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SYFY WIRE Interviews

Zombie Tidal Wave's stars on double-edged taser swords, zombie killing, and Easter eggs

By Jenna Busch
Zombie Tidal Wave

If you thought the end-all-be-all of weird weather phenomena came and went with Sharknado, think again. On August 17, another disaster will emerge from the depths in the form of SYFY's Zombie Tidal Wave. Prepare for brains, seawater, and a whole lotta screaming.

When SYFY WIRE spoke with the cast and creators of Zombie Tidal Wave at the film's Los Angeles premiere, they revealed to us what we can expect from the fantastically weird new creation.

"It came about over a beer, and thinking that I wanted to be a project manager for myself after I did The [Celebrity] Apprentice, and, looking for successful duplicatable models, decided to produce this movie when Sharknado was over," Zombie Tidal Wave star Ian Ziering told SYFY WIRE. "It took a couple of years to come to fruition, but once I knew that that was a wrap, I set out on a path to make this movie as great if not better than the Sharknado movies. At least follow suit on the path that Sharknado has cleared and give the fans that have been so voracious for this kind of entertainment something that they continue to sink their teeth into."

Directed by Sharknado auteur Anthony C. Ferrante, Zombie Tidal Wave stars Ziering as Hunter Shaw, a veteran sailor who leaves a disparate group of locals to beat an undead pandemic. Ziering is joined by his Beverly Hills 90210 co-star Tori Spelling on this wild ride, and when we got the chance to speak with them, we unpacked the film's wild weaponry, practical effects, and much more.

First and foremost, though? The weapon you catch a glimpse of at the end of the trailer.

"Oh yes, the double-bladed samurai taser sword," Ziering says, laughing. "Zombies, you can't kill them! We're killing un-killable zombies, but everything has an Achilles heel. I don't want to give it up, but that taser sword is the signature weapon for Hunter Shaw ... I made them build me a real one. It's so badass! It's crazy!"

Ferrante adds: "We had to be careful on set. We had a dummy one, but we wanted to have that thing. There is a taser attached to this double-bladed sword. It's a great signature weapon."

Double-bladed samurai taser swords and all, something like Zombie Tidal Wave can rarely go too far into the realm of the ridiculous.

Ziering's BH90210 co-star Spelling praises him for how hard he worked on the film. "As his friend, I've seen him go on this journey, producing and starring in [the film], but that's just the icing on the cake. I've seen him put this together. He's worked so hard, and I'm so proud of him," Spelling says. "So I just want to see him kick some zombie butt."

Ferrante says he was involved in the initial brainstorm, but then came on later to co-write with Ziering.

"We spent six years doing sharks, so to get a chance to play in the zombie sandbox ... as a director, you always want to do something different," Ferrante says. "With Sharknado … they're each their own kind of movie. They have their own flavor. One was sci-fi, one was time travel, one was space, so we were able to do different genres with that, but here … I love zombie movies. We've seen what zombie movies can do, and we had a really planned-out thing. I was like, 'I've seen every single zombie movie. How can we deflect the expectation?'"

He also says fans will have lots of homages and easter eggs to look for in the film.

"We have our fun, but it's very much an '80s Lucio Fulci sensibility," Ferrante says. "In that sense, we wanted to do a lot of it practical [effects]. About 90 to 95 percent of it is practical ... we have this great exploding head, one of the best exploding heads I've seen."

He continues: "Like Sharknado, there are a lot of in-jokes. Pay attention to signage. There are a lot of really obscure things. I'll say that there is one reference that is so obscure that, if anybody catches it ... It's about a previous aquatic-based water movie. If you see the signage, you'll know what it is, but very few people are going to catch that one."

Zombie Tidal Wave premieres August 17 on SYFY. Are you guys excited for the film? Let us know in the comments.