15 Best Tornado Movies That will Blow you Away
Disaster movies have been on our screens for many years, but it was a silly little film about a girl and her dog that spawned the phenomenon of the Tornado movie. The wizard of OZ was indeed one of the first film to introduce a tornado on the big screen. In fact the studio was so impressed with the special effect used, that they kept on using the shot footage through subsequently released movies. Films such as Cabin in the Sky (1943) and High Barbaree (1947) unashamedly used the same footage from Oz, saving a huge amount of time and money in creating their own effects. However, OZ’s storm is only a minute part of its full picture.
As movies became more involved, film started to get more ambitious, and no genre was affected by this growth in ambition than the disaster movies. Whilst earthquakes and floods were easy to emulate with a little camera shake and some water tanks, the Twister was a different proposition. They raw power and immense devastation left by a Tornado was not realised until the 90’s, when effects finally caught up with the ideas on paper.
And that is what we are looking at in this list, Tornado films. We have scoured the film-verse for some of the most epic, scary, and even the silliest Tornado films that you could set you eyes on. So why not cuddle up on the sofa, turn off the lights and enjoy one of the twisted films on our list. There is a storm coming… 15 Best Tornado Movies That will Blow you Away.
Ok.. Elephant.. Room! Yep, you knew it was going to be on this list, so I dropped it right at the top, because Sharknado it one of the most bizarre franchise ever to make it’s way onto our screens. The creature feature and disaster movie mash-up brought us one of the most bankable premises ever, as a huge tornado sucks up hundreds of sharks and starts to bombard Los Angeles with shark-infested seawater.
The films follow Ian Ziering and Tara Reid as they fight of a never-ending supply of shark infused storms. The 2013 feature managed to rustle up five sequels, each with its very own shark based storm to tackle. The series not only went into space with Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015), but the final film The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (2018) dealt with time travel. But as the premises get more bizarre, the films get better. With tons of action, tons of gore and plenty of groan worthy dialogue, Sharknado (or any of its sequels) will certainly entertain.
Atomic Twister (2002)
Some of the best films are based on real life incidents, and whilst maybe not a contender for any Oscars, Atomic Twister follows suit with a story based on the F2 tornado that struck Ohio’s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant in 1998.
The film featuring Mark-Paul Gosselaar as a police office trying to prevent a Nuclear Power Plant from going into meltdown, after it is crippled by a huge storm. Whilst the prospects of a large nuclear reactive twister is an exciting one to ponder on, the film concentrates more on the human tragedy unfolding. Let’s face it, the films title is a little misleading. And the idea of a radioactive twister probably would have made a much better film. But if you’re looking for something to cuddle up to, this disaster movie is perfect for those long rainy nights.
Into the Storm (2014)
For awhile after 1996 Twister came out, there were more than a few copycat films that tried to steal its thunder (ahem)! Into the Storm is certainly one that plays with the same story ideas but manages to keep its own head above water.
Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies star in this found film storm film that explores a series of tornadoes at ground level. Do not let the found footage gimmick put your off though. This Newline Cinema production clearly had a good budget, enough to afford a great cast and many thrills and spills to be had. Give it a whirl!
Night of the Twisters (1996)
Night of the Twister is both a semi-fictionalized account of a huge storm that struck Grand Island in Nebraska in 1980, and another film that tries desperately to be like Twister.
The film follows a family struggling to survive the night as a series of huge twister rip through the town. This Canadian made-for-TV movie concentrates more on the human element than the big storm spectacles, which is why three quarters of the film is a lot of people standing around talking about the storm. However, it’s script is good and manages to be quite a heart-warming piece on human existence. If you want you cold bits warmed to the extreme, cuddle up with this one and let the love wash over.
Whilst you may have thought that the 1998’s Twister film kicked off the storm sub-genre, it was actually beaten by quite a large gap. The 1943 film Tornado was based on a book by John Guedel novel, and starred Chester Morris and Nancy Kelly as a couple struggling with married life. Their troublesome relationship is tested when a huge storm that hits their little town.
Despite it’s age, the film holds up as a drama and part-time disaster movie. The effects are actually good for a film of this age, with one sequence showing buildings decimated by the huge storm. Whilst this one may never get a restored Blu-ray version, Tornado is widely available on DVD and well worth a few bob for a thoroughly entertaining flick.
Any horror fans would be tickled pink by the made for TV film Tornado!, thanks to one man and his chin, Bruce Campbell. The actor got his chops around some serious acting in this disaster movie that came out in 1996. That was the same year as Twister and aired on TV prior to the big-budget cinema spectacle.
Tornado! is a Special-effects-laden tale about a Texan tornado researcher who joins forces with a meteorologist to persuade the government to continue funding his work. If the story sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a carbon copy of Twister. Both films are about storm chasers desperate to prove their new storm detecting device. Tornado! might be a cheap rip off, but boy is it a fun ride.
Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twisters (1998)
Another made for TV movie that tries desperately to be just like Twister, is the 1998 film Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twisters. It stars Kelly McGillis as a wife of an meteorologists desperately trying to prove her dead husbands theory that storms can be predicted.
Whilst I find it hard to believe that a Storm could be vengeful, this silly little number is just a fun exercise in bad acting and terrible effects. But that is half it’s charm. Their some serious drama here, and it’s easy to see that director Mark Sobel really wanted this to be epic. I guess the budget just didn’t stretch far enough for those amazing storm effects.
Tornado Warning (2002)
If by now you’ve spotted a pattern on this list, then the plot of 2002’s Tornado Warning should come as no surprise, as it sees a scientist perfects a tornado-warning system and tries to convince residents of a nearby town that a deadly twister is approaching.
Directed Tibor Takács, who’s filmography include The Gate (1987) and I, Madman (1989), this low budget TV disaster film is haunted by terrible CGI, a horrible script and wooden acting. It’s certainly a far flung exercise in cinema from Tibor previous ventures. But for anyone that loves bad movies, this ones so bad its good!
NYC: Tornado Terror (2008)
Clearly Tibor Takács was not happy with his stormy efforts in Tornado Warning, as 6 years later, he had another stab at it, with the TV film NYC: Tornado Terror. The film sees a series of devastating tornadoes hit New York that look set to destroy the city. The Mayor is on a race against time to find a solution to save NYC from oblivion.
Tornado Terror is one of those films that you know is going to be just awful, yet somehow you can’t bring yourself to change the channel. The special effects are extraordinarily bad, the acting laughable and the plot is about a predictable as an episode of Tales of the Unexpected. And yet, you’ll love it’s goofy logic, made-up weather phenomenon and out right balls to be a bigger movie than it deserves. You can tell that budget was stretched as thin as it could, but that just makes it so much more enjoyable.
Tornado Warning (2012)
The 2012 sci-fi thriller Tornado Warning also went under a different name, Alien Tornado, which better describes the films premise. When strange green tornados hit earth, a weather fanatic and a local meteorologist discover that the tornadoes are really a cover for an alien invasion!
Despite the promise of aliens, this low budget sci-fi TV movie seems to have spent all its budget on its two leading stars, Jeff Fahey and Kari Wuhrer. Which is a real shame, because when you throw aliens into the mix…you kinda want to see them. But alas, this science fiction film goes all in on the Tornado side of things for a spectacular disaster film that manages to be thoroughly entertaining, if not a bit over the top. With a hidden threat, some terrible dialogue and a handful of pointless family strife, the big green storms are just enough to keep this film popping. There are not enough alien disaster films around, so Tornado Warning will have to do until the next Martian themed storm film arrives.
Where Was God? (2014)
Looking at a different side to the coin, Where Was God? Is a 2014 documentary drama film that looks at the devastating EF5 tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma in 2013. With wind speeds of up to 200–210 mph, this destructive storm took the lives of 24 people, including 10 children. Being one of the deadliest storms to hit the U.S, the residents of the town were left broken, homeless and ravaged, with only one question on their lips.. where was God?
If your looking for real answer to hard questions, you want to hear from the people that faced the tragedy head on. This amazing documentary does not pull any punches as it takes a sincere and heart felt look at the lives left in tatters by trauma and tragedy. No Hollywood glamour, no scripts, just real people with real stories.
Category 6: Day of Destruction (2004)
We take a trip to Chicago now, as Day of Destruction sees three tornadoes converge to wreak havoc on the city, disrupting the power grid and creating the worst super-storm in history.
This two-part TV Movie is stuffed full exciting set pieces, thrilling action and a three epic tornadoes for the price of one. It is let down slightly by a handful of silly plotlines that just bog the film down and would not be missed if they had hit the cutting room floor. Cutting out 40 minutes would have made for a much more compact and slimline action feature. But don’t let these little details get you down, it’s an impressive TV movie that will certainly get your old ticker thumping.
Category 7: The End of the World
From the year of 2005, Category 7: The End of the World sees a deadly storm wreaking havoc on the entire planet as tornadoes, hurricanes and electrical storms cause mass destruction on an unprecedented level.
This sequel to Category 6: Day of Destruction takes the “global warming” storm storyline and turns it up to 11, with more explosions, more destruction and more exposition than you can point a wet stick at.
What can you say about a film that features a bunch of blood thirsty clowns that can travel by becoming a mystical tornado? Cool! Look, Clownado is a low-budget, low brow horror flick that had as much thought put into as the double cheeseburger (lets add another burger!). However, despite its flaws, it’s concept is certainly to be admired.
This microbudget horror might have seem more interesting on paper than it did in practice, but what it lacks in execution it more than makes for in imagination. It’s certainly a film to be seen to be believed. If you can bare to submit yourself to a little low-budget horror for an hour and 39 minutes, give Clownado a spin. You might just find yourself having fun!
Produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, Twister is the movie that has defined tornado films for three decades. The film follows university professor and his underfunded team of students as they prepare the prototype of a ground-breaking tornado data-gathering device in the hope of being able to predict these deadly storms.
There are few films that you could call perfect, but Twister is certainly close enough to warrant a slap on the back of the head as you drive by. From it’s amazing cast, perfect pace, well written script and explosive special effects, Twister captures every element of a storm film that you’d want. From the thrill of the hunt, the tension before the storm and the devastation left in it’s path, Twister manages to put you right in the thick of the action. It’s a much different class of film from all the others on this list, and the passion and skills needed to put a film of this scale on the big screen, is clear to all. Much like the mega tornado that appears in the film, you in for something wild!
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“Hello Horror Fans – Whenever a big storm comes, I always get a strange twinge in my left knee. I got that weird feeling no more than an hour ago…and then this article landed in my lap! It seems that there are more than a few twister movies out there to choose from and this nasty little list is a great slice straight through all the different sub-genres. So Horror Fans… which is your favorite big SCREAM Twister film? Let us know in the comments below.