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January 30, 2014 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Was there ever a point in the writing where you said, “I just don’t see how I’m going to make this shark destroy the Sphinx?” -- The AV Club interviews Jose Prendes, screenwriter for Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark (and other terrible movies).
posted by Chrysostom (29 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I am super interested in the creative process behind stuff like this (no snark) and love this article, but I am disappointed that it blows my SyFy originals being written by an 8th grade study hall theory.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:38 AM on January 30 [6 favorites]


Luckily the director, Emile Smith, was on board as well. He certainly didn’t want to make a serious drama that just happened to have a giant shark in it. It definitely became more than we originally thought it would be.

Sure, blame the director.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:38 AM on January 30


On the one hand I just really feel like these hilarrible movies represent the pinnacle of human achievement but on the other hand I uh

No, there is no other hand. This is humanity's glorious apex.
posted by elizardbits at 9:44 AM on January 30 [5 favorites]


If they tell you, “You have to destroy the Sphinx,” I’ll tell them, “You know, that’s probably going to look retarded.” Then they’ll tell me, “Just try it, just do it.” That’s what they want to see. So you find a way to make the Mega knock a tugboat out of the harbor of Alexandria and have this tugboat fly through the air and hit this target seven or 10 miles away, or whatever it is.

And so carefully researched!
posted by Floydd at 9:51 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


For every high-minded HBO drama or Oscar-winning screenplay, there’s a poorly scripted faux-reality show or a Sharknado, and screenwriters are responsible for penning all that material, from the brilliant to the ludicrous.

The catch is, a lot of the people writing ludicrous scripts think they're writing brilliant ones.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:52 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


AND TRUST ME, I KNOW.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:52 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


AVC: I bet the Internet makes a lot of that easier than it used to be 20 years ago.

JP: Oh, yeah. I literally just Google stuff. Google is the best thing in the world.

Is this going to turn into another discussion about "Don't be evil"?
posted by Slothrup at 9:53 AM on January 30


Why doesn't Syfy bring back MST3K with these? It at least eliminates the "rights issues" problem.
posted by themanwho at 9:54 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


I really want to embrace these SyFy monster movies in an old-school b-movie sense, but they tend to be so deadly dull. A few fun moments here and there but generally a slog to get through.
posted by brundlefly at 9:58 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Yeah, we watched Sharknado expecting it to be a DIY MST3K romp, but it was just boring and bad. Not the good kind of bad. Took itself too seriously to be much fun, but not seriously enough that in its obliviousness to its own flaws it goes all the way around to being good again. Snakes on a Plane was not at all serious and was a lot of fun. Manos: The Hands of Fate was entirely serious and was a lot of fun. A lot of the modern B-movie stuff falls in some kind of uncanny valley between the two.
posted by echo target at 10:19 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Why doesn't Syfy bring back MST3K with these? It at least eliminates the "rights issues" problem.

They don't have the rights to the show, for one. MST3K is basically owned by Jim Mallon and Joel Hodgson.
posted by JHarris at 10:37 AM on January 30


Wait, is what's-her-name from Law & Order in this?!
posted by Brocktoon at 10:45 AM on January 30


Oh, and Netflix needs to bring back MST3K with both Joel AND Mike. I gave them this idea months ago.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:46 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


I really want to embrace these SyFy monster movies in an old-school b-movie sense, but they tend to be so deadly dull. A few fun moments here and there but generally a slog to get through.

YES. When you watch a trailer for an Asylum movie, you can be sure you're watching every special effect shot in the whole movie, and the rest will turn out to be people talking to each other.
posted by JHarris at 10:47 AM on January 30


YES. When you watch a trailer for an Asylum movie, you can be sure you're watching every special effect shot in the whole movie, and the rest will turn out to be people talking to each other.

True, but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a waste of time. I cite this review I wrote of Mega Piranha (if I may be permitted to self-link).
posted by Z. Aurelius Fraught at 10:51 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


I vaguely remember enjoying Frankenfish. That one's close to a decade old, though.
posted by brundlefly at 11:04 AM on January 30


FWIW, my experience was that these were generally written by people who wanted (burned, with an Ahab-pure flame of yearning) to write better stuff, but that's all SyFy would look at.
posted by Naberius at 11:19 AM on January 30


I studied the trailer, and that is indeed Elisabeth Rohm jumping into Mecha Shark's mouth.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:22 AM on January 30


And some of them are written by people who want to just tell a story about volcanoes that spew sharks made out of lava.
posted by ckape at 11:25 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


I've got this great idea about these guys who take a few days off to go into the mountains and hunt the fabled Sharkopigamus. I need to get on that.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:34 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


In the 1940s, we discovered the first dragon chamber underneath Mt. St. Helens... It's a volcano full of dragons. It's... DRACANO!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:44 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, I hate these movies and never watch them and should not have even clicked this FPP or be commenting here.

On the other hand, basically all the great filmmakers of the 80s and 90s either came out of the 60s equivalent of this (Roger Corman flicks) or were directly inspired by them. So I feel like I shouldn't hate.

Elisabeth Rohm jumping into Mecha Shark's mouth.

Wait, is that what I saw her on a talk show promoting, recently? Huh.
posted by Sara C. at 12:05 PM on January 30


Elisabeth Rohm jumping into Mecha Shark's mouth.

Well, Angie Harmon addressed the 2004 Republican Convention. I know which one I'd rather do.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:09 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, basically all the great filmmakers of the 80s and 90s either came out of the 60s equivalent of this (Roger Corman flicks) or were directly inspired by them.

But, see, Roger Corman and the cheapie filmmakers of yore were really trying to make some crazy, fun shit. It wasn't pure hackwork. My problem with these Syfy movies is that they are just so indifferently made, it really is like they came up with a plot by playing Mad Libs (A GIANT ALLIGATOR fights a SWARM OF MUTANT LOCUSTS!) cast it with whatever faded celeb is desperate enough, film it quick, spice it up with special effects out of a PS1 game, and they're done. And I don't even hate Asylum really for making that stuff; I hate Syfy for airing it, for making it their big claim to fame (alongside the ghosthunter shows and all that crap) when it would be so easy for them to suck so much less. Really, some talented beginner filmmakers could take an Asylum budget and make something fantastic (or at least fun-bad) out of it!

Syfy does seem like they are trying to turn it around. I'll give them that. But they have been 95 percent crap for way too long, and these boring-ass CGI monster movies seriously need to just go away.

That being said, I did find this guy rather endearing. His remark about using his wizard's bag was like something out of a Christopher Guest mockumentary. Maybe he really does have some talent, somewhere deep inside. I found myself rooting for him.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:06 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


And some of them are written by people who want to just tell a story about volcanoes that spew sharks made out of lava.

Point of order: Sharcano appears to be a book.

Second point of order: oh my god how could you not have mentioned that the author also threw in the bit about how it's the "biblical end times" that's GOLD
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:35 AM on January 31


I studied the trailer, and that is indeed Elisabeth Rohm jumping into Mecha Shark's mouth.

Is that because she's a lesbian?

/Law and Order humor!

The fact that Elisabeth Rohm's IMDB page will have American Hustle and Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark so close to each other fills me with far more joy than it should.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:17 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]


The fact that Elisabeth Rohm's IMDB page will have American Hustle and Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark so close to each other fills me with far more joy than it should.

My favorite one of these pairings is for Embeth Davidtz, who early in her career starred in two feature films back-to-back: "Schindler's List" and "Army of Darkness". That's no slight to Sam Raimi's epic, mind you. It's just one hell of a way to start your resume.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 8:51 AM on January 31 [3 favorites]


Really, some talented beginner filmmakers could take an Asylum budget and make something fantastic (or at least fun-bad) out of it!

Yes! This! This! This! Exactly! Such a lost opportunity.
posted by brundlefly at 9:51 AM on January 31


Weirdly, Lifetime is embracing its trashy TV movie reputation by putting out increasingly campy, over the top, adaptations. Lizzie Borden is amazing, and terrible, and wonderful and I get the distinct impression whoever is in charge of creative development has said " I want every scene in this movie to be a reaction gig on tumblr by tomorrow." and it woooooorks.
posted by The Whelk at 2:44 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


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