TINTORERA (1977) Reviews and overview

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‘There’s a monstrous killer churning up the sea…’

Tintorera is a 1977 Mexican-British action film about two shark hunters who flirt with an attractive British lady while hunting down a large tiger shark terrorizing the Mexican East coast. Also known as ¡Tintoera! (in Mexico), Tintorera… Tiger Shark and Tintorera: Killer Shark.

Directed by René Cardona Jr. (Beaks; Cyclone; The Bermuda TriangleGuyana: Crime of the Century; Night of a 1000 Cats) from a screenplay co-written with Ramón Bravo (from his novel) and Christina Schuch. Produced by René Cardona Jr. and Gerald Green.

The movie stars Susan George (The House Where Evil Dwells; Venom; Straw Dogs; Fright; Die Screaming Marianne; The Sorcerers), Hugo Stiglitz (Nightmare City; Night of a 1000 Cats), Andrés García and Fiona Lewis.


“The big problem with Tintorera is that it plays like two completely different movies edited clumsily together, rather than as a single, unified film that attempts to operate on two different levels at once […] Combine that with the dissonance between the movie the filmmakers seem to have thought they made and the one that they actually did make, and you get a good 90 minutes’ worth of missed opportunities.” And You Call Yourself a Scientist!

“There’s a lot of nudity, some nice bodies among them, but surprisingly little sex. The film is not really about sharks, but people, and it’s unfair to compare it to Jaws, which it obviously was trying to cash in on. It’s very slow and stupid, but it’s pretty and rather watchable.” Down Among the “Z” Movies

” …if sitting through what seems like hours of beachside seductions and relationship woes with a shark thrown in for fun sounds like a good time, dive into this atrocity […] The movie looks good, with solid colors and brief moments of grain and debris, but who cares? It’s a stinker to avoid at all costs!” DVD Drive-In

“The scenery is beautiful, the underwater photography is good, and the acting is fairly decent. The problem is that it bills itself as a Jaws ripoff when at least ninety per cent of its running time is devoted to the love and sex lives of the hedonistic vacationers […] That leaves precious little time for shark action, and most of that is devoted to people killing various sea animals…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

” …it features plenty of stock footage of sharks, but one has to wonder if René Cardona Jr. didn’t decide to just haphazardly wedge them in at some point […] Less a grue-filled schlockfest and more a softcore male fantasy, Tintorera imagines a world where killer sharks might only be the third most dangerous predator behind a pair of sex-obsessed beachcombers trawling for babes.” Oh, the Horror!

“Those who may get upset seeing very real sharks getting speared, hooked and clubbed in the head should know ahead of time that there is a lot of this type of material in the film and the camera does not shy away from showing it. Additionally, there’s a lot of sex in the movie as well, far more than you’d probably expect going into what has traditionally been marketed as a typical sharksploitation picture.” Rock! Shock! Pop!

“There are no thrills here, even the attacks on people are far outnumbered by people’s attacks on fish, prompting one to wonder if this is perhaps Jaws rewritten for marine life to watch. Never mind that it’s difficult to work up much sympathy for anyone in this, so flimsy are their personalities, it doesn’t take the advice of any shark you’d care to ask: if you stop moving, you die, and Tintorera does exactly that.” The Spinning Image

“The pacing is lethargic, the ending is complete crap, and the flick is curiously low on trashy thrills. The movie does go into some kinky territory once our two heroes start a ménage a trois with Susan (Mandingo) George, but Cardona never shows them closing the deal. And although there is a little gore (severed head and legs), you have to wait until the movie is nearly over to see it.” The Video Vacuum


Cast and characters:

Susan George … Gabriella
Hugo Stiglitz … Steven
Andrés García … Miguel
Fiona Lewis … Patricia
Eleazar García … Crique (as Eleazar Garcia ‘Chelelo’)
Roberto ‘Flaco’ Guzmán … Colonado (as Roberto ‘Flaco’ Guzman)
Jennifer Ashley … Kelly Madison
Laura Lyons … Cynthia Madison
Carlos East … Mr Madison (as Charles East)
Priscilla Barnes … Girl from Bar #1
Pamela Garner … Girl from Bar #2 (as Pamela Gardner)
Erika Carlsson … Anita (as Erika Carlson)
Manuel Alvarado … Naval Officer
Alejandro Ciangherotti … Fisherman #1 (as Alexander Chianguerotti)

The shark in the film was a Tiger shark. Locations were filmed at Isla Mujeres, a resort island near Cancún. All the underwater scenes were filmed with live sharks using the submarine expertise of Ramón Bravo.

Due to the censorship imposed by the Mexican government at the time, there were two versions of the film prepared – the so-called uncut version, with plenty of explicit nudity, for foreign markets, and a cut version for domestic (Mexican) exhibition.

The original English dub in theatres and on VHS featured the voices of Susan George and Fiona Lewis, who played the two British tourists in the film. However, this dub was later lost and a new one was created with American voice actresses, which is the one used on the DVD.

Trailer [1080p]:

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