Monday, June 10, 2024

Junesploitation 2024 Day 10: Sharksploitation!


  1. Meg 2: The Trench (2023, dir. Ben Wheatley)

    Slightly better than Meg 1! This movie at least delivers on the promise of Jason Statham vs. Giant Shark better than the abysmal Meg 1, so thank you Ben Wheatley for that... also, why did you direct this?

  2. Aquaman (2018)

    So many people consider this a camp masterpiece. The gonzo underwater stuff, a ridiculous cast (Dolph Lundgren gets more screen time than Nicole Kidman), about fifteen different plots - it's basically James Wan doing whatever he wants with $200 million. Unfortunately, it didn't all click for me on this latest watch like it does for other people. I'd try the sequel but I just don't wanna.

    1. No, don't do it. The sequel is unwatchable. And i liked the first movie

  3. TOXIC SHARK (2017)
    First-time watch. Echo Bridge DVD. 3/10.
    When I bought the Meg-A-Shark 8-movie DVD at Dollar Tree, my expectations were nowhere to be found. If 21st century bad-CGI sharksploitation is your bag, TOXIC SHARK is for you. The large shark sprays poison green goop on people & eats them with acrobatic verve. I'm not sure what the goop is supposed to accomplish for the shark, but it causes rabies-like symptoms in survivors who can pass on the contagion. Because of arsenic. The ridiculousness of the CGI is pitched to entertain, but I get mired in the irritated, bitchy idiocy of all the characters most of the time. This seems to be a non-isolated condition in 21st century genre offerings. Does someone in sub-Hollywood think people like snippy, unlikeable characters?
    Either way, the pacing is swift & anyone with an allergy to bikini butts should steer clear.
    So far, the best thing in the Meg-A-Shark collection is SHARKMAN (aka HAMMERHEAD) from 2005 by Michael Oblowitz. William Forsythe is an IT guy who can take charge in a combat situation & Jeffrey Combs is a mad scientist trying to cure cancer.

    1. "The best way to get over a guy is to get under another one."

  4. Late again! :-P


    I'm visiting my family in Upstate NY on a long-ago-planned visit during my days off from work, so I was planning on skipping the next couple of days of Junesploitation! Staying at my stepmothers, and it turns out she'd never seen "Jaws." She remembers owning the VHS cassette because of the iconic artwork, but others in the household watched it. So I rented "Jaws 4K" from Amazon last night and we just watched it on her 2022 75" Vizio, a gift I bought for her when she retired from work that year.

    To my delight all the comedy beats (the mom yelling at the Brody kids on the boat after she sees the picture on the book, the three men sharing war stories and singing as they got drunker, etc.) played as well, if not better, than the well-timed shark attacks. My stepmom was really pissed at the mayor for putting summer dollars over people's lives, and said at the end he was the real villain of the movie. 'The shark was just being a shark, she said, 'that guy was just a greedy a-hole.'' :-D Personally the last scene with Vaughn at the end telling Chief Brody 'My kids were at that beach too' really hit home as guilt eating the mayor for what he did, making him a slightly less one-dimensional baddie. Too bad "Jaws 2" completely reverts him back to unsympathetic, but within the OG "Jaws" universe that hasn't happened. ;-)

    I rarely watch J! movies with company (besides theatrical crowds) but for this 12th or so viewing my opinion is validated by my new-to-the-movie stepmom: "Jaws" rules. 5 DOGS EATEN ON THE BEACH THAT GO UNNOTICED BECAUSE OF ALEX KITNER'S DEATH (out of 5).

  5. MEG 2: THE TRENCH (2023):

    Statham's gift as a movie star is that he is exactly as cool as he thinks he is. No more. No less.

  6. Ouija Shark (2020, dir. Brett Kelly)

    So recently, I happened to be watching a Red Letter Media video about something they called "watchbait", cheaply produced crap on streaming services sold only on a horror movie codeword appearing in the title (like Shark, Exorcism, Amityville, or Ouija). Out of sheer curiosity, I wanted to see one of them and to my great cost, I came across a movie called Ouija Shark...

    A woman finds an Ouija board on a beach and convinces her friends to try it out. When they do, all they get is the word "hungry" and a vision of a shark. The next day, a translucent ghost of a shark starts randomly attacking people on a nearby forest trail. So to defeat the shark ghost, the woman has to embrace her family heritage in the occult.

    It will come as a surprise to no one that the movie is flat out terrible. And not in the "so bad it's good" way, it's just oppressively bad (even though a few nonsensical details made me chuckle, like sunbathing on a gravel beach on an overcast day, or a dinner scene with just empty plates because apparently the production couldn't afford prop food or cutlery).

    Sometimes you just have to watch something utterly bad to better appreciate the good.

  7. The Meg (2018)

    No sharks for the first 35 minutes? Come on, guys! We're not here for Rainn Wilson! The problem here is that the movie is blatantly copying shots, dialogue, and characters from other, better, shark movies and it just makes me want to watch them instead. And, I feel like this also suffers from the same Hollywood pitch thinking as the Jurassic Park sequels: "What if it was the same type of creature as the earlier movie, but it was BIGGER?..."

    Two fugitive crooks are shipwrecked on an island of beautiful women. You’d think that’d be pretty great, but things turn deadly. Roger Corman, we all love you, but this movie is BO-ring! This was filmed on location in Hawaii, and I wonder if that locale was still “new” enough for viewers in the ‘50s, so that just seeing Hawaii on screen was enough of a draw.

    THE LAST SHARK (1981)
    This Italian flick isn’t even trying to hide that it’s a remake/ripoff of Jaws. It’s like looking into an alternate universe where Jaws was made without Spielberg’s talent. On the plus side, some of the underwater photography is nice, and they got a lot more use out of their fake rubber shark than Spielberg got from his famously not-working mechanical one. This movie’s not bad, I guess. It’s just generic.

    Bonus Universal Monster-sploitation: THE MUMMY’S HAND (1940)
    The first appearance of cult-fave mummy Kharis, in all his shambling, zombie-like glory. I like how quirky this one is, filled with all sorts of kooky characters. That said, I do want to tell the one comic relief guy to shut up about his “Poopsie.”

  9. JAWS 2 (1978)
    Rewatch on Universal Blu. 6/10 up from 5/10.
    I saw this under non-ideal conditions about a decade back & thought it was a dud. This time I'm split between enjoying the feel of the period & the town, enjoying the shark-frenzy moments & wondering why they don't seem to mesh well. An excision of 20 minutes could go a good ways toward a more tense film. I kinda think JAWS 2 is using too much shorthand for tension & suspense; you know from the first movie that it's scary, so use that here, dear audience. Either way, it's not a chore to watch. Maybe they should've taken a page from René Cardona Jr.'s book, upped the depravity & expanded the stakes.

  10. SHARKTOPUS (2010) dir. Declan O’Brien
    Produced by Roger & Julie Corman

    The high point may have been the Roger Corman cameo where he ogles a girl in a bikini, casually watches her killed by sharktopus, and then finally steals her doubloon.

    Coulda been a 2-star movie if Ralph Garmin had actually said, “Damn you Sharktopus!” as he was devoured.

  11. Cruel Jaws (1995, dir. Bruno Mattei)

    I've been participating every day even though I haven't been commenting every day, so please bear with me. This is the kind of movie made for Junesploitation in that it isn't good by any measurable metric but it's exactly what I'm in the mood for during this month. It would be super fun in a group setting. I keep waiting for the Bruno Mattei movie I love unconditionally and I will continue to wait even though this comes close.

    1. I started Under Paris but it's really doing nothing for me.. might have to jump ship (ha) for Cruel Jaws.

    2. "Rats" is by far my favorite Mattei but "Cruel Jaws" is a close second.

    3. A "great' one! And I'm with Shannon, "Rats" is a great one. I liked Robowar and Hell of the Living Dead a lot, too.

  12. The Shallows (2016)

    Blake versus a shark? Sounds lively, I mean lovely.

  13. Jaws 3 (1983) Lazy sequel sees Sheriff Brody’s son (Dennis Quaid) fighting sharks at Sea World. Lou Gosset shows up, overacts, and collects a paycheck for playing the Mayor Vaughn role. Shoddy, laughable special effects. Originally in 3-D.

  14. SHARK'S TREASURE (1975)
    First-time watch. Scorpion Blu. 7/10.
    This is true sharksploitation. The sharks on the poster & in the title are not the main obstacle, though they are featured. Also, some of the sharks are actually hunted. Thusly exploited.
    Cornel Wilde wrote, directed, produced & starred in this PG adventure as a seabiscuit convinced by John Neilson to look for sunken treasure near Belize. 'Nam vets Yaphet Kotto & David Canary sign on. A handful of convicts have escaped, led by Cliff Osmond, & are in the area. Drama ensues. This is totally entertaining, if a little slow at times, but I think I got dehydrated watching everyone drink Miller Lite in the blaring sun, surrounded by salt water.

  15. JAWS 3-D (in 2-D) (1983)
    Rewatch. Universal Blu. 6/10.

    “Show any cheek & you’ll be back shovelin’ French fries.”

    I thought I hadn't seen this one, but things were familiar. Most likely I watched it the same fateful night as JAWS 2.
    I cant' find anything to love or hate here. I find the shoddy compositing charming & the film unreasonably slow, all things considered.
    I think I AM in love with the titling style of 3-D films from this era.
    To see a less good version of this story, try SHARK ATTACK 2 from 2001.

    “He can take a flyin’ leap at a rollin’ donut on a gravel driveway.”

  16. Under Paris (2024)

    Had a couple fun moments, but overall nothing too exciting. I don't know why horror of all genres gets caught up in the "BEST 'SUBGENRE' MOVIE SINCE 'MASTERPIECE'" shenanigans. I guess it worked though as it got me to watch. I'm often more disappointed when directors show they can do tension really will and intermittently fuck it up with awful "OUT OF PLACE STING" than when the whole movie is messy. Also, French people are really bad at not falling in water.

  17. Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976)

    What would Junesploitation be with a William Grefe flick? The Florida filmmaker followed up his William Shatner serial killer romp "Impulse" with this oceanic entry, in which Richard Jaeckel plays a shark whisperer. Again (as in my Kaiju choice, Mighty Peking Man), the 70's theme of man's exploitation of nature is explored in all its ugliness; warning: sharks were harmed in the making of this film, which makes me question Grefe's sincerity. It's a bit slow, but Jaeckel really sells it, and Buffy Dee is completely deplorable as the corpulent, capitalistic, stogie-sucking double-crosser Barnie the bar owner. Also featuring Harold "Odd Job" Sakata, proving once again he's a much better actor when he's silently tossing bowlers; with a subtitle like Jaws of Death, you'd think Grefe woulda cast Richard Kiel, but who I am to question the director of Death Curse of Tartu? Plus, there's much amusement from the copious helping of local Keys color. Florida, man...

  18. Furia Aesina (1990)
    Of all the movies that came in the wake of Jaws, I may be most fascinated by Tintorera…Tiger Shark. Based on the book by oceanographer Ramón Bravo (who discovered the sleeping sharks of Isla Mujeres and is also the underwater zombie in Lucio Fulci’s Zombi), it’s as much a shark film as its a softcore movie concerning the three-way relationship between its heroes. It’s also the only shark movie I’ve seen with full frontal male nudity.

    Made 13 years after he made Tintorera, this is directed by René Cardona Jr. Mostly, it’s about ecological-minded scientists devoted to solving the riddle of AIDS by studying sharks and taking their antibodies. As you can imagine, this makes the sharks more murderous, if that’s possible. The film follows one of them and it beeps repeatedly, every time the camera gets close to it, as the Jaws theme plays. I don’t even think Joe D’Amato or Bruno Mattei had balls big enough — cojones maybe — to do that.

    There’s also a BDSM serial killer on the loose, taking one of the scientists and tying her up. All with a Casio demo track synth soundtrack, filled with spandex and butt shots, shot on video and a release straight to home video. Also, Gerardo Zepeda, who plays Pariente in this, had quite the career, appearing in everything from El Topo to Sorceress, Dr. Tarr’s Horror Dungeon, Caveman, as the monster in Night of the Bloody Apes and as the Cyclops in Santo and Blue Demon vs. the Monsters.

    It’s not as good as the original, but the fact that it exists and that I found means so much to me.

  19. Under Paris (2024)

    Alas i was underwhelmed with the flick. Strong opening and concept but boring delivery. A shame as its look/feel felt above a lot of the low-rent CGI sharksploitation genre. Just mediocre story and direction.

  20. Jaws The Revenge (1987). I decided to finally watch this one after delaying watching it for years because of its abysmal reputation. And do you know what? It's pretty good! Maybe the 2nd best Jaws movie. Certainly flawed (Mario van Pebbles is fully chomped in half by a shark but minutes later "Hey! I'm ok!") but I was thoroughly entertained (see earlier point about man getting chomped by shark). I think too I was just vibing a lot with the nice location in the Bahamas with the crystal blue water.

  21. Under Paris (2024) dir. by Xavier Gens

    Where did all that water come from??

    I got roped into this one by my ♥️, but I admit I went willingly. I'll give it this: there was less CGI than I expected. But, otherwise:

    It's a pretty silly premise with no reasoning. There's a group using climate change end-of-the-world messaging but focusing on saving 1 shark. Liberties are taken with the laws of physics. I'll excuse the other silly stuff like being stupid about danger, since they are well worn tropes in this kind of movie... but it all adds up. It's almost good as a bad-movie, but not quite there for me.

  22. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)

    Interesting concept of cave they sharks are blind, but have other senses heightened. Not executed super great. Massive action set piece barely featured a shark.

  23. Jaws (1975 Dir Steven Spielberg)
    best movie ever.

  24. As your resident French F-Head I feel the need to apologize for Under Paris... What an utter disaster.

    I usually try to avoid rewatches during Junesploitation but I picked Sharksploitation anyway, as this documentary is just delightful (minus the onscreen animal cruelty in a couple of scenes). Always a pleasure watching Corman and Joe Dante talk about their career (or anything, really), but giving as much, if not more, screen time to experts and marine biologists is what really sets this film apart. It goes way beyond "and then this movie was made, and then this movie", and as someone who, as a child, was a blubbering mess every time she saw the shark get obliterated at the end of a Jaws sequel/rip-off, I really appreciate the conservation/environmental message.