The Urban Legend of Canada’s 'Twister'

Sunday January 28, 2018 Written by garry


In the film Twisterthere’s a scene where the titular tornado canons into a drive-in theatre, ripping the screen to shreds and sending on-lookers into a mad panic. Then one night in 1996 – if you believe the story – during a screening of Twister at a Canadian drive-in, an actual tornado ripped through the cinema and destroyed the screen in front of shocked onlookers. Filmmaker Jay Cheel wasn't sure whether he did believe the story about the twister that hit during Twister. So he investigated, and he made a film about it...

The thing is, the story received media coverage with accounts of the incident seemingly backed up by photographic evidence of a felled drive-in theatre screen, and first-hand eyewitness accounts of the event.

In Twisted Cheel starts out by painting a picture of the night in question, where people share first-hand accounts of the tornado that hit during a screening of Twister. But then Cheel begins to strip apart this version of events. He threads through recollections of staff who'd been working at the time – and who weren’t certain it was a tornado that felled the screen at all, and deny that Twister even screened that night.

So did it happen? Cheel's film is an exploration of memory, truth and myth-making. As one interviewee puts it:  “Every urban legend has a little grain of truth.”

Images: Twisted the film

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