Misty Talley is impressing me with her sharksploitation films, folks. They are terrible, but terrible in the best way! She also directed Santa Jaws, which is another deliciously entertaining movie chock full of goofy ho-ho-horror. Zombie Shark is a blast and has enough gore and carnage to satiate my blood lust. Not to mention, I was introduced to my new favorite sharksploitation character…Zombie Shark Head!
The film opens with a paddle boarder who sees a shark get bitten by another bigger shark. This is important for later, folks. Then the paddle boarder gets eaten and we’re off to the races!
Sisters Amber and Sophie, along with Amber’s beau Jenner and big-breasted Bridget, all head to Red Plum Island for a discounted weekend getaway. There is a military complex on the island and they seemed to have let their test shark escape. Also there is a storm heading toward the island and Amber and Sophie’s parents are wigging out.
We meet Lester, the jolly proprietor of the island resort who fills us in on the rumors of something nefarious at the complex. Bridget stumbles upon a dead shark that has a big ol’ chunk bitten out of it. It’s that smaller shark from a couple paragraphs ago, remember? Jenner gets too close to get a selfie and the dead shark eats him. Because zombie shark. Duh. The shark also eats the sheriff whose carcass draws in other sharks who all take a nibble, and they too become zombie sharks! They are all puppets of the larger and clearly alpha shark. You know him when you see him. He has a harpoon sticking out of his head like a snorkel. Oh and his name is “Bruce”. Of course it is.
Now seems to be an appropriate time to stop and tell y’all about the delightful slaughter that permeates this movie. There are a lot of beheadings. Limbs are torn off. Lots of blood. But let’s back up to the beheadings. Even the sharks are sometimes beheaded which brings me to who I have come to call Zombie Shark Head, or ZSH for short. His story is as old as time. Shark becomes zombie. Shark loses body and becomes ZSH. ZSH is found on a beach still chomping and growling like a stranded Deadite. Later on, we discover that the scientist of the complex, Dr. Palmer was trying to create a regenerating agent that would help soldiers in battle. She used sharks for the experiments thus creating Bruce who escaped to create havoc upon Red Plum Island. Dr. Palmer thinks she may have a cure but needs a living brain to test. This is ZSH’s time to shine! Amber and Sophie remember good old ZSH on the beach and go back to get him. ZSH has apparently dragged himself for a good distance from the spot he was originally found. This brings up a lot of questions about how shark head locomotion works but I digress. They snatch ZSH up and bring him to the military base.
Once ZSH is placed on the examination table, Dr. Palmer tries out her fancy new cure only to find it screws the pooch. ZSH remains ZSH. All the other zombie sharks get beaconed to the base and the plan is to blow the shit out of them with a bunch of C4. So the humans all flee the base but the doc forgot the vaccine and goes back for it. ZSH has used his inexplicable powers of transportation to get off the table and ends up biting the doc in one last defiant act of prowess.
Now, dear reader, you may wonder why I focused so heavily on the merry adventures of ZSH and refrain from telling you much more about the rest of the plot. I mean, the story is a pretty typical zombie tale. Sharks are infected and they infect people. Characters run around fighting zombies both aquatic and land-lubbing. Some backstories get introduced that ultimately pan out to nothing. You know. The usual. But Zombie Shark Head shows us all we really need to know through his cold cataracted dead eyes. He, by far, is the most compelling sharksploitation character of the past decade. And has become a personal hero of mine.
Although the climax of the movie carries on despite the jarring lack of ZSH, there are a couple little surprises at the end. Tragic ones. That pleases me.
If you are looking for a good time and your good times usually involve beheadings and sharks, this one’s for you. Enjoy. I’m off to get a tattoo of “ZSH” across my stomach in Gangsta Font.
Director: Misty Talley
Where to watch: Hoopla
Splatterpunk nominated author Susan Snyder’s debut chapbook of poetry.