Twister is a 1996 American disaster drama film starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton as storm chasers researching tornadoes. It was directed by Jan de Bont from a screenplay by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin. Its executive producers were Steven Spielberg, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Gerald R. Molen. Twister was the second-highest-grossing film of 1996 domestically, with an estimated 55 million tickets sold in the US.
Halfway through filming both Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt were temporarily blinded by bright electronic lamps used to get the exposure down to make the sky behind the two actors look dark and stormy. Paxton remembers that ‘these things literally sunburned our eyeballs. I got back to my room, I couldn’t see’.To solve the problem, a Plexiglas filter was placed in front of the beams. The actors took eye drops and wore special glasses for a few days to recuperate. After filming in a ditch that contained bacteria, Hunt and Paxton had to have hepatitis shots. During the same scene, she repeatedly hit her head on a low wooden bridge because she was so exhausted from the demanding shoot that she forgot not to stand up so quickly. Hunt did one stunt in which she opened the door of a vehicle that was speeding through a cornfield, stood up on the passenger side and was hit by the door on the side of her head when she let it go momentarily. As a result, some sources claim that Hunt got a concussion. De Bont said, ‘I love Helen to death, but you know, she can be also a little bit clumsy.’ She responded, ‘Clumsy? The guy burned my retinas, but I’m clumsy … I thought I was a good sport. I don’t know ultimately if Jan chalks me up as that or not, but one would hope so’.
Joey: [Discussing at Meg’s on the tornadoes they have seen so far] No, that was a good size twister. What was it, an F3?
Bill: Solid F2.
Melissa: See, now you have lost me again.
Bill: It’s the Fujita scale. It measures a tornado’s intensity by how much it eats.
Laurence: That one we encountered back there was a strong F2, possibly an F3.
Beltzer: Maybe we’ll see some 4’s.
Haynes: That would be sweet!
Bill: 4 is good. 4 will relocate your house very efficently.
Melissa: Is there an F5?
[Everyone goes dead silent]
Melissa: What would that be like?
Jason ‘Preacher’ Rowe: The Finger of God.
Melissa: None of you has ever seen an F5?
Bill: …Just one of us.
[Looks upstairs, indicating Jo]
Jeep is a brand of American automobiles that is a division of Chrysler Group LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Italian multinational automaker Fiat S.p.A.. The former Chrysler Corporation acquired the Jeep brand, along with the remaining assets of its owner American Motors, in 1987. Jeep’s product range current consists solely of sport utility vehicles and off-road vehicles, but has also included pickup trucks in the past.
Twister was produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, with financial backing from Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures.
The film is known for its successful product placement by featuring the latest iteration of the Dodge Ram pickup truck and several other new vehicle models.
Jo: [cow flies by in the storm] Cow.
[cow flies by in the storm]
Jo: ‘Nother cow.
Bill: Actually I think that was the same one.
Dusty: ‘The Suck Zone’. It’s the point basically when the twister… sucks you up. That’s not the technical term for it, obviously.
Bill: Jo. Things go wrong. You can’t explain it, you can’t predict it. Killing yourself wo’nt bring your dad back. I’m sorry that he died, but that was a long time ago. You gotta move on. Stop living in the past, and look what you got right in front of you.
Jo: What are you talking about?
Bill: Me, Jo.
On May 24, 1996, a tornado destroyed Screen #3 at the Can-View Drive-In, a drive-in theater in Fonthill, Ontario, which was scheduled to show the movie Twister later that evening, in a real-life parallel to a scene in the film in which a tornado destroys a drive-in during a showing of the film The Shining.The facts of this incident were exaggerated into an urban legend that the theater was actually playing Twister during the tornado.
On May 10, 2010, a tornado struck Fairfax, Oklahoma, destroying the farmhouse where numerous scenes in Twister were shot. J. Berry Harrison, the owner of the home and a former Oklahoma state senator, commented that the tornado appeared eerily similar to the fictitious one in the film. Harrison had lived in the home since 1978.
The film was used as the basis for the attraction Twister…Ride It Out at Universal Studios Florida, which features filmed introductions by Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt.
A recording of a camel’s moan was slowed down and used as the sound of the tornado.
The reason the characters react to the TV screens going blank and showing only static before the tornado hits is because, in the days before digital TV, it was discovered that a tornado generates a signal that will override and blank channel 2 on TV sets. Digital TVs do not react this way.
The TOtable Tornado Observatory (nicknamed ‘TOTO’ after the dog in the film The Wizard of Oz—where in a tornado is a key plot element) is a large, instrumented barrel-shaped device invented in 1979 by engineers Dr. Al Bedard and Carl Ramzy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETL) and Dr. Howard Bluestein, meteorologist at the University of Oklahoma (OU). NOAA’s objective was to place the TOTO directly in the path of a tornado, where it could, theoretically, record valuable information about the tornado’s structure.
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