In 1985 Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale unleashed something incredible into the cinematic time stream. That something was a time travelling DeLorean. Of course this is when the now iconic science fiction comedy Back to the Future was released, and even though it only spawned 3 movies, it has still managed to capture our hearts and imaginations, as well as giving us a ruddy good laugh at the same time.
There are many reasons to love Halloween. Free candy, dressing up in outrageous costumes, mad parties and plenty of scares. But for me the appeal of the season comes from one simple pleasure and that pleasure is getting to indulge my love of trashy monster flicks.
Now monster movies come in all shapes and sizes but for a true party atmosphere with a few friends and a few drinks there is nothing better than a cheap and nasty CGI creature feature flick. I remember when my friends and I settled down to watch Shark Attack 3. I was forever changed after that experience!
The BBC has formulated a list of the top 100 “Greatest American Films of All Time” and there are some notable additions we here at Grizzly Bomb thought were worth noting. Continue reading BBC Releases Their List Of The 100 Greatest American Movies
Jaws is an amazing film. I think most people would be hard pressed to argue with that fact, and if nothing else Jaws made almost everyone afraid to go into the water.
The VHS and poster art is a work of genius, so simplistic and yet so powerful. It is also a great example of summing up an entire movie. People swim, Jaws eats them. Aside from how they beat the shark, that’s pretty much the movie in a nutshell. It is the Jaws sequels I want to cast my beady eye over this week and the slap dash approach they took with VHS marketing. Like a lot of series, this line of movies went from great to dire until they decided to knock the whole franchise on the nose and send it on its way (that’s how you distract a shark for a few minutes you see, by hitting its nose, so that comment is actually quite clever!).
Jaws 2 decides that Jaws was such a winning formula they should just copy and paste it into a new plot line. So not much has changed, it follows Sheriff Brody again, and people still will not listen to him about there been a pesky shark roaming about. The man paid his dues, surely they should cut him some slack. Anyway the cover is pretty standard; it has blonde looking happy, water skiing until old Bruce (the sharks nick name from Jaws) 2 pops up behind her. This is where I start to get a bit pedantic people, as it’s the same shark. Now I know this may come as a shock, but not all sharks look exactly the same, sure similar – but not identical. Does the shark from Jaws have a bloodline that covers the entire frikking ocean? I know it’s iconic and all, but come on.
In the first Jaws film the shark is coming from the bottom of the ocean to the top to get the woman. But here the shark is already behind the woman in question, and she is facing us directly, not swimming sideways. So the angle of the shark looks all wrong. He should be facing the front of the cover, so we see his eyes and teeth or at least his fin poking out. It just looks like the shark has torpedoed himself out the water like a missile, and it seems that the water-skier would have noticed that. Most of the shark attacks I have seen (well on TV at least) always have the sharks pop out the water at a slight angle, so it can get a better grip of its food. Not the case with this shark, he is a drama queen and must make an entrance. The funniest thing I found about this is, if he is coming in at that angle he will land down onto the water pretty quickly, creating the biggest shark belly flop known to man or beast.
Jaws 3, alas does not change the formula either. In its defense though, it does at least show two sharks (which is a big part of the movie one a baby, one its mum) on its VHS sleeve, and it does show the SeaWorld staff having a good time until the shark chases them. Maybe if they spent more time sorting out the SeaWorld pipes they would have noticed the damn sharks, but that’s beside the point. The shark is actually going in the right direction this time, with its fin just been visible. It makes it a lot more credible and to be honest a lot more scary. The artwork is pretty good here too, so it is a definite improvement. The SeaWorld resort is plainly seen in the background and it looks huge, which makes it a little bit more believable that two sharks would pop in for a visit. This was 3D in the cinemas and the Jaws 3 logo makes it look as such, which also adds just a little bit more originality to it. My VHS copy however does not have 3D capabilities, so it puts me in a foul mood to think I missed 3D Jaws. Overall in cover and plot at least they tried something different. What they did not do however, is get rid of that bleeding shark image! Even worse on this one – it’s not even in the water, it’s just hovering over the resort like some mega shark waiting to attack. In all fairness maybe they were going for a metaphor on how the shark is like a spectre of death hovering over the resort until it has its revenge, probably not though.
This brings us to Jaws 4 –The Revenge. Wait I thought the last film was about shark revenge. Well ignore that, as this film brings us right back to sheriff Brody’s family. He is dead now, shark induced heart attack (or maybe boredom as I would get sick of sharks popping up every two seconds). His wife thinks that a shark is stalking them. Is it? Who cares that’s not what I’m here for, I’m looking at the VHS cover. And boy this is a slap dash affair. There are two different covers for this. The US one which is the best, actually looks pretty good. It has a woman, alone on a ship, ready to fight a ticked off shark. It even breaks the trend of completely ignoring the human cast involved in the film, by having them on the bottom of the front cover.
Maybe they put them on so we knew who to blame when everyone who watched this thought it was a turd sandwich. The other cover, which is also the promo poster for the movie sucks. It is the exact same cover as Jaws 2 but it has removed the girl entirely. Even the people who make the VHS covers were sick of having teenagers on the cover! All they have done is add a few splashes around the shark mid rift to make its jump out of the water scarier. But it’s not, because the shark looks like an idiot. He is in the middle of the ocean (there is no land present anywhere on the sleeve) and there is no one there, he is actually chasing nothing so why the big entrance? A Shark Prima Donna yet again, making a big entrance but this time for no body. It actually just looks stupid. And no extra points for using the shark as the A in Jaws – The Return, it’s not clever and it reeks of desperation. The viewers thought so to, as this nose-dived at the box office and killed the series. So what have we learnt from this? Well Jaws 4 needed better VHS art (or a better plot I’m not sure).
Just for giggles I’m including the unofficial sequel Jaws 5 – Cruel Jaws. It was a TV movie shot by Bruno Mattei which focused on a tiger shark (so not the right shark then) kicking off and doing the usual shark things these movies do. The cover is hilarious though. It is the exact same cover as Jaws 4 only more crudely drawn and with an explosion in the background, because everyone loves sharks and explosions right? This may be my favourite cover actually! But all this bitching and moaning aside I should not complain. Without these films we would not have had some of the amazing rip offs (like the above mentioned film) which would warrant an article themselves. We would also not have had the CGI shark flicks of today. Hell some companies would go bust if it was not for the fact you can mix a shark up with pretty much anything (Two headed shark, Shark man, Dinoshark and Sharktopus been fine examples). I don’t know if I could live in a world that did not have these. So for that reason alone I salute the awful VHS covers of the Jaws franchise and thank them for kicking off a run of awful shark movies.
This is to be the 4th piece of the series here at Grizzly Bomb. For each feature we will examine an individual genre and the quality of its films produced within a specific decade, like, for example – the 25 Best Action Movies of the 90s, the 25 Best Comedies of the 80s, or The 30 Best Sci-Fi Movies from 2000-2009. These lists will be compiled from a point system determined by votes from each member of the staff. It’s very scientific. We use Excel. So here it is…
*31. Grizzly (1976) Bonus!
30. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
29. Horror Express (1972)
28. Scars of Dracula (1972)
27. Legend of Hell House (1973)
26. Magic (1978)
25. Asylum (1972)
24. The Omega Man (1971)
23. Zombie (1979)
22. Suspiria (1977)
21. Theater of Blood (1973)
20. Willard (1971)
19. Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971)
18. Don’t Look Now (1973)
17. Black Christmas (1974)
16. Martin (1977)
15. Eraserhead (1977)
14. Shivers (1975)
13. Last House on the Left (1972)
12. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
11. The Omen (1976)
The other day, Paramount released new footage from the film Super 8. This scene found its way into the final cut of the film, but was pared down on the cutting room floor. In this extended clip, we see the main cast in their local 7-11 talking about the zombie film Charles (Riley Griffiths) is attempting to make. The clip really shows, at length, the stalker-type obsession Joe (Joel Courtney) has for Alice (Elle Fanning). He even wants to know what book she was reading in the silent reading section of the library; no doubt so he could read it feverishly before they set out to film at the train station and just happen to strike up a conversation with her about it. Ah, kids. Anyway, you can see the clip here.
Cool. My first and only thought about this clip: who the hell cares, really? I was hoping, when I heard of the unseen footage, that I would get something redeemable about this movie. Something that would make me feel better about shelling out ten bucks to see it. Something that would make me say, “Well, it was a good movie, they just cut out the wrong bits.” Sorry, folks, that is not the case.
Here’s the thing with Super 8 – it had such good intentions. Mystery. Intrigue. Steven Spielberg’s stamp of approval. Even halfway into the movie, I liked it. It had a cinematic feel reminiscent of old school Spielberg; kind of like a cross between Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Goonies. And then the pilot took a hard nose dive which never corrected itself, and the story careened out of control until it finally burst into flames right before the end credits. It was so bad, I wanted to go back in time after the movie to an hour prior, to tell the me that hadn’t finished the movie to leave, and go get some Dairy Queen to salvage the evening.
The problem with Super 8 is the problem that many movies have nowadays with advanced graphics and CGI – as soon as you see the monster, you’re done for. Why was Jaws so brilliant? Because you never saw the shark. You knew it was there. You saw the terror it left in its wake. You heard the eerie music. But you didn’t actually see the shark. Years later, Spielberg admitted that he only did this because the shark didn’t look right. Technology had not advanced far enough to satisfy him. Little did he realize at the time, but because of his perfectionism and attention to detail, he created a cinematic feature that drove the film. Audiences were terrified of what they could not see.
This begs a very scary question, though: If Jaws were made today, and the shark could look just right, would it have been another box office bomb?
I haven’t been this let down in years. Remember the movie Signs? Back when M. Night Shyamalan wasn’t Hollywood’s laughingstock? He had just come off The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, two great films. I went into Signs thinking history would repeat itself, and I would be treated to another twisting and weaving plot that would hook me at the end. Instead, you know what I got? Really dumb aliens. And not just any aliens – aliens that were killed by water. Never mind that they had been traipsing around a planet whose atmosphere is riddled with water vapor. What if it had rained? All that terror, all that paranoia, could have been wiped out by a cool spring shower. Clever writing, that was. It just goes to show, if you don’t have a strong ending, you don’t have a strong movie.
So, seeing the monster killed it for me. But what really beat the dead horse (as in, it was already killed, yet they kept trying to kill it) was when they gave the alien feelings. Of course. A monster that has been killing maliciously for days can be talked down by a thirteen year old kid. Makes total sense.
The Labyrinth was a more believable movie than this. Maybe they should have cast David Bowie. So, better late than never, I rate this film with 2 bears. And the second bear isn’t even full-grown, it’s still just a little bear.
And I thought Piranhas in 3D were enough, now we get a shark? It’s a mystery to me why no one has ever tried to do a scary shark movie since Jaws, sure they could never hope to come close to the perfection that was Jaws, but something genuinely scary would have been good. Instead the closest thing we have had is Deep Blue Sea which was painfully mediocre, and a slew of terrible (Yet hilarious) made for SyFY movies such as Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, Blue Demon and Sharktopus.
From the director of two Final Destination movies and Snakes on a Plane, the plot of Shark Night 3D is very basic. A group of young adults go to a lake house that is located on a small island to party hard for the weekend, but little do they know is that the waters are inexplicably populated by a shark or sharks. Hmmm… must be a salt water lake. Gore and chaos ensue as they try to get off of the island. Check out the trailer below:
I know it looks like the generic ‘creature feature’ horror movie, and the story is ridiculous, but I actually have hope for this one to be genuinely creepy. I’ve always had an uneasy feeling being in water so deep I can’t see what’s below me, so seeing sharks in a lake where they aren’t supposed to be is kind of unsettling. Not that it could ever happen… right?
And thankfully they didn’t go the Piranha route and intentionally make it ridiculous with a bombardment of old washed up actors. The only recognizable actor I saw in the trailer was Joel David Moore from movies such as Avatar, Dodgeball and Grandma’s Boy and the TV show Bones.
So here’s to hoping that we get something scary out of Shark Night and not just another movie like Piranha that should have skipped the theater and hopped straight onto SyFy. I’m sensing something that will at least outdo Deep Blue Sea and their stupid smart sharks that looked like inflatable rubber pool toys.