Shakespeare once asked: “What’s in a name?” I bring this up for two reasons. First of all, because I wanted to be the only person in history to ever bring up Shakespeare in conjunction with something called Sharktopus. Secondly, because this movie’s title speaks volumes about what expectations you should possess before popping this DVD into your player. Suffice it to say, the box art contains the words: “Roger Corman Presents.” Nuff’ said.
Look! In the water! It’s a shark! It’s an octopus! No, it’s Sharktopus, a gloriously old-fashioned B-movie in the style of old drive-in flicks that could be compared with online casinos where you can find free spins no deposit, keep what you win and have a good time. Starring, and I use the term as loosely as possible, an impossibly deadpan, Oscar-winner Eric Roberts and a bevy of beauties in bikinis.
The titular eight-armed shark is a military project that escapes from captivity and goes on a rampage. A wonderful, silly, badly acted rampage topped off by some of the most ridiculously awful yet awesome special effects I’ve seen all year.
Here’s our old friend Rene Cardona Jr. with another shark-centric exploitation flick. Tintorera, Spanish for tiger shark, is a thinly veiled softcore porn venture masquerading as a killer shark movie. It stars two painfully, obviously gay playboys that spend their time trawling Mexican beach bars for hotties to bed, all the while taking great pains to hide their Brokeback feelings for each other.
Yeesh, wake up and smell the Streisand, guys!
Jokes aside, Tintorera is a delightfully sleazy time. Featuring a very naked pre-fame Priscilla Barnes and several never-found-fame babes in several stages of undress. Our horny pair’s fun times are ended when a gigantic tiger shark starts devouring their conquests. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? It’s getting so a prolific ladies man can’t have random, anonymous, unprotected, sleazy, way too hairy, 1970s sex with a bevy of beauties without some shark wandering along and eating some of them. Our swinging dicks are understandably pissed off at the shark and decide to do a little fishing. With dynamite. They really miss those slutty beach bunnies.
I still say they could have just made out with each other.
No.3 Open Water
Standing tall as proof of the effectiveness of tension over gore, Open Water is a stellar little . Shot for a budget that most major Hollywood productions would qualify as “petty cash,” this gem, starring two unknowns and only one major setting, managed to scare up over $50 million at the U.S. box office and launch a wave of lost-at-sea imitators, peaking with the previously mentioned The Reef.
What puts Open Water miles ahead of most shark infested movies is the overwhelming tension of the situation our leads find themselves in. Left behind by their tour boat, with nothing but their diving gear and prayers, Susan and Daniel must decide which fate is worse: to survive long enough to die of starvation or to embrace the sweet specter of death at the bottom of a shark’s gullet.
Open Water spawned a sequel, Adrift, which had an entirely different ocean-related predicament. The original is still one of the most terrifying examples of the potent combination of sharks and the utter helplessness one feels after being abandoned.
Don’t worry! I’m sure it’s just a guppy.
No.2 Jaws: The Revenge
So I’m sitting here thinking about the last two entries on this list and I figure I need to have at least one movie from the Jaws franchise on it.
There is no disputing that Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece deserves the number one slot. It’s the greatest shark movie ever made, bar none, on top of being one of the scariest and most beloved movies of all time, a flick that still manages to scare the living poop out of generation after generation of fans. But, come on. Everybody expects it to top the list. Be honest, which movie did you think was going to be number one when you first started working your way down this list? Will Smith’s Shark Tale cartoon?
So I figured, fuck it, let’s play with expectations somewhat. Also, it gives me an excuse to pile more abuse on this abominable turkey and I thought there might be more fun to be had watching Jaws 4 instead of rewatching the original for the 500th time.
What further insults can I come up with to describe this movie? Can it be Michael Caine’s totally phoned in performance, for which he missed out on accepting his 1987 Oscar? The movie’s insane premise of shark after shark coming after the Brody family in some sort of crazy undersea vendetta? The fact that the great white manages to roar several times despite lacking such handy things as lungs? People having flashbacks to events they weren’t even present for? The fact that this movie once made Jesus cry and declare that humanity wasn’t worth saving? Yeah. Jaws: The Revenge is all of these things. And that’s why it deserves to be on this list.
Also, these lists take forever to write. I’m tired. I’m cranky. And that erection I got from the rhino horn simply refuses to go away. How long it is before you’re supposed to call a doctor? 12, 16 hours?
No.1 (TIE): Shark Night 3D/Bait
We all know Jaws is number one. So let’s have some fun and keep the number one slot open for the young, up-and-coming contenders. Shark Night 3D, opening on September 2nd, looks deliciously ridiculous in a way only a truly spectacular B-movie can.
Following the Piranha 3D formula or boobs + killer fish = asses in seats, Shark Night stars American Idol contestant Katharine McPhee and the ever so scrumptious Sara Paxton. Costarring are Paxton’s boobs and blue bikini.
On the other end of the spectrum is the more modestly budgeted Australian production Bait, starring Nip/Tuck’s Julian McMahon. While this is clearly a low-budget affair, I kinda dig the story: following a tsunami, a bunch of no-name Aussie actors are stuck in a flooded shopping mall along with a roving pack of hungry sharks. Think of it as Dawn Of The Dead meets Jaws. Which one of these movies, if any, will walk away with the coveted number one spot on our list? Or is Jaws fated to be the one and only winner, time and time again?
Shark Night 3D Trailer
Your faithful, and shark-proof cage inhabiting, reviewer,