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January 9, 2011

FEAR EXCHANGE: No Shark Shall Attack The Horror Digest On My Watch!

The superfantastic Andre Dumas of The Horror Digest writes about horror films as well as anyone does.  But she has a bit of a fear of sharks.  And since we're both awesome at what we do, and since she's afraid of sharks and I'm afraid of needles, we thought it'd be a great idea to exchange fears.  Hence, the Fear Exchange, which you read of above.
Andre has already tackled needles on my behalf, and it is now time for The Mike to tackle sharks in return.  And I shall tackle them with extreme prejudice.

To be honest, I've never taken sharks too seriously.  This could partially be because the first thing I think about when I think of sharks is THIS:
Yes, that's Saturday Night Live's famed Landshark.  And it's funny to me.  Plus, it's been revealed to be THIS:
See?  Chevy Chase, despite some of his later film roles, is not scary.  He was in Vacation and Fletch and even Spies Like Us (directed by John Landis!)...all amazing and funny.  If he's a shark, then sharks aren't that bad, right?

But I think the main reason Andre's afraid of sharks yet I'm not afraid of sharks is THIS:
I live in IOWA.  Since I'm relatively sure that the Great Lakes are shark-free, I live about as geographically far away from sharks as is humanly possible.  Heck, most of the time we can't even get carp or bluegills to bite up here.  So I'm chill, dude.

Movies, however, bring the pain when it comes to sharks.  Let's take a pictorial-style look at some of the scariest finned-demon flicks.  You know, the films that all contain a shot that looks like THIS:

Any discussion of sharks on film has to begin with Jaws.  It is, after all, the only truly great movie ever made about sharks.  Some will tell you that "Bruce", who played the shark in the film, is a robot...and they'd be right.  But that doesn't make him any less scary.
To me, one of the scariest things about Jaws are those darn yellow barrels.  I would slow down if you harpooned a couple of those to me, but this fella...uh uh.  It's a great moment for showing us what the shark is capable of, and it sets the tone for what comes next, when the film reminds us that you're not safe in a cage:
And, you're not safe on a boat:
And if you're not safe in a cage or on a boat....then you should be scared.  It's so simple, Dr. Seuss could have sold it to kids.

Open Water

Here's a little tip for anyone who might become a horror movie character: DON'T TEMPT FATE.
Especially not in those goofy sunglasses.  Such is the crime committed by the leads of Open Water, the "realistic" shark movie made on a tiny budget with a handheld cam in which a couple is stranded after a diving trip and face dangers like jellyfish (jellyfishes?  jellyfi?) and, naturally, SHARKS like this:
OK, so maybe it is stock footage.  But the idea behind Open Water is scary enough for me that it doesn't even need sharks.  So, when that angry face above shows up, the tension goes to 11.  Which is a lot higher than it was when the jellyfi showed up.
(Side Note:  They say that the way to stop a shark from biting you is to hit it in the nose...but look how big that nose is!  I'm sure there's a part of the nose you have to hit, kind of like one of those stuffed animals that says "Squeeze My Paw" then plays music.  But those animals have a button inside the paw, and just squeezing the paw might miss it.  My point?  If you don't see a button, either hit several parts of the nose with a vicious combo or get the heck away.  Got it?)


Speaking of stock footage, let's talk about Cyclone.  Yes, the 1978 Italian film which promises a storm, a cyclone, a plane crash, and sharks.  Don't believe me?  Check out the DVD cover, which looks like THIS:
Yeah.  That happened.  Like the one rap CD my dad has (which he plays over and over and over and over in the car)...they gonna eat your body like a cyclone!

Truthfully, I'm a little more than halfway done with the two hour epic that is Cyclone as I type this, but I've already been scared.  Part of that fear comes from the '70s wardrobe of the crash survivors/shark bait:
But also by the attacks from the stock footage sharks that look kind of like THIS:
So maybe the movie breaks up its promise and gets done with the storm and crash in the first 30 minutes.  Maybe there have been ten to twenty minute stretches since where NOTHING HAPPENS.  The sharks are still a little impressive, and I'm sure they'll be back.  Ever seen an Italian film who's violence peaked at the 45 minute mark?  Me neither.
Finding Nemo
Before we head back to Italy, I'd like to remind everyone that family movies are often unfriendly when it comes to our fears.  Such is the case with Finding Nemo, which everyone and their mother loves.  It offers up something that looks a lot like THIS:
Honestly, that's as scary as any shark I've seen on screen.  Sure, he ends up friendly and stuff because it's a cartoon, but kids remember images.  Were I still Baby The Mike, with my homemade Mr. T Cabbage Patch Doll and my peanut-shaped head, I'd be afraid of that.  And you would be to.
Zombi 2/Zombie
And now, back to Italy, the only place where the idea of zombie vs. shark could have been the '70s!  Think about that.  It's the late '70s.  America's getting Kramer vs. Kramer, Italy's getting shark vs. zombie.  Western Hemisphere, you fail me.
There have been many questions raised regarding shark vs. zombie over the years, but one of the things that most perplexes me is THIS:
Our mustachioed zombie friend not only rips open the shark's topside (which, per the nose punching theory, is impossible), but takes a bite out of the zombie.  Honored texts say that a bite transfers the zombie gene, which means that somewhere out there - there might be a zombie shark.  And theoretically, a zombie shark could "survive" out of water, right?  It's already dead, after all.  So...there could be an undead shark slithering around the streets of Italy or France or America RIGHT NOW.  
I haven't actually seen this movie all the way through, but - from what I recall - it's got some strong shark action early on.  Stuff that looks a lot like THIS:
But, just when you think shark vs. Richard Harris is gonna be a great battle....a vicious killer whale comes along and makes the shark its own meal.  From what I understand, the rest of the movie looks a lot like THIS:
So....that happened.  Scary?  
Yeah, I know.  Piranha are not sharks.  But I can hear Mike Myers (not the scary one) as Dr. Evil saying "I shall call them...Mini Sharks."  The piranha of Piranha aren't really scary on their own, because they look a little too much like THIS:
Yet there's an undeniable charm to the film that really keeps me digging it and raises the tension when the attacks begin.  And seeing children react in terror to these miniature sea-bound flesh-eaters?  That's scary.
(Brief update from Cyclone, as mentioned above:  Silly stranded folks tried to catch a shark with a rope.  What are you gonna do with an angry shark once you pull it up onto your little boat, huh?  That's a scary thought!)
Deep Blue Sea
If Jaws is the Citizen Kane of shark flicks, Deep Blue Sea is the Die Hard of shark flicks.  Because it's kickass and awesome and is directed by the wickedly awesome Renny Harlin.  Despite the fact I love Deep Blue Sea dearly, there's certainly something very scary about it.  You see, the sharks in the film start out like THIS:
Honestly, that's not too scary, right?  The shark's chillin' in a net, chewing on a license plate and hanging with a token Latino helper and Tom Freakin' Jane.  This is a domesticated shark, right?  Nothing you could do would make this shark dangerous, right?  
WRONG!  They (and by they, I mean those who are interested in that evil thing known as SCIENCE!) went and did THIS:
 That's right.  They put a NEEDLE in a SHARK.  What happened next?  THIS:
Oh, sorry dude-from-True-Blood's-dad!  Because you and your sciencey friends went and used a needle on a shark, YOU GOT YOUR ARM EATEN.  And now you're dead, and three "smart sharks" who don't have Alzheimer's are hunting everyone else who's stranded for the weekend in the middle of the ocean.  LL Cool J said it best - "Other fish in the sea but barracuda's ain't equal to a half human predator created by a needle".
Preach it, Brother Cool J.  The big problem in Deep Blue Sea?  THE NEEDLES.
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Look, I can't put Shark Attack 3: Megalodon into words.  But before Spring Break Shark Attack, before Malibu Shark Attack, before Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, before Sharktopus....Shark Attack 3: Megalodon started it all.  
I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking: The Mike, what is "it"?  And wouldn't Shark Attack, or even Shark Attack 2 have started "it"?  And I say: NO.  Just trust me, there isn't a worst amazing piece of shark terror out there than Shark Attack 3: Megalodon.  It's got the worst effects, it's got the worst characters, it's got dialogue like THIS.  (And you NEED to click on THIS.  Seriously.  CLICK THIS.) That was awkward, wasn't it Roy Scheider and friends?
So, if you're scared of any of these sharks (or shark-like creatures), Shark Attack 3 is the cure.  It's the moment when sharks JUMPED THE SHARK.
Don't believe me?  Watch this clip of the film.  And fear not!


The Man-Cave said...

Awesome post!!I love sharks and shark films and I will make sure to use the "Jaws/Citizen Kane and DBS/Die Hard" comparisons next time I have to unfairly defend the honor of DBS

And I never knew Chevy was the dude in the landshark outfit. Hmm.

Liam Underwood said...

Brilliant post. So much shark-fun, those vicious watery bastards.

They're easy enough to avoid (STAY OUT OF THE WATER) but the idea of an undead zombie shark slithering around somewhere is terrifying.

Emily said...

Awesome!!! Great job with the fear vanquishing! I've seen a few of these, but I can't wait to see the rest on this list- maybe I'll have to have an awesome shark marathon- up first I think will have to be Shark Attack 3: Megalodon! ...and I have to admit I've never seen Deep Blue Sea so that will have to be remedied in the near future!

Andre Dumas said...

Yes, real sharks are easy to avoid.
But fake sharks on the TV set pop up every other frickin day!!!

Hence, why no where is safe. Landshark is very real.....very real indeed...!

Fred [The Wolf] said...

Shark films rule. Great post!

Jinx said...

Best post ever!!

R.D. Penning said...

The Mike knows my love for all things on the SyFy Channel so this post hit close to my heart. It could have used a few Casper Van Dien references, but this is acceptable. I think Sharktopus could have been added to the list as well, hehe. I am a huge fan of Shark films, and I will continue to enjoy them. Thank you Mike for making me smile for the first time today! GO SHARKS!

R.D. Penning said...

I still can't believe you haven't seen Orca all the way through yet. It is one of my favorite childhood films, and it brings back the USA Up All Night memories.

Rachel said...

here I got a very cute shark bag, which i believe would be a great find for all SHARK fanatic!