I feel that I need to start by revisiting the sentiment from my first blog. These types of movies are not everyone’s cup of briny tea. It takes a person with an ample sense of humor and lowered expectations to enjoy a “so bad it’s good” sharksploitation film. I am always baffled by the one star reviews for these. Who the hell thinks that House Shark is going to be a benchmark for cinematic achievement? Lighten up.
Are all sharksploitation films good? Hell no. But House Shark, despite being a little too long, is one of the goofiest, most hilarious ones out there. This is pretty much a reshoot of Jaws, but as if Spielberg took enough peyote to make his IQ drop to the bottom floor. The entire movie is a giant hodgepodge of Jaws references, but done in the most delightfully twisted way. With lots of butt jokes.
The story is about an ex-sheriff named Frank Roosevelt who lives in a house with his son Theodore. Frank goes out on a date and at some point, Betsy the babysitter, strips naked to take a dump. I’ll pause here for a moment to discourage any expectation that women strip naked to poop. This does not happen. Anyhoo, this is a good example of the Jaws gags you will get throughout the movie. Chrissy dies skinny dipping, Betsy dies skinny dumping. Every reference is turned into a ludicrous joke befitting the deep and profound plot of House Shark. Listen, I am the world’s biggest Jaws fan. I’ll cut a bitch. But I didn’t mind all the silly jabs and twisting up of the most precious shark movie known to mankind. Why? Because it is fucking funny!
So Betsy gets it in the end (see what I did there?). Frank and his son move out to the backyard and refuse to reenter the house. Meanwhile, the evil Reagan real estate agency needs to sell that house to make money. During an open house, the fish strikes again and now it is clear there is a house shark on the loose. Some internet research informs Frank that not only is this a new species of shark, but he must seek out Zachary Taylor, the planet’s only house shark expert.
I know there are a lot of old-timey political names in this movie. It only gets worse.
Let’s discuss the house shark itself for a moment. It is a horribly fashioned, mutated paper mache puppet thing. I loved it.
Eventually we end up with our final three. Zachary Taylor, the Hooper one, who sports lederhosen and butchers a German accent. Frank, the Brody one, ex-cop who bumbles through the movie with a charming likeability. Abraham Lincoln, the Quint one, who has dedicated his life to finding this house shark and destroying it with his fake beard and heavy drinking. Abraham is by far the most enjoyable character. He has a tick where he must touch people’s faces. He has a terrible Boston accent. The Quint Indianapolis monologue is warped into a haunting story about the Syracuse Parade of Houses circa 2004 when a house shark wreaked havoc on a local real estate festival. “Not sure how many died that day. Three, four, maybe none.” I almost peed myself laughing.
The shark-seeking stooges come up with an idea to wear a female shark costume to lure out the beast. We find out that the shark was really the product of Zach’s experiments with plutonium for the military. There was an explosion and in the confusion, the shark escaped into a sink. Zach proposes that another dose of plutonium might send it over the edge and right into the silty, salty afterlife. “I saw it in a Godzilla movie once. The theory is sound.” Oh and the house shark has a ray gun.
Abraham and Frank turn on Zach after this. Zach turns on them and blows up the water tank, flooding the house. What ensues is the longest underwater breath hold ever seen on film. The filmmakers really don’t care about any semblance of reality. Strings can be seen attached to props floating around in an elongated fight scene, making me really sad that I wasn’t one of the actors in this movie. It just looks like such jolly good fun.
After this, the movie goes a little sideways and drags on a bit. It’s still stupid-funny but there are at least five scenes that could have been cut from the ending alone. Perhaps a bit too much of a good thing.
Abraham had swallowed the house key when they first entered to confront the shark, trapping them inside. The only hope of escape is for him to poop it out. The house shark has other ideas and poor Frank has to fish out the key which is now “circling the outer rim” out of Abraham’s butthole. Will he succeed? Will they kill the house shark?
I know this sounds like a total shitshow of a film. And it is. But in a thoroughly entertaining way. Anyone who knows all the lines of Jaws verbatim and has a hint of a personality will love this film. It just might have bumped Sharkenstein from my number two to my number three pick of fucktastic sharksploitation movies.
See ya next time!
Director: Ron Bonk
Where to watch: Amazon Prime