“Final Girl” Caroline Williams and “Sharknado 4”

Posted on July 26, 2016 at 3:50 pm

The sequel to the sequel to the sequel has arrived. On July 31, 2016, Syfy will unleash “Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens.” And you know what that means: more cheesy cameos from 80’s stars, more sharks (did I hear them say cow-nado?), and more silly, over-the-top thrills to tweet about. This time, it’s Las Vegas that gets hit. And this time, the audience got to decide whether the character played by Tara Reid will survive.

At Comic-Con, I spoke to Caroline Williams, who appears in the film in a character based on her iconic performance in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2,” where she was a “final girl,” the one who was still standing at the end of the movie. She got the part in “Sharknado 4” via Facebook and she had a blast working with director Anthony C. Ferrante. “The guy utilizes everything at his disposal. When we were shooting in Las Vegas, we drove by Chippendale’s with the male dancers, and he said, ‘I’ve got an idea.'” And the clip of a Chippendale’s dancer dispatching a shark with a well-timed pelvic thrust has gone viral. “He’s willing to be extemporaneous. The guy is continually topping himself, and that is part of what has led to the audience devotion and social media phenomenon.”

“The difference between making movies in the 80’s, when I first came along, and now is exponential, not just the technology but the social media. You are accountable to that audience. They will tell you when they see a false moment, when something’s too cheesy to be believed not just by Twitter but at events like Comic-Con. When I did my first horror film convention, which is filled with devotees, they show up dressed in my outfit from ‘Chainsaw 2,’ saying my dialog, even with their children dressed up.” She is proud to be a “final girl,” along with Ripley from “Alien” and Laurie from “Halloween.”

Copyright Caroline Williams 2016
Copyright Caroline Williams 2016

And she understands the appeal of horror movies. “I find the best, most classic construction in movies is the conflict between good and evil. Tobe Hooper famously said that horror is the new western. Of course westerns are coming back, like ‘Hateful Eight,’ with horror elements. That’s the classic story construction and that’s what people want to embrace. You have to wrestle with the good and evil within you as a human being. We’re very primitive. The audience loves the redemptive moments.” And it is cathartic. You get to forget everything about real life which is worse than any horror film. We live in a dangerous world. When you’re dealing with the stress of your own life, there’s nothing better than to sit back, cook some fish sticks and pop some corn, sit with your family and sing the theme from ‘Sharknado.’ I discovered it with my sons. But the second one, they had their friends over to watch with them. The third one, they had more friends over.”

In the “Sharknado” movies, “Ian and Tara play it straight. They are not sending up their performances. The beauty of my role is I get to be the comic relief. He sends it up and he satirizes it. I get to wink at the camera, but Ian doesn’t.”

She loved working on “Chainsaw 2” and says that the elaborate set was her “playground.” She was disturbed at first by the real skeletons decorating the set until production designer Cary White said, “But look, they get to be in a movie.”

The chainsaw she wielded in “Chainsaw 2” was hollowed out so it would be lighter to lift. Not this time. She had to swing a real and very heavy weapon. “I could have used some pushups.” “I don’t know if I get consumed by the ‘nado. It was CGI. But we and my family members have our saws.” She was thrilled to get to play Stretch again. “Anthony wanted to send out that little valentine to the fans of ‘Chainsaw 2.’ He really put me to good use.”

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Comic-Con 2016: Big Bang Theory and Sharknado 4

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 10:40 am

On Day 2 of San Diego Comic-Con, I:

Attended a panel of writers and producers for one of my favorite television shows, “The Big Bang Theory,” moderated by Melissa Rauch, who plays Bernadette. The writers are genuine fanboys — and one fangirl — and spoke about how some of their own experiences and obsessions become a part of the show. And they revealed a new guest star, who came out on stage to greet us: “30 Rock’s” Jack McBrayer, who will play Penny’s brother. Katey Sagal will be returning as her mother.

Spoke to the very handsome and charming Jason Matthew Smith, who performed in three “Star Trek” movies but ended up on screen in just one,

Copyright Media Home Entertainment 1986
Copyright Media Home Entertainment 1986

Spoke to the lovely and warm-hearted Caroline Williams, who starred in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” and got a part in “Sharknado 4” (airing July 31, 2016) via Facebook. Yes, she is Stretch again and has a chainsaw.

Attended a panel on diversity in animation with some of the greatest animators of all time, people who worked on everything from Disney classics to Hanna-Barbera, Bob Clampett, Charlie Brown specials and “The Simpsons,”

Heard a presentation about a new streaming service called Shudder, specializing in horror, with categories like demonic possession, child murderers, and zombies. In a very typical Comic-Con experience, it was held in one of the smaller rooms, without a line and some seats left over, and on the panel was the star of three of the biggest films of all time, Elijah Wood.

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