Like a record, baby.


Is it just me or is it getting a bit windy in here? Ever since Dorothy got ripped out of Kansas and into Oz, tornadoes have become the centrepiece of some great natural-disaster films. There is definitely a novelty to it – people don’t like the idea of real life disasters but they’re more than happy to watch them within the comfort of their own home. Here are our Top Five Tornado Films to get you caught in a spin: –

The Wizard of Oz (1939) dir. by Victor Fleming

A classic not just known for its musical tunes and ruby slippers, The Wizard of Oz is arguably the most iconic tornado film of all time. Dorothy and her little dog, Toto, embark on a strange journey when a tornado rips through Kansas, sending them and their house to a magical land: The Land of Oz. After watching this, I always thought about where a storm would take me over the rainbow. Unlike other films, the tornado is more romanticized than demonized. It doesn’t present a real threat to Dorothy because it’s her escape from reality. I think they forgot to mention that tornados are actually dangerous and life-threatening…

Twister (1996) dir. by Jan De Bont

Twister, starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, explores tornadoes through the perspectives of storm chasers. Ironic perhaps that the characters are running towards the tornado rather than from it? Professor Dr. Jo Harding and her estranged husband, Bill, prepare for the most powerful storm in decades, their hope that D.O.R.O.T.H.Y (oh wow it’s her again!) – a tornado data-gathering device, will work in the extreme conditions. Jan De Bont definitely succeeds in bringing to the story life as realistically and brutally honesty as possible, making it a genuinely frightening experience. 

The Day After Tomorrow (2004) dir. by Roland Emmerich 

Perhaps none of us really want to think about climate change, but that’s the thing – we still do. This disaster film is the whole package with tsunamis, tornados, and snowstorms: global warming at it’s worst! A climatologist first predicts a storm, and only when it hits will they discover the disastrous impact it will really have. The Day After Tomorrow examines the possibilities of something so catastrophic actually happening. Right now. Today. Where Los Angeles is flattened by a vast multitude of tornados, destroying everything in their path including the famous Hollywood sign. But then again, it’s all just visual effects and CGI, and no storm could be like that in reality, so there is nothing to worry about. Or is there?

Sharknado (2013) dir. Anthony C. Ferrante

Tacky and hopeless, Sharknado is still arguably easily the most entertaining tornado film to date. Set in 2013, when a storm hits Los Angeles, civilians prepare for a bit of heavy rain and flooding but what comes twisting through their city shocks them all. One family attempts to take on the sharknadoes and bring an end to the bizarre epidemic. Okay, I was completely confused. Sharks in a tornado? Unusual, gruesome and crude; having sharks raining down on helpless people is the film’s take on comedy. It’s hard not to laugh at even in spite of the horrific storyline.

Into The Storm (2014) dir. Steven Quale

Into The Storm is sure to send shivers down your spine. On a day like any other, the town of Silverton is consumed by a deadly storm. A tiny shower of rain immediately forms into notorious wind conditions, one ordinary tornado splitting into three then four then five etc. As the title suggests, we are literally taken into the storm, taken into the middle “eye” of a tornado when a stormchaser risks his life to save others. Into The Storm is part hand-held video footage taken from two teenage boys who decide to document the tornados, allowing us to feel like we are really there with them. Scary.

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