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Sharksploitation and My Inner Conflict

I have been writing these shark movie reviews for a while now. Some of the feedback I have received has criticized me for ripping apart the bad science and shitty premises of these films. They are supposed to be bad so I need to STFU and just enjoy that insanity. 

But that’s the point, I do

My reviews are just as tongue-in-cheek as the movies. I write comedy reviews, folks. I find the humor in dissecting and rationalizing things that fall into the realm of the ridiculous. Sure, I may point out that sharks can’t live in outer space or shoot toxic goo from a blowhole. Yah, sharks may not be able to possess people, live in your son’s slip-n-slide or have six independently operating heads. I point that out. I shine a light on the absurdity of it all. 

I do that because I love these movies. 

MST3K has always held a prime piece of real estate in my black little heart for the fact that it takes a movie that we all know has been swept under the shit-stained, cigarette burned, bong water saturated rug of an introverted stoner, and brings it back out into the light. These movies deserve to be seen, dammit. MST3K does it with dark humor and a metric crap ton of love. We watch along with them. We snicker. We roll our eyes. 

But then, those often neglected little orphan film children now live in our brain pans…forever.

Now, I am certainly not comparing my humble little reviews with the caliber of the comedic stylings of Joel Hodgson and his merry band of bots. The sentiment, however, is the same. I adore sharksploitation films. The worse, the better. The more obscure, the better. The lower the budget, the better. 

(Except for Shark Exorcist because fuck that movie)

I don’t really want to review the blockbuster hit shark movies like The Meg or The Shallows. Not to say there isn’t some major science bastardization happening there, folks. I prefer to introduce my readers (I may be up to three now) to the wacky shark movies that live in the murky depths of obscurity and feast on the bottom feeders who scour the sea floor for hidden treasure. 

I might give some side-eye to the portrayal of my fishy friends as monsters, searching the waters with murderous intent. That doesn’t mean I don’t watch the shit out of these movies with a glee that could only be described as satanic. 

There is still the marine biologist side of me that pokes a trepidatious toe into the pool of credulity. Why, Susan? Why try to ruin the movie with a bunch of science? Lighten up. 


Here’s the thing. Unlike werewolves, kaiju, or zombies, these monsters are real. (Ok some may disagree that those monsters don’t exist but hang with my point, people). Not only are they real, but humans slaughter them by the millions each year. We are decimating them. Some of it is based on greed for their allegedly delicious fins or cancer-curing livers. A lot of it is coming from pure fear. Why don’t we look at the massacre of sharks with the same disgust as the Taiji dolphin killings? Because they aren’t cute. Because they are portrayed as monsters. 

That’s the catch-22 of it all, folks. I love shark monster films. I hate the fact that people see them as monsters in real life. 

I think people have widely changed their views on sharks mostly because of education. Shark Week is insanely popular (although we could argue about the science in those as well). Children become just as fascinated with sharks as they do dinosaurs. 

If I saw someone harming a shark, I would flat out murder them. And that is the truth. I passionately love sharks. I have my entire life. Yet I watch sharksploitation with great fervor. Maybe by just peppering my reviews with just a pinch of science goodness, I might help to allay any fears that may have nestled in the dark corners of your lizard brain. I might help provide that assurance that these monsters are real, but they aren’t that bad. 

So with a powerful love of all things sharky, I say this. Watch these movies. Seek out the crazy ones. Support the under-funded, renegade filmmakers that know what they are creating will never be the next Jaws. But they do it anyway because there are those of us who appreciate them. 

Just remember, folks. Sharks are not really the monsters. We are. 

That scares the shit out of me.

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