With the imminent arrival of Mark Polonia‘s micro-budget Doll Shark, Amityville Shark House from co-directors Will Collazo Jr. and Shawn C. Phillips, and Tommy The Room Wiseau’s Big Shark it seems an opportune moment to take a look at some of the wackiest and worst shark films from the past and warn our visitors which to avoid and which ones are at least fun despite being generally awful. These were chosen at random for Part One of this list but we’ve arranged them chronologically as it shows how sharksploitation became sillier and sillier.
Jaws: the Revenge
The biggest budgeted movie here – back in 1987 this dreck cost a jaw-dropping $23 million apparently – and the only one from a major studio. Just how Universal managed to completely wreck their Jaws franchise so rapidly with this incredibly stupid film is beyond comprehension. Jaws 3-D was bad enough but this boat wreck of a movie piles on scene after scene of audience-insulting dialogue, acting and ‘special’ effects. The infamous shark’s roar during the climax allegedly came from a 1946 Tom and Jerry cartoon because the sound engineer refused to record an original shark roar. Cos sharks don’t roar! Unfortunately, roaring sharks became a thing in future movies too. It’s a merciful 89 minutes and at least worth an occasional laugh. Especially whenever Michael Caine appears laughing his way to his enormous paycheck.
The only Indian film on this list. This Bollywood hodgepodge Jaws rip-off began production in the 70s before the money ran out. It was continued in the 80s but was abandoned until its eventual release in 1996. Aside from a crime subplot, as you might expect in an Indian movie, there’s plenty of family drama and rampant overacting. Plus, the requisite Hindi songs, of course. It takes about 50 minutes for the huge shark to show up and when it does it varies massively in size. The shark attack scene involving a model helicopter is a perfect example of pricelessly so-bad-it’s-good cinema.
This was a project that infamous Italian exploitation director Aristide Massaccesi (better known as Joe D’Amato) took over when its young director Raffaele Donatowas apparently struggled to complete on time. And its shows. The end result is really half-hearted and dull with hardly any shark scenes and even those are stock footage. Again, click the link below and read Dave Jackson’s detailed analysis of why even trash auteur Joe D’Amato couldn’t save this one.
The late Bruno Mattei was an Italian filmmaker infamous for making some of the trashiest movies ever to be released. He gave us the likes of Hell of the Living Dead; Rats: Night of Terror and Zombies: The Beginning and, to be fair, many of his movies are entertainingly bad. His addition to the sharksploitation sub-genre is a jaw-droppingly cheeky montage of footage filched from other movies such as the Italian Great White (1981) and Deep Blood (1990), plus even Jaws and Jaws 2! Shots are edited together so manically (Mattei was a very experienced editor before he turned his hand to directing) to produce something truly laughable. Sharks of all shapes and sizes appear and disappear every few seconds in an insane movie maelstrom. Read our guest reviewer Dave Jackson’s piece via the link below. There’s also a link to watch Cruel Jaws online on YouTube. make sure to have a few drinks on hand when you do!
This crappy Canadian movie was made by trash auteur Brett Kelly (Konga TNT; Countrycide; Ghastlies; Attack of the Giant Leeches). He actually has two other movies on this list: Raiders of the Lost Shark and Ouija Shark. That’s a bad track record. But not as bad as the aforementioned Mark Polonia. But we’ll come to his awful efforts soon. Why is Jurassic Shark so bad? There are countless scenes of people just wandering about to pad out the paltry 78-minute running time. The audio is awful. The acting sucks. Kelly’s filmmaking is amateurish. A huge shark leaps out of about two feet of water at the edge of a grubby lake. We don’t normally pay attention to IMDb scores but Jurassic Shark‘s 1.4 out of 10 is warranted. Again, this one’s free to watch online on YouTube if you’re in a charitable mood.
This one is a so-bad-it’s-good effort that concerns the spirit of a Great White shark returning in any amount of water to kill people. It appears in a swimming pool, in a toilet and even in a drinking water cooler! As you might expect, the CGI is terrible but Ghost Shark is actually pretty entertaining as it’s so darned silly. And it’s filled with action. unlike some of the snoozers on this list.
90210 Shark Attack!
One of the absolute worst sharksploitation films ever. A genuine bottom feeder. This is hack David DeCoteau’s attempt to ride the wave of what was deemed to be popular in 2014. A bunch of annoying self-centred students, one of whom is cursed so can change into a shark, are staying at a Beverly Hills mansion with their conniving greedy female teacher.
The plot is simple and yet made pointlessly convoluted. The acting is atrocious and there are the usual long lingering shots of the hunky young men’s torsos that DeCoteau specialises in when he’s not making talking animal or holiday-themed movies. There’s some brief footage of sharks in the sea taken from another movie but, aside from the glacial pace, the worst aspect of 90210 Shark Attack! is the cursed shark attacks. Utilising embarrassingly rendered CGI for a few seconds each time (see image below) these kills take up less than a minute of the entire movie! Never watch this, even if it’s free online.
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus
Why is it so terrible? Well, in the spirit of silly cinema we can forgive the ridiculousness of massive CGI monsters leaping out of the sea to attack a plane miles above or taking a chunk out of the Golden Gate Bridge. No, what scuppers Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus is the typically banal dialogue and delivery in the face of such mega and giant creatures. Deborah Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas are just such bland leads. At one point, the latter notes “we’re dealing with a menace” with all the conviction of a man who may as well have noticed a few ants on his picnic rug. Nonetheless, as with the Sharknado franchise (which we’ll come to), the sheer absurdity of events onscreen ensured a lot of interest and spawned three more Mega Shark movies.
Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus
The first sequel in the Mega Shark franchise following Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. Obviously, we get two more massive monsters but the actual scrapping between them is decidedly minimal and the tiresome interactions between the human characters leave a lot to be desired, despite the presence of Asylum regular Sarah Lieving and the always watchable Robert Picardo. As a consequence, the 88-minute running feels a lot longer. If you don’t believe us, click the link below and watch the movie free on YouTube.
Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark
The third of The Asylum’s Mega Shark movies is definitely a step up from Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus. That said, it still suffers from the same issues with very quick cutaways when there is action, constant use of stock footage and too many dull dialogue scenes to pad out the running time. Nevertheless, Debbie Gibson is back – if you consider that a plus – and the scenes of Mecha Shark cruising through the streets of Sydney are the film’s highlight. Free to watch online, of course.
Mega Shark vs Kolossus
The fourth entry in the Mega Shark franchise was clearly a take on Attack on Titan and the kaiju elements are more than welcome. There’s a little more monster action in this one to balance out the extended scenes of military types debating what to do. Worth a look if you enjoy sillier shark movies and, again, free to watch online.
Written, produced and directed by SRS Cinema owner Ron Bonk, House Shark attempts to be humorously zany. A shark in a house! That’s gotta be hilarious, right? Wrong. The film’s characters are generally annoying, the gags are awful and the ridiculously long running time of 111 minutes will test any sane person’s patience. Clearly, comedy appeals to us all in different ways but most people will find House Shark a real chore to sit through. Check out the mainly negative reviews via the link below, especially YouTuber Pizowell’s particularly morose video. It’s funnier than the film itself. Which can also be watched free online via the link provided. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Schlock auteur Mark Polonia’s first entry on this list and one which we weren’t sure whether to include because it’s so deliberately awful it defies conventional criticism and precisely what divides aficionados of ‘Z’ grade filmmaking. There are those that love Mark Polonia’s cringe-inducing characters and dialogue and super-shoddy effects and those that just hate his slapdash approach when just a little more expense and effort might have created something a little more worthwhile. We tend to fall into the latter camp and find that pandering to filmmakers of any calibre who seemingly just don’t care just lowers the bar pointlessly. The short 45-second trailer for Land Shark doesn’t show enough to get an idea of just how deliberately dreadful it is so check out the Carnage Count YouTube video for the film’s ‘highlights to decide if you love or hate the almost orange fake blood, the laughable puppet shark and the shockingly cheap CGI.
The first Chinese movie on this list features a red shark and one that our friend Leo at the Geek Legion of Doom YouTube channel described as “an incredibly cheap knock-off of Deep Blue Sea 2 and “the poorest excuse for a CGI creature feature I have ever seen.” We couldn’t agree more. Watch his review via the link below.
Beyond the wretched shark, the characters in this one all behave like complete idiots when attacked so the viewer has zero sympathies with their plight. Another one that’s free to watch online but we have to say only of you are a sharksploitation completist.
The second Chinese film on this list and one that fits within the wackiness description although it’s also a very trashy movie. As per the title, this genetically-mutated shark can move on land and even underground because it has been injected with the DNA of earthworms! It takes massive leaps through the air. It also gets bigger and bigger throughout the movie. To be fair, Land Shark is entertainingly bad if you can put up with the cheap CGI. It’s another one that’s free to watch online so check it out via the link below. And again, we recommend alcoholic refreshments or a joint to enhance the experience.
There’s no fun to be had here. It was written, edited and directed by Dustin Ferguson. Anyone familiar with that name will know there’s no reason to explain why this one is so bad. He’s the man that has given us the likes of Ebola Rex vs. Murder Hornets; Amityville Toybox and Zombi VIII: Urban Decay. There’s no doubting Dustin’s love of the genre. it’s obvious he’s a fan and not just an uninterested hack. Unfortunately, he seems determined to churn out as many movies each year as possible (eighty since 2016 and sixteen more are in the works – yikes!) and so any semblance of quality is sidelined in the quest to get the film finished as fast as possible.
Apex Predators runs 70 minutes and during this short running time, the only sharks that are briefly seen are stock footage ones. Briefly. Most of the movie is padded out with endless shots of people wandering about at the waterfront just to fill up the running time. Some minor attempts at humour are execrable. If you doubt our word on it just check out some of the reviews via the link below. Incredibly, Mr Ferguson wants to insult us again with the prospect of more boredom: Apex Predators 2: The Spawning, Plus he’s giving the world Sharks N Da Hood and Space Sharks. We can’t wait.
Blood in the Water
This one comes from British producers Scott Chambers [as Scott Jeffrey] (Spider in the Attic; The Mutation; Bats; Bad Nun: Deadly Vows; Cupid; ClownDoll) and Rebecca Matthews (Witches of Amityville Academy; The Candy Witch; Pet Graveyard). Anyone familiar with this pair’s releases will know that quality is never a consideration. As with the previously discussed Dustin Ferguson, it’s all about filming as fast as possible from a script that’s brimming with dreary dialogue rather than the action promised by the premise.
Blood in the Water was clearly ‘inspired’ by Saw but adds a Great White shark to a suburban UK swimming pool. No explanation as to how it got there and the kills are just a bit of fake blood splashed about in the water. Plus, there are the usual painful attempts by some of the cast to adopt American accents. When they remember. Dire.
In Parts Two and Three of this listing, we’ll be taking a look at the likes of 2-Headed Shark Attack and its sequels, Noah’s Shark, Ouija Shark, Psycho Shark, Raging Sharks, Raiders of the Lost Shark, Roboshark, The Requin, Shark Exorcist, Sharkenstein, Sharks of the Corn, Sharktopus and its sequels, Super Shark, Virus Shark and Zombie Shark.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
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