Posted on Leave a comment

Special Edition: Bad Biology!

I have been doing this blog for almost six months now. Some might say I’ve got a couple screws loose, a beer short of a case, a little light in the belfry. All those things are true.


That’s me at my day job…as an accountant. But I digress.

There is one thing I got going on, folks. I have a degree in biology with a specialization in sharky stuff. So I know shark anatomy. I know what it is and what it ain’t. In 99% of these sharksploitation films…it ain’t.

Let’s explore the bad biology of shark movies, shall we? Allow me to play as fast and loose with latin scientific names as the filmmakers do with science-y shit.

Sharks that don’t need water
(Squalus suffocatus)
Examples: Sharknado, Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre, Land Sharks, Sand Sharks, Avalanche Sharks, House Shark et al.

I think we can all agree that sharks are aquatic animals. Fish. Fish live in water. Yet there are a couple of movies that just don’t give a shit about that. Usually, there is no rational explanation for these land lubbing leviathans. They just burrow through earth, sand, rock and outer space with no regard for any shred of intellect the audience might have rattling around in their noggins.

My favorite of all of these is Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Granted, if you are still watching the franchise by the time they get to a third movie, you are already something of a superhero. Or insane. But enough about me. The genesis of the entire concept of Sharknado hinged on powerful water spouts that sucked up sharks and spat them out upon the masses. Okay, at least there is some moistness in the vortex.

Oh but then we reach number 3. These have now become super duper nados that squirt our beloved toothy fish into outer space.

Notice the astronaut has a spacesuit on? Yah. So what is our finny friend doing up there, holding its breath? Have you ever eaten while holding your breath? Try it, I’ll wait. It’s not easy. However, according to the movie, it is possible to safely re-enter earth’s atmosphere without barbecuing your noodle if you do it inside of a shark. Which is totally convenient because space sharks are everywhere.

Freshwater sharks
(Itsastretchus nopus)
Examples: Jurassic Shark, Shark Night 3D, Shark Week, Shark Exorcist, Piranha Sharks et al.

Closely related to S. suffocatus is the freshwater shark that permeates these movies like a flesh eating parasite. There is an actual basis in the real world for this but very few species can survive in freshwater. The bull shark is one of these, and lemme tell ya, those things are mean. A couple of these movies use the bull shark such as Shark Night 3D, but they fucked that up by also having every other shark in the animal kingdom also living in that lake. Ugh.

There are some real-life river dwellers like this speartooth shark:

But how adorable is that? Definitely not pants-shittingly terrifying.

The explanation for lake sharks is usually based on some sort of rift or crevasse that opens up in the lake bed. In the case of Shark Exorcist, a satanic nun conjures a Great White into a lake. Okeedokee. Ghost Shark materializes in any form of water but I am saving that one for the paranormal group so keep your knickers on. Oh, what the hell, let’s talk about those now.

The paranormals
(Transparitas abraca-pocus)
Examples: Ghost Shark, Shark Exorcist

Get ready to rip your knickers off like a bandaid, because we’re getting into my absolute favorite category of sharks, the paranormals! Honestly, I’ve only stumbled upon a couple of these movies and they couldn’t be on more opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum.

Oh Ghost Shark, marry me. This is hands down one of the best the sharksploitation genre has to offer. This hapless soul is created at the hands of a couple idiots who blow it up and, for some reason, throw hot sauce in its face. As the lifeless corpse lays inside a mystical cave, the restless spirit enacts a vengeance so foul, the Sharknado 3 sharks can smell it from outer space. (Shut up, I’m proud of that line). You know it’s around because it emits a radiant glow. It’s transparent. It can pop out of any type of water: puddles, slip-n-slides, dixie cups. Imagine the possibilities! I cannot even with this movie. It has my heart.

Now, in this corner, weighing in at a metric ton of steaming crap, is Shark Exorcist!

For the love of all things unholy, look at that thing! It looks like it’s made out of modeling chocolate and a malfunctioning highlighter. You would think a movie with a premise this outrageous would fall into the “so bad it’s good” ilk. Fuck no! The demon fish even possesses people and makes them sharky, but even that is done so badly I wanted to wrench out my canines with a pair of pliers.

I realize that the paranormal sharks are not even remotely based in real life, but come on! There needs to be some rules here, people. If you are going to tackle the most precious, most rare of all fictional shark species, do it justice. What is the gold standard for paranormal shark anatomy? Ghost Shark. You should know that by now. Pay attention.

Folks, I am not done yet. I still have so much more to rant about. Megalodons. Goofy teeth. Sharkenstein. Perhaps there will be another installment of Bad Biology in the future. Lucky you, now you finally have something to look forward to.

See ya next time!

Leave a Reply