Blogger Stacie Ponder’s horror columns appear every Wednesday.
If you’re anything like me, Independence Day is a holiday that holds more meaning for you than Arbor Day, Secretary’s Day, and Escalator Safety Awareness Week combined. For me, not only is July 4th a day to wonder at the appeal of illegal fireworks (seriously, I just don’t get ‘em) or eat too many vegetarian hot dogs (shut up, they’re good), it’s also a day to watch Jaws. In Jaws, remember, the greedy mayor doesn’t want to cancel Amity’s Fourth of July celebration simply because of some pesky great white shark… and as we all know, chaos ensues.
Jaws is undoubtedly the mack daddy of all shark movies, as my fellow columnist Scott Sigler recently pointed out. Most everybody knows the film, most everybody loves the film, and most everybody thought twice about skinny dipping at midnight after they saw it the first time. But, dear viewer, there’s so much more out there than Steven Spielberg’s effort! Why, if you broaden your horizons a bit, you’ll note that the shark attack genre features movies such as Shark Attack, its sequel, Shark Attack 2, and of course, the third film in the trilogy, Shark Attack 3.
If I may take a moment here, I’d like to discuss the glory that is Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. It is, quite simply, my favorite bad movie of all time. I preach it like gospel. The blatant use of stock footage, the horrible acting, the atrocious superimposed set pieces, and the ridiculous plot all converge to create 94 of the best awful minutes you’ll ever experience in this lifetime. I love it and I cuddle with it at night like it’s a DVD-shaped teddy bear.
The Title Says It All
What’s great about the shark attack genre is the film titles tell you everything right from the get go. There’s no need to stand in the video store, clutching a copy of, say, Death is Totally in the Water (I made that up, but feel free to use it), wondering what’s in store; after all, death in the water might come courtesy of a shark, yes, but it might also come courtesy of a torpedo, or a syringe, or a really angry crab. Who’s to say? Who wants to guess what water-related terror awaits? Not me. The shark movie moviemakers obviously understand my desires, and as such they give their films simple titles like Shark Kill, Shark Zone, Raging Sharks, Shark Swarm, and Shark! (the exclamation point adds excitement, don’t you think?). It’s absolutely no surprise that each of these flicks features all manner of shark-related shenanigans.
For my money, however, the greatest shark-related shenanigans ever committed to celluloid don’t even appear in a shark attack movie. Any horror fan worth his or her salt knows what I’m talking about: The infamous zombie versus shark sequence in Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (aka Zombi 2), of course! It’s so absurd, so unexpected, and just so damn awesome to see these two horror movie baddies duke it out underwater, it makes me wish that every zombie movie had a shark in it. Or every shark movie had a zombie in it.
The Possibilities Not Yet Explored
Now, I could go on and on about the genre, talking about Open Water this or Deep Blue Sea that. Thinking about the zombie and shark going mano a fin-o, however, has me led me to ruminate about possibilities not yet explored within the world of the shark attack movie. Recently at my blog
I posited: Why has no one yet made a film starring a flying shark? It
would certainly quell the arguments from those who insist that shark
movies aren’t scary because you can simply avoid the water. But a
flying shark? Please! Avoid the water all you want, fella, but there’s
nowhere to hide from the shark with wings!
In response to my
flying shark idea, a reader countered with the notion of a snow shark,
which is a notion I fully support. The image of a great white speeding
down the mountainside in pursuit of skiers like a torpedo/toboggan of
death tickles me to no end. Really, it’s a movie that writes itself.
C’mon Hollywood, let’s show some ingenuity. Get those sharks out of the
water and onto the slopes!
But why stop even at the mountains? If
Jason, Leprechaun, and Pinhead can head into space, then why not
sharks? Again, the movie practically writes itself: When Earth loses
contact with a newly-settled colony, a ragtag group of space marines
embarks on what should be a routine mission. When they arrive at the
all-too-quiet colony, however, the plucky space marines discover that
the colony was built on a planet full of space sharks! Chaos and lasers
Where are the sharks that can shoot their razor-like teeth at unsuspecting victims? Where is Freddy vs. Jason vs. Jaws?
Where is the shark that can walk — and kill — like a man? It’s just
this minute become my one true desire that these films someday make the
leap from my dreams to our reality and sharks are able to finally
expand their domain far beyond the briny depths. Now that’s the great white hope.
A fan of horror movies and scary stuff, Stacie Ponder started her blog Final Girl so she’d have a platform from which she could tell everyone that, say, Friday the 13th, Part 2 rules. She leads a glamorous life, walking on the razor’s edge of danger and intrigue