I deeply enjoy writing stories about theme park horror. I know why. Because I watched the epic living shit out of Jaws 3D when I was a child. Unfortunately, I never got to actually see it in 3D. I watched it for the first time on television and then about a thousand times after that on VHS. It’s a fuzzy, out of focus film and I’m not even talking about the badly translated 3D cinematography. Nevertheless, it is one of my faves and I will cut a bitch that even thinks about smirking at this sucktastic movie.
I grew up in San Diego and went to Sea World a lot. Too much perhaps. Of course, post Blackfish, I now regret my family spending all that money on renting Shamu-shaped strollers and plastic sippies of Hawaiian Punch. I was always obsessed with sharks. I distinctly remember wondering what would happen if Jaws got into Sea World. So when Jaws 3D came out, it was like the gods reached into my amygdala and shredded my imagination. But in the best way, I mean.
This movie is a hoot. Right in the opening credits, we get to chomp a grouper from the shark’s POV. The grouper head, still gulping, floats on the screen for an uncomfortably long time. Yah, it’s a 3D part but I never saw it in 3D. This makes the movie way more fun. There are just inexplicably long shots of pointy things. At the end, when the shark explodes, the mouth bits come at your face, form a jaw, and linger there. It’s as if the movie pauses to give you time to reflect on why the fuck you just watched this movie. But you did. And no fucking regrets.
If you don’t already know the plot of this film, I’ll wait while you go into the street and self-flagellate.
All set now? Great.
The twist of the movie is that the shark we have been focusing on for a goodly amount of time is just a baby. We find this out after they catch the baby and kill it slowly by prematurely putting it on public display to make a quick buck. Ooh, that pisses me off. Somehow, Mama Shark senses her bambino has been mishandled and enacts her revenge upon the unwitting and unwashed masses.
A Gordon Ramsey looking muthafucka named Philip uses himself as live bait and is eaten by Big Momma. Well, not so much eaten as gummed to death. We are treated to a nice Phil POV from inside the shark’s mouth. He is just kind of crushed by her soft palette. Also she never swallows Philip even though she continues to eat other people. My theory is that he was caught in her teeth like the skin of a pinto bean.
Listen folks. I want to focus for a moment on the best character in the entire movie. Shelby Overton. Sure, he may only be in it for a short time before he is mauled to death, but oh my, what an impression he leaves. First of all, he clearly was the inspiration for the sax-wielding, greased up “I Still Believe” guy from The Lost Boys. Shelby, however, sports a moustache that could make Sam Elliot develop an eating disorder. Later, his head pops into the picture much to the surprise and disgust of a girl who has the entire space but chooses to press her face against the glass anyway. His skinned and worm-infested body is how they figure out that there must be another bigger shark inside the park. Mama.
“You’re talkin’ about some damn shark’s mother?”
Yes, Louis Gossett Jr. and your horrible Cajun accent. Yes we are.
If you haven’t seen this underrated work of art, your flagellated ass better be looking it up on Hulu right the fuck now. If you have, I am preaching to the choir. You should watch it again anyway. If only to marvel at Shelby’s womb broom and to see a shark swim in reverse a lot.
See ya next time!
Director: Joe Alves
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime
Splatterpunk nominated author Susan Snyder’s debut chapbook of poetry.