It’s said that experience will inevitably win out over youthful exuberance. Well, sharks have been making Kit-Kats out of us poor humans and other assorted beasties for millions of years so who would you bet on in a fight?
My pathological, pants-wetting fear of the toothy predators in question is already firmly established. I’m referring to my previously posted review of The Reef, here on Yell! Magazine. As you’ll no doubt recall, since you bastard readers seem to delight in my suffering, I was forced to review the darn shark movie by my Evil Tormenting Bosses, despite making it perfectly clear that I’d rather stick it in Snooki without a rubber hat before subjecting myself to shark-related mental trauma. Of course, we all remember how far my protestations got me. My bosses, whose black souls are occasionally rented out as Satan’s summer home, pulled out the damn Ashes Of Problem Employee jar and that was that.
I muddled through, somehow. Massive injections of powdered Rhino horn and Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” set to constant play on the stereo might have helped. Also, I got me some hookers. Which is just good advice in any situation. I figured, with the review written and filed, that was the last I would ever hear of sharks at the Yell! Magazine offices. I had succeeded in foiling their try at reducing my sanity to a fine pulp, I was out the door, pass the dock and jumping for safety onto a helicopter mysteriously awaiting my latest escape attempt. FREEDOM!
WHAT? A freaking Top 10 list filled with nothing but shark movie after shark movie? Are you kidding me? I barely made it through one flick without dissolving into a weeping mess in front of the TV and now you want me to sit my ass down on the couch for 10 of them? Why do you hate me? Did I back over your dog or something? Did I steal a girl from you in High School? Or do you just like picking on people with phobias? I hope you all perish from some exotic form of crotch rot.
Let’s get this over with before they decide to further torture me with a top 10 list of movies with spiders in them. If there’s one thing I hate more than sharks, it’s those scary ass spiders…
No.10 Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon is (in)famous for several reasons, none of them exactly good. Starring a pre-Torchwood John Barrowman, this is one spectacularly low-budget affair, with recycled National Geographic shark documentary footage all over the place in lieu of actual special effects. There are some attempts to make the titular Meg, a prehistoric ancestor to the great white, appear bigger, but they do little aside from giving the FX department’s copy of Photoshop a good workout and the viewer a good laugh.
If Shark Attack 3 had been nothing but a harmless B-movie featuring random babelicious bathers getting munched on, then its place in the annals of shark-movie history would have been secured. Bikini-clad babes get eaten, a whole yacht-full of yuppies are swallowed, sometimes several at a time, what more does one require out of a movie starring a shark the size of a city bus? Well, there’s… “the line…”
Mentioned on a thousand movie review websites, this truly abysmal gem of a howler comes courtesy of Barrowman who, for the record, is quite gay in real life and claims he ad libbed the line as a joke to his costar. Having just survived an encounter with the ravenous beast, Barrowman’s hero is himself feeling a bit peckish. He turns to his plucky and utterly useless girl sidekick, the walking black hole of talent that is Jenny McShane, and nonchalantly asks her if he can take her home and devour her feline. And yes, that’s a euphemism. Cue gratuitous shower sex scene.
No.9 The Last Shark
Italian cinema is renowned for two things: fascinating, psychological horror movies from the likes of Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento… and blatant, amazingly awful rip-offs of popular American hits.
Care to guess which of the two this movie is? Let me give you a hint or 12: The Last Shark concerns a small island community with a beach-centric economy that’s terrorized by a great white shark on the eve of a popular holiday, the Mayor refuses to close the beaches so it’s up to American-actors-turned-Italian-cinema shills Vic Morrow and James Franciscus to go out on a boat and put a stop to the squall’s people-eating shenanigans.
If this little plot summary doesn’t remind you of a certain famous movie, then I demand that you immediately rip up and eat your membership card to the Fraternal Order of Movie Geeks.
Yes, The Last Shark, also known as Great White or Ultimo Squalo, is practically a shot-for-shot remake of Spielberg’s Jaws, right down to the shark’s explosive fate. What the movie doesn’t have is anywhere near the budget or the imagination of Jaws. The shark is so obviously fake it might as well have a zipper running along its side and seems only capable of popping its cartoonish head out of the water for a few scenes, most likely to chew on some even more fake looking mannequins.
Unsurprisingly, the movie was successfully sued by Universal Pictures in 1982 for an undisclosed sum of money. What? Our movie is similar to yours? And we marketed it as Jaws 3 in Europe? Just a coincidence, we assure you.
No.8 Deep Blue Sea
Unlike most movies on this list I am an unabashed fan of Renny Harlin’s shark opus. It’s pretty much the perfect escapist B-movie: not too smart, not too dumb, borderline awesome special effects that are still rife with opportunities for mocking and filled with enough slumming thespians to bring a smile to your face. Plus, SPOILER ALERT, Samuel L. Jackson gets eaten right in the middle of a moving, powerful dramatic speech with about an hour left to go in the movie. I have fond memories of people jumping in their seats at that one in the theater. Nobody saw it coming.
I don’t actually have anything bad to say about Deep Blue Sea, it’s one of those movies that I can recommend wholeheartedly without reservation. Watch it with some popcorn and get ready for a fun evening. Yeah, OK, you won’t exactly require the cognitive skills of a brain surgeon to follow along with the plot, but who cares? It’s a fun, often funny, killer shark movie with enough novelty deaths to keep you entertained for two hours. Hell, one guy gets his arm bitten off right after lighting a cigarette, almost as if the shark had something personal against it.
No.7 The Reef
Hmm… Am I going to bother writing up yet another blurb concerning the greatest shark movie since Jaws? A taut, terrifying thriller? The amazing movie that is basically the genesis for this top 10 list? Haven’t I already done that in a funny, well-written and insightful review that you can go read right now? Or I am going to be a lazy bum, post a link to my already published review and spend the next 30 minutes doing something more constructive? Where’s my Magic 8-Ball?
(Loud, watery shaking noises.) “Outlook positive.”
Woohoo! Screw this list. I’m free! FREE! I’m off to… to… do… uh… Curses! Foiled again. My utter lack of a social life strikes once more. Where’s that damn hooker when I need her? Bambi, are you snorting all my rhino horn in the bathroom again? (More loud, watery shaking noises.)
“Signs point to yes.”
If there’s one type of international cinema that has an even grittier, cheaper, more grindhouse feel than Italy’s finest exports, it would have to be Mexico’s.
Masters of the rip-off in the same vein as our pasta-eating Mediterranean neighbors, Mexican horror movie directors are characterized by a general willingness to offend, shock and take a devil-may-care attitude toward such horror movie taboos as offing kids. One such master of the genre is the late Rene Cardona Jr., who will be making more than a single appearance on this list. Stay tuned.
Cyclone is more disaster movie than fish flick, but sharks are a foreboding presence throughout. Following a plane crash during a cyclone, the survivors manage to find relative safety on board a passing tour boat, which is helplessly drifting farther out to sea.
With all hope gone, human nature takes over and cannibalism is discussed openly, and then swiftly made reality. By this point, the survivors have already eaten some poor woman’s pet dog so, really, what’s left but tasty, delicious human flesh? Pass the sauce. As if God himself went “Oh, no you don’t,” the boat starts to sink and the cannibals are soon introduced to the real man eaters in the ocean.
More uncomfortable than scary, Cyclone is nonetheless an effective horror movie, brought down a notch by the limitations in budget and casting inherent to a Mexican movie from 1978. It’s a slow burn until the sharks ring the dinner bell, but the journey there is worthwhile. Think of it as an Irwin Allen disaster movie… only with sharks.
Find out which shark movie ranked No.1 in our list after the jump…