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Sharknado: SyFy's Quirky Horror Movie Is a Hit – on Twitter

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How about this as a horror-movie concept? A mad scientist is convinced that within the large, strange brain of the shark lurks an untapped skill for written communication. What if a shark could be trained to post on Facebook? No – Twitter! Yes, yes, why not Twitter?!

The scientist is right! Then things go horribly awry when the beasts, routinely fed a chum of vitamins, radioactive materials and laptop circuitry, learn to compress themselves into 140 characters or less, disguising tail and fin with tempting hashtags like #HaveASnack. Click on an innocuous-looking Tweet and you may end up saying goodbye to your hand, your arm, your intestines – your life.

Syfy’s two-hour schlock masterpiece Sharknado wasn’t quite that: It was, as the blunt mash-up of a title suggests, about sharks blown inland by storms and dropping on people like so many saw-toothed cicadas. But the sheer cheeky nuttiness of it all – plus a cast that included Ian "I Have Danced at Chippendales" Ziering and Tara Reid – caused a Twitter feeding frenzy when it aired Thursday night.

The numbers, according to Variety, are by no means record-setting, but they’re pretty impressive – it was the most Tweeted-show of the night, with 5,000 tweets a minute for a total of 318,232 during the broadcast.

Many of those Tweets were from the likes of Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof ("This is such a ripoff of THE BICYCLE THIEF"), 30 Rock star Judah Friedlander ("The message of this movie is: sharks are scary. But not as scary as bad special effects") and, oddly enough, Mia Farrow ("Omg omg OMG").

Syfy trots out these jokey horror movies with some regularity (last summer there was even a Jersey Shore Shark Attack that parodied the MTV reality show). But this one, which can trace its history all the way back to a classic old Saturday Night Live skit called “Land Shark,” seemed to tip the scales in terms of curiosity, possibly because it arrived in the dead air of post-July 4, when a lot of programming is just fish wrapped in newspaper.

And, after all, it showed sharks swirling around in giant cloud funnels like coffee grounds in a jar of water.

This is also probably the first time I’ve heard the line, “Oh, crap! Look at all those sharks!” by someone in a chopper.

And I mentioned, right, that it starred Ian Ziering?

Sharknado will air again on Syfy July 18.