Twenty three years ago on the 10th May (last month), 1996 summer blockbuster, Twister premiered in movie theaters/cinemas. A trailer for the film can be watched below.
With that being said, here’s a look at fifteen things you might know about Twister – listed below.
Twister was the first film on DVD: Way before the tech-film enthusiast knew what a DVD was, Twister was being pressed onto the format. On March 25th 1997, Twister was the first-ever cinematic release on DVD. However, a teaser trailer and cast bios were the only special features included on it.
Twister was the last film on HD-DVD: Best way to go! Having paved the way for the DVD format, Twister would prove to be the swan song for its HD counterpart. The HD-DVD version of Twister was released in 2008. However, this would be the last cinematic release on the format. HD-DVD lost the battle to Blu-Ray
Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton were blinded: This was something we didn’t even though! Suffice to say the stars of Twisters suffered for their work. The duo were temporarily blinded by bright electronic lamps used to reduce the exposure and had to wear specific glasses in order to recover. Hunt and Paxton had to have hepatitis injections after filming in a particularly unsanitary ditch1. Also! Hunt was reportedly left concussed after hitting her head in a stunt.
1: Referring to the scene which you can watch in full below.
The script of Twister was improved aka tidied up by the man behind Marvel Avengers films, Joss Whedon: Whedon, the man behind the Avengers films and more, also had a hand in Twister… However, he didn’t receive an official credit for his efforts. Whedon was brought in twice in order to improve aka tidy up the script.
The original crew of Twister revolted: This one shocked us when we discovered this. Suffice to suggest that there was much drama off screen as there was on the screen. Approxminetly five weeks into filming, the crew of Twister left the set in protest of director Jan De Bont’s handling of the shoot, which included him knocking over a camera assistant…Why did he do that? Reportedly the camera assistant missed a cue. Replacement cinematographer Jack N. Green also suffered…How? A hydraulic house programmed to collapse was mistakenly activated with him inside it. Ouch! We’re definitely going to read up more that particular incident.
Twister was recognised at both the Oscars and the Razzies: It’s no surprise that Twister’s technical team were recognised at the Oscars, picking up nominations for both Best Visual Effects and Best Sound. Actress Jami Gertz and writers Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin weren’t so celebrated to say the least. Gertz picked up a Razzie nod for Worst Supporting Actress, the writers picked up the Razzie for Worst Written Films grossing over one hundred million dollars.
Twister became the source of an urban legend: In 1996, an Ontario, Canada drive-in movie theatre was destroyed by a Tornado just hours before it was due to screen Twister. Ooo eh! This above mentioned event got twisted into an urban legend in which the movie movie theatre was playing the film at the same time the Tornado struck.
The sound effects in Twister came from an interesting library: Suffice to say the flying cow is one of the most reconisgeable images from Twister, HOWEVER this wasn’t the only time that animals were used during the production. The sounds of rumbling thunder and roaring winds that you hear in the film were natural but not the natural you think…The sounds that you hear are that of animals, including a camel’s moan slowed down and play backwards.
The tagline for Twister was nearly ‘It sucks’: The producers of Twister initially had the tagline ‘It sucks’ in mind for the film. However, realising that a tagline like that may give the film’s critics more ammunition than they needed. Thankfully, the producers changed it to ‘the dark side of nature’.
The trailer for Twister contains a shot not in the film: We’ll let you try and work out which one it is, let us know which shot you think it is in the comments.
Twister was the second highest-grossing film of 1996: 1996 saw the release of 101 Dalmations, The Rock and the first Mission Impossible. So… Suffice to say it’s impressive that Twister managed to outgross them all with a tally of almost five hundred million dollars. HUGE NUMBERS! However, that number still diminishes to the one film that did beat Twister at the box-office in 1996 – Independence Day (eight hundred and seventeen million dollars).
OH NUTS! Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s genitals made an appearance in Twister: According to reports, the cinematic release of Twister showed Phillip Seymour Hoffman accidentally expose his genitals for a split second in the scene in which he sits on a lawn chair and lifts his leg in the air. Producers of Twister were made aware of the error, the flash of Hoffman’s genitals was edited out of both the VHS and DVD releases.
There are several hidden film references in Twister: The oil truck that is seen flying around in the last scene of the film bears the same name2 as the company in James Cameron’s underwater film, The Abyss.
2: ‘Benthic Petroleum’ in case you can’t remember.
Of course! We can’t forget ‘Dorothy’. You can find out more on Dorothy here, however Dorothy is same name as the leading character in The Wizard of Oz (TWOO). Suffice to suggest this isn’t the only time TWOO is referenced in Twister.
In Twister’s opening scene, the dog you see with Young Jo is the same breed3 as Toto in TWOO. Also, just before the Tornado hits her house, Aunt Meg is watching classic Judy Garland classic.
3: Cairn Terrier in case you can’t remember or didn’t know.
Twister features two cast members who would later appear on LOST: Viewers of LOST may already know that two Twister cast members would later show up on the island… Sean Whalen, who play Rabbit’s driver Alan, would appear on the show as plane crash survivor, Frogurt in three episodes. Jeremy Davies, who played Laurence in Twister, would appear on LOST as Dr. Daniel Faraday. It would appear his was a significant role.
Find more interesting, Twister-related articles below.
Original post can be found here. Like Meteorologist Tony Laubach’s Facebook page here.
Meteorologist Tony Laubach has given us permission to turn his Facebook post in an article. It’s a much-needed read for chasers that head to Tornado Alley from across the world + homegrown ones.
So with that, enjoy the thoughts from a Twister-era storm chaser.
Originally posted: 23rd May 2019.
This will get a little personal, so bare with me. Somewhere over the years, I’ve lost the ability to really get things from my head into words, so this may be much more ramble than I intend it to be. But it’s important for me, and thus I am going to give it a whirl between arm-chair chasing this moderate risk.
(this was published the day after that event)
Over the last few years, I’ve seen a change in my storm chasing philosophy. I come from the Twister-era generation of chasers, and that’s kinda by circumstance as that movie came out around the time I was learning to drive. I consider myself an “Enemy Wind” guy (1992), which was really the first tornado special I saw that introduced me to the concept of storm chasing. In the years between that and Twister, I accumulated a bunch of tornado VHS tapes, and a lot of those had some parts that talked about the idea of storm chasing. I learned, read up, etc, and fortunately my first opportunity came to me in my backyard back in Ohio where I had success on my first chase in 1997 (almost a year to the date of Twister’s release).
Back then, there was no social media, barely any world wide web, and you actually had to KNOW Meteorology in order to have any kind of success. After my chasing debut and first tornado in ’97, it took three years before I nabbed number two in Oklahoma (during my one semester living in Moore), then it was another three years before I nabbed my next five during the 2003 season. My breakout year was the following year in ’04, which included amazing chase days on May 12 and May 29, both here in Kansas. Things took off from there.
Point being, it took a LONG time before I got to a point where I felt comfortable with chasing, and lets face it, remotely could consider myself a “good” chaser. And because of the lack of social media, I was forced to actually engage with other chasers in the field. I met many in my early years, and they all took me under their wing. We had short caravans of vehicles that prowled the plains, often only a couple of those vehicles having mobile data of any sort in the car. I got my HAM radio license so I could communicate, and that’s how it worked. I listened to their observations, how they navigated storms, and it brought me to a new level. All this while struggling through a Meteorology degree, which I ultimately would FINALLY get many years after starting.
It took patience, it took persistence, and it really took a HUGE investment not only in money (which lets be real, was probably the least of the investments when compared to the others), but in time and effort. If you wanted to be good, you wanted to see tornadoes, you had to know what they hell you were doing. And it took years to get to a level where I felt I could say that with some confidence. It’s called patience, earning your way… it’s a lost art in so many areas these days. Kind of like the art of storm chasing…
Between Twister (1996) and the Discovery Channel era (2007), I think there was a lull in the increase of chasers. In fact, I ponder the notion of knowing how many Twister-era chasers survived that stint. With lower success rates and freelancing video had not yet exploded into what it is today, I wonder how many regulars back then made it. Sure, there was probably a slow incline in the numbers, but I recall most of the people I saw were the same groups year-after-year. I think tornado tours originated during this time as well, but they, too, were very limited in numbers.
So then came Discovery Channel, and thus storm chasing became mainstream. Social media was becoming a thing, and forecast models had increased in their accuracy. The boom had begun. And I think this is also when you really started to see storm chasing become a business. Multiple tour groups sprang up, freelance video companies multiplied, and access to earning money to offset costs was much easier. Success rates were also going up, and the introduction of “spotter network” combined with updates from the field allowed a lot of novice chasers to follow others, and suddenly the newbies were enjoying success by literally riding coattails. And better forecasting models made it much easier to forecast where to be.
Discovery was a trigger, arguable THE trigger, and when it introduced people to storm chasing, it was a wildfire out of control. And it just grew, more people got their gas tanks filled through video selling, models got better to the point where people didn’t have to know Meteorology, and suddenly there it was. And the trend that has not slowed since. Now high-risk days are more about navigating traffic than seeing storms and tornadoes, and what once was a enjoyable down-time post-chase activity of watching a couple tornado videos from an event has turned into 100 of the same views of tornadoes from people, whom a majority of, don’t know how to shoot video in any real capacity to make it an enjoyable viewing.
“But Tony, you were on Discovery Channel. Didn’t you contribute to this process?” , In a word, yes. I was on Discovery Channel as part of Team TWISTEX for three seasons (well technically two, I was in the opening credits for the fifth and final season, but never appeared in an episode; a topic for later over a drink in a bar). We had a mission that was focused on science, and we took advantage of the chance to gain some exposure for our work, and lets face it, get some funding for a project that did not have the luxury of the exposure that groups such as VORTEX 2 had. We did our best to portray ourselves in the most professional light we could. We were not parading around as “Extreme Meteorologists”, and the work that was done in the field during TWISTEX has actually be published in countless peer-reviewed papers and academic journals. We took the risks we felt were necessary and as comfortable as we felt we could. We did not intentionally drive into tornadoes for “research”. We tried, even against the odds of favorable editing in post-production, to portray our group in the most professional, respectful manner to which we could. And we did so in a way that allowed the least amount of opportunity for production to later dramatize us. And I think we did a damn good job, even into the last season which was a gratuitous stretch of reality, lets be real. We took advantage of the stage we were presented in hopes we could display a side of chasing that I think really needed to be displayed. Did it ultimately work? That’s arguable. But it’s my hope that a few of those out in the field are doing good work because they were inspired by Tim’s passion and work-ethic to better the sciences, and do so in the most professional, respectful, and passionate way possible.
The passion, though, has been replaced with something else… I don’t even know what to call it anymore. The need to sell video, the need to garner social media followers, the need to do something. I don’t know… there’s a term for it, and it’s escaping my mind. It’s different, it’s much different. And it’s not good, let’s be real. Storm chasing is now a sport, and it’s a sport where the players as a whole are not very good. It’s about competition, who can get the most extreme video the quickest, who can get the closest, get more social media likes, whatever. I’ve fallen off the grid over the last couple of years, clinching to my close friends and long-time chase partners I’ve accumulated over the years. My social media following is much larger than I would come to expect given the relative lack of posting I do in the grand-scheme of things. But it’s something I’ve built over the years, and something I am proud of. But even still, my lack of posting is apparent is a lot of instances outside of my day-to-day chasing.
Look, I’m not trying to denounce people (I do denounce highly the dangerous behavior and carelessness exhibited all-too-frequently). I know this has carried a largely negative tone, but I’m happy to a point that we’ve inspired people to pursue this. And it’s not my place to judge others by their motivations behind pursuing storms. I’m expressing my thoughts on the matter. But where I am coming from is probably that of an old man perspective. The ability to simply be able to do something does not translate into one actually doing it. The lack of experience clogging roads has become dangerous, and it’s both the new and old. When you factor in those reasons I stated above, it makes anyone dangerous in the wrong circumstances. And it’s truly a miracle of miracles that incidents like what happened in Texas when long-time chasers recklessly killed a young chaser haven’t happened more. It’s truly a matter of time, and it’s not anywhere out of the realm of possibility that a much larger scale incident will occur due to the excessive amount of people being out on higher end days.
I’ve adapted… and not in the way I wanted or even envisioned to. A lot of people come back at me and say “if you don’t like it, don’t chase”. And while it’s not to accommodate their requests in any way, here I am sitting out a moderate risk day (started this on 5/22) to type this because I’d rather not go out of my way to chase a high-stress event. I’ve definitely come into a different place in regards to my chasing in recent years, and sitting out higher-end days is not something that bothers me as much anymore. Does that mean I will sit out every high end event from here through the end of time? No, of course not. It just means I am going to be highly selective on those I do opt to take part in. And these last last couple, in the midst of a very busy pattern with plenty of opportunities coming down the pipe, I decided to sit out.
It helps living in the Alley now, which was one of the reasons why I came out here. I’m not limited to a “chasecation” any more. I can be move selective, the opportunities will come to me. It’s called getting older, the idea of being out for dozens of days in a row just doesn’t have the appeal as it once did. I will get scattered chances to see storms all year long, and that’s a big reassurance. I’ve settled down in life a bit, it isn’t about how many tornadoes I can cram into a week, or how many miles I can drive (which trust me, still add up faster than I can keep up with), it’s about enjoying the storms a bit more. I’ve focused on picking up my Nikon more, filling up my wall with beautiful storm structure, lightning and tornadoes. I still have a job to do around that, but for me now, I just want to return to something earlier where it was about the storms, and get in those moments between work. Which is much harder to do when you’re in a high-end, higher-risk situation.
I’ve enjoyed very much the lower end days, the rewards of seeing beautiful storms and tornadoes and have done so in environments that allow me more focus on the skies and less on trying to survive the masses. I’ll have plenty of opportunities for higher end setups as a result of the job I work here in Kansas, but the days of going out of my way for those types of intense setups are highly numbered. And as much as it amazes me to say it, I’m not bothered by this nearly as much as the younger version of me once was. There will be other storms, other tornadoes, and I will see more than my share in the years to come. I’ve taken that step back, and have really come to appreciate that more in the last couple of years. I want to enjoy the weather again as close as I can to how I once did when I started.
Look folks, higher risk days are NOT the days to try to get your first tornado. They’re not the days you go out on if you’ve only chased a couple times, and certainly are not the days you want to venture out solo if you’re chasing experience can fit into a shot-glass. Baseball players who swing a bat in batting practice in the minors and drill a home-run on a slow hanging slider don’t immediately get to start in the World Series. They start small, and for many, it takes years to get to a point where they can make that start. I know many of you do not understand the idea of patience, persistence, actually taking the time to learn something. But that experience grows, and it will get to a point where you won’t be a liability on higher-risk days. There are ALWAYS going to be tornadoes, and the ones you really want (the photogenic, non-damaging rural tornadoes) tend to gravitate toward lower end risk days, and they always have fewer people. Remember, learning about chasing is knowing the weather, and it is VERY difficult to focus on the weather when you’re constantly navigating traffic and have your heads in a computer screen. And look, there is more to chasing than just tornadoes. Seriously, let that sink in a little. There is so much you’re missing out on.
Go chase, enjoy mother nature. By all means, please do. But start small, learn it. Appreciate it. Grow with it, and eventually you’ll get there. I did, lots of us did, and I enjoyed the journey, even as it took years to get to that point. You have so much more at your disposal than I, or many of us early-generation chasers did, tools that can help you grow and learn. Don’t just use it. Absorb it. Take a step back and think about those days you go out, do you know why? Do you understand how the forecast works? Or are you simply driving to the center of an outlined bulls-eye? Think about that, wouldn’t it be cool to understand WHY you’re chasing something. Then again, maybe you just wanna see tornadoes, and that’s cool too. But you have no idea what you’re missing, and it’s a blessing and a curse. If you truly understood what myself and others have invested over the years, you’d be as envious of us as you would lucky you weren’t us. Because it hurts to see what chasing has become in the last few years. It was never meant to turn into what it has today.
My final piece of advice… obviously I am not your father, nothing I have said here as advice is meant to be an order and probably has gone in one eye and out the other. And while you don’t have to listen to all that, please be sure to listen to this. Be respectful out there, be professional. While the practical obligations of chasers are largely up for debate, I feel we all owe it to ourselves and others to treat this activity with respect and professionalism. I understand how one can get caught up in the moments, and I am as guilty in this as anyone from time-to-time, but you have ALL THE CONTROL over what you put out for public consumption. If it’s your first tornado, or your 500th, act like you’ve been there before. Remember that many times over, these acts of nature that you may be rooting for and cheering on like a bunch of drunken high school students are doing awful things we cannot imagine to others. No one needs to see the levels of disrespect that are flung across the medias of the world now-a-days. Respect this craft. Respect the laws. Respect others. Be professional, and perhaps we can all go out there and do this thing and enjoy the moments while actually contributing something productive to the science and in some other ways, aid those in the paths of these things. Above all, be safe and be smart. And remember, your actions out there are not only being captured by you, but by every single other person out there with a camera. And if you’re acting carelessly, doing stupid stuff, you’re going to get called out for it. And you should! And when that happens, don’t get defensive, don’t go off in a huff, LEARN FROM IT. We’re all guilty of those moments, we’ve all been there. But for God sake, LEARN!
No storm, no tornado, NOTHING is worth your life out there. There will be plenty of storms, plenty of tornadoes… you don’t have to see them all, you don’t have to sell them all, you don’t even have to be there for them all. Know your limits, respect your skill set, and grow them all over the years you’re out there. No one is asking you to stop chasing, we’re just asking you respect the craft a little more, take a step or two back and appreciate and respect what Ma-Nature has to offer. This coming from one of the old guys in the craft now. Happy Hunting out there!
Thank you Tony for allowing us to publish your excellent piece to a wider audience. Take a look at some of Laubach’s work below, it’s worth it!
It’s suffice to say that storm chasers and law enforcement officers have butted heads a number of times in the recent years – best described as natural enemies – in a recent national convention for storm chasers in Wichita.
Law enforcement officers and
chasers alike say this needs to change – not just for the sake those involved
however to improve the safety of the public as well.
“When the storm chasers are out and storms are going on, the roads are like a high-speed chase.”
Gordon Ramsay, Wichita Police Chief
The interest in storm chasing exploded since the release of the 1996 blockbuster, Twister.
“The arrival of smartphones with ever-better photo and video capabilities means more and more people with little to no training in how to read storms are hopping in their cars and trucks and dashing after severe storms in hopes of seeing a monster tornado”
Ben Alonzo is a Kansas native
and long-time storm chaser who now works as an earth and atmospheric science
professor down in Florida. In an email response to questions, Alonzo said that his meteorology students are often shocked when they ask me about the chances of getting killed by a Tornado during storm chasing…
… “I’ve told them that you’re much more likely to be in a fatal traffic accident. It’s the traffic I’m worried about – not the Tornado.”
A significant amount of the confrontations between law enforcement and chasers are disobeying speed limits and stops signs – Butler County Emergency Management director Keri Korthals suggested. Korthals went onto to say that
public safety is one of the biggest things that’s going to get law enforcement
Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper
(KHPT) Chad Crittenden said chasers have been known to be so aggressive in
trying to get dramatic video of Tornadoes that they’ve driven across pastures,
farm fields, oil battery roads and private access routes1.
1: causing damage and sometimes getting stuck.
Crittenden went onto to say that the KHPT had received a number of complaints from farmers in rural areas of Kansas in recent years about damage caused by chasers.
Crittenden closed on this subject by saying having to retrieve stranded chasers and other motorists who are stuck in ditches or muddy fields – for example – is more than just a nuisance for law enforcement and first responders. It’s potentially putting the lives of the responders at risk – simply because they may be in the path of an approaching Tornado.
On the other side of the argument, chasers suggest that law
enforcement officers have caused problems and created dangerous situations by
needlessly blocking roads and or limiting where chasers can monitor the
weather. A prime example of the above scenario – a number of chasers suggested in social media posts – occurred outside of Dodge City, Kansas in 2016 in which several Tornadoes touched down near the city.
“The police had a road blocked off which backed up traffic for miles during the event, which created a potentially dangerous situation.”
Colin Hooks, Wichita-based storm chaser
Hooks went onto to say had the Tornadoes shifted their
track, the people halted on that road would have been sitting ducks because of
the traffic congestion created by the road block.
During the panel at Chasercon last month, Sedgwick County Undersheriff Richard Powell stated his department had not had issues with chasers and he was so glad to see so many chasers at the conference.
“We truly do realise the value of you folks. You’re more sets of eyes, more sets of ears.”
Richard Powell, Sedgwick County Undersheriff
The presence of so many chasers at the conference reflects the level of passion, the level of professionalism is evident in what for some is a hobby and for others a profession. Korthals told the collective – in the crowd – she has a mixed reaction when she sees storm chasers converging on Butler County.
“No offense, but I’d really like not to see you in my county. If you find my county interesting, that usually means we’re going to have a bad weather day”
Butler County Emergency Management director Keri Korthals
At least one thousand four hundred square miles, however, Butler County is the largest geographically in the state. It’s fair to say, that’s a lot of territory to monitor, Korthals suggested.
“Any extra eyes on that storm is something we value immensely”
Butler County Emergency Management director Keri Korthals
Law enforcement officials, Korthals suggest in a later interview that sometimes (we) make the mistake of assuming all storm chasers are the same: They’ll do whatever it takes to get the video or photos they want – including breaking laws & putting others in danger including themselves. Korthals carried on to say that all chasers are lumped into one group – chasers are bad. All they want is the glory of the money shot.
However, some storm chasers are conducting scientific research. Others are chronicling the storms with agencies such as the National Weather Service of private forecasting services such as AccuWeather/Weathernation following their live reports. Television stations in Tornado Alley also contact chasers to track severe weather and provide video and storm reports.
Whilst getting up-to-date weather information is easier for troopers station in the metro areas such as Wichita, Crittenden stated, chasers can be a vital sources of updates for troopers in rural sectors of Kansas. Crittenden went onto say that if you have valuable information – this looks like this is going to happen – come tell me. Crittenden closed by saying at the same time, don’t be mad
if I tell you that you can’t go down the road because it’s not safe.
World-renowned storm chasers Reed Timmer urged chasers at last month’s Chasercon to obey the speed limit and accept the consequences of not identifying the correct storm to track. I’d be lying if I said I have sped a few times, Timmer admitted.
Korthals, Crittenden and co suggested the best way for law enforcement and storm chasers to move away from being natural enemies and forgoing a better understanding is increasing communication and understanding.