I’ve seen, shared and reported on film stunts in my time that have made me wow out loud. Like the time PS Live took a rock-like monument into Stonehenge on the Spring Solstice to promote adventure film The Croods. Or when a gigantic Spider Pig flew over Battersea Power Station for The Simpsons movie. And when we all got spooked watching the telekinetic coffee shop viral promoting The Rage: Carrie 2.
I shared another stunt earlier this week, although it was a little more out of incredulity than awe.
I shared the “hilarious” prank video for Sharknado 2: The Second One, featuring an animatronic shark conspicuously placed in a north London fishmonger’s to come to life and “attack” customers on their way out of the store.
I had the pleasure of watching a significant quantity of the original Sharknado with some friends of mine a couple of weekends ago after some (very much static) tuna steaks and several ciders. The basic premise: killer sharks terrorise Los Angeles after a freak weather system floods the city. If you’ve seen it, you’ll empathise with the O-shaped astonishment that engulfed my face when I realised there was A SEQUEL. Of which the plot reads: killer sharks terrorise New York after a freak weather system floods the city. (As an aside, the film’s star Tara Reid said in a recent interview with GQ that a sharknado Could Actually Happen, like, in real life.)
Anyway, back to the stunt. According to producers, Syfy, a team of four spent two weeks creating the animatronic shark (shoulda called Spielberg) and worked through the night embedding it, quite naturally, among the salmon and haddock fillets.
The idea was to give the public a surreptitious taste of what it might be like to experience a sharknado. Because, you know, it could actually happen. Surely if producers really wanted people to experience a sharknado they should have thrown shed loads of blow-up sharks into the wind from the top of the London Eye, whilst simultaneously broadcasting to the throngs of tourists below that the Sea Life Aquarium’s roof has been blown off. Didn’t think of that, did they?
To be fair, the producers captured some pretty funny reactions in amongst the expletives, although I did feel sorry for the girl who actually fell on the floor – presumably into cold, fishy, not-so-shark-infested, water.
Wouldn’t have mattered, however, if there had been real sharks in the water. Paramedics were on hand to deal with anyone who found the surprise a little too shocking. Presumably they were also present just in case a real-life sharknado descended on Islington.
To date, the video (unbranded, naturally) has had more than 30,000 views on YouTube, so it could be worse.
There’s nothing wrong with the odd prank stunt that preys on unsuspecting members of the public to generate “hilarious” promotional content. It’s just, this time, I didn’t take the bait.