As a student of camp and master of gore, Anthony C. Ferrante spent the majority of his career creating straight-to-video horror films and covering the genre for niche publications. After doing a series of tele-films for the Syfy network, he struck gold with the release of his bizarrely genius film “Sharknado” (2013) that captured the cultural zeitgeist and created one nationwide movie-watching experience, turning Ferrante into a household name.
Ferrante was born and raised in the small town of Antioch in northern California. From the early age of 11, he knew he wanted to make movies and this idea was further entrenched after seeing John Carpenter’s “Halloween” (1978). With a lenient mother and a subscription to the film magazine Fangoria, Ferrante immersed himself in the horror canon and decided that until he was old enough to make movies of his own, he could write about the genre he loved. He became a film reviewer for his school’s newspaper throughout junior high and high school and started a fanzine of his own. While still in high school, Ferrante started taking night classes for video filmmaking at his local community college and learned the tools of the trade, experimenting with shorts before attending film school full time at San Francisco State University. While working on his own film projects, Ferrante was given the opportunity to write for the very publication that inspired him as a child, and he took on assignments covering film sets and interviewing his idols for Fangoria during the 1990s.
Ferrante’s journalistic experience served both as an education in how these films were made and an entry point into the industry itself. He eventually made the move to Los Angeles and started work as a production assistant on the film “Necronomicon” (1993). Ferrante quickly graduated from PA status after showing the director Brian Yuzna his short films, and was put in charge of coordinating special effects for “Necronomicon” and later working as a full-time supervisor on Yuzna’s following feature horror film, “The Dentist” (1996). Ferrante continued to work steadily as a special makeup effects supervisor on various horror films while still working as a journalist before making his directorial debut on the film “BOO” (2005), which he also wrote. “BOO” displayed Ferrante’s skills at creating high quality horror films on very meager budgets which earned him plenty of work writing and directing other films for television such as “Headless Horseman” (2007), “Leprechaun’s Revenge ” (2011) and “Scream of the Banshee” (2012).
Inspired by the early films of legendary directors Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson, Ferrante wanted to push the limits in terms of gore, logic and effects in horror films, injecting camp and humor whenever possible. After firmly establishing himself in the televised horror genre, Ferrante was tapped by Syfy to write and direct a visual-effects sci-fi film as part of their original movies series. With one brilliant title and starring two past-their-prime stars in Tara Reid of “American Pie” (1999) fame and Ian Ziering of “Beverly Hills, 90210” (FOX 1990-2000), “Sharknado” was an overnight success. With the viral popularity of the film, Syfy took the unexpected step of releasing the film into theaters for special midnight screenings and almost immediately ordered a sequel: this time, with the storm of sharks descending upon Manhattan.