in Kansas with his mother and son at the beginning of “Sharknado 4.” And that location is only the beginning of the ongoing “Wizard of Oz” references made throughout the film. From twisters galore — duh! — to a house literally landing on a wicked witch (Stacey Dash as Mayor Duffy), it’s hard to not get the picture. Heck, Fin even yells to “follow the yellow brick road” at one point in the film!
Yes, Stacey Dash plays Mayor Duffy in the movie and at one point, she focuses her anger towards Fin as these sharknadoes — bouldernadoes, firenadoes, nuclearnadoes, etc. — are all his fault. So of course she takes a quote from the classic film “Network” and yells, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
So, April (Tara Reid) is a cyborg now … right? Part woman and part machine — Tara Reid is now playing swiss army April, for lack of a better term. And as soon as she leaves the house to save a kid about to be crushed by a falling car, she tells him she’s Iron Man’s wife. Later, she flies. Sure …
We just mentioned April is now a cyborg, so what better way to seal the deal than to quote James Cameron’s classic sci-fi hit, “Terminator.” Not for nothing, but Arnold Schwarzenegger does it better.
“Sharkberg, up ahead!,” one of the impromptu crew yells from the Treasure Island pirate ship. Yep, after Fin sails the ship through the tumultuous waters of Downtown Las Vegas — seriously, not making this up — all sorts of chaos transpires. Leave it to that line above that puts this boat on a collision course with a sharky iceberg. There was no Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) or Rose (Kate Winslet) in this scenario, sadly.
‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’
This was probably the worst reference to “TCM” ever made in a movie. Not only does Dog the Bounty Hunter show up as Chop-Top (played by Bill Moseley in the original film), he and his family run a chainsaw store in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and of course there’s a dude named Gunnar there. Note: Gunnar Hanson originally played Leatherface in the 1974 movie.
‘Christine’ / ‘Lavalantula’
Taking a break from fighting lavalantulas, Steve Guttenberg showed up as Colton West to supply Fin with the perfect ride to continue on in his mission to save the world. Not the most timely reference, but West calls the 1958 Plymouth Fury by her name, “Christine” and horror buffs every scratched their heads in response.
‘Men in Black’
“I make this look good,” Aston Reynolds (Tommy Davidson) proclaimed before jumping out of a plane in a squirrel suit. Do you, Astin? Do you?
We were expecting a “Knight Rider” reference but got “Baywatch” instead.” Alexandra Paul and Gena Lee Nolan reunited with David Hasselhoff close to the end of the film. Unfortunately for these former lifeguards, they met their makers beneath a hail of nuclear sharks.
To save his family, young Gil steps up to the proverbial plate and pulls a baby chainsaw from a stone. It’s a callback to the sword in the stone that King Arthur acquires. We wonder if the kid will end up naming his weapon something similar to Excalibur. That sure would be … something.