Shark Week: Day Four

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Shark Week: Day Four

I need to get this off my chest, this year’s Shark Week on Discovery Channel is making me angry.  Not because the new specials aren’t excellent and interesting, I hate Shark After Dark’s Josh Wolf.  That guy wants to be David Letterman so bad and failing he is just pissing me off.  I also don’t like the quality of tweets being included in the specials.  Whomever is screening what gets broadcast must have a rather low standard for what is and is not acceptable.  The whole thing feeds rather “Attack of The Show” and not the level of quality I expect from Discovery Channel.  Just my opinion.  But enough of that and on to the crappy shark movies!

Up from the Depths (1979)

  • Directed: Charles B. Griffith
  • Produced: Jack Atienza, Cirio H. Santiago
  • Written: Anne Dyer, Alfred Sweeney
  • Starring: Sam Bottoms, Suzanne Reed, Virgil Frye, Kedric Wolfe, Oscar Forbes
  • Music: Russell O'Malley
  • Editing: G. V. Bass
  • Distributed:
    • New World Pictures
    • Vestron Video (VHS)
    • Shout Factory (DVD)
  • Release date:
    • June 29, 1979
    • Sometime in 1981 (VHS)
    • January 18, 2011 (DVD)
  • Running time: 75 min
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

Up From the Depths is a 1979 horror film directed by Charles B. Griffith.  The film, along with many monster movies of the 1970s and 1980s is very similar to Jaws.

The staff and vacationers at a first-class resort on the island of Maui are beginning to mysteriously disappear.  A biologist believes that an underwater earthquake has caused a giant and very hungry dormant prehistoric fish to be released from his slumber.  Voraciously the fish helps himself to a tourist buffet. Now it's open season for the local fishermen to find the creature and kill it.

Charles B Griffith later called the film a "terrible experience".

We had it written by one of the typists or secretaries in the office who didn’t have any thoughts of becoming a writer.  I think Roger did it to punish me, to send me out to The Philippines where I didn’t know what I was getting into.  I was making an action picture, but The Philippines people were all so depressed, and they had made this goofy-looking fish with bug eyes.  I told them that we’ll make it a comedy, and their eyes lit up!  So I sent back a comedy on one plane, and I arrived on the next one.  By the time I arrived, Roger had already cut 75 minutes out. As an editor would say, “That’s a set-up, that’s a payoff!”

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Shout Factory in 2011 as a double feature alongside the similar Demon of Paradise.

Creature (1998)

  • Directed: Stuart Gillard
  • Produced: Peter Benchley
  • Written:
    • Peter Benchley (Novel)
    • Rockne S. O'Bannon (Teleplay)
  • Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Kim Cattrall, Matthew Carey
  • Release date:
    • May 17, 1998
    • July 31, 2007 (DVD)
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Creature is a 1998 made for TV movie starring Craig T. Nelson, Kim Cattrall and Matthew Carey.  The movie is based on the 1994 novel White Shark (re-published as Creature in 1997 to cash in on the movie) by Jaws author Peter Benchley.  The film is about an amphibious shark-like monster terrorizing an abandoned secret military base and the people who live on the island where it is located.

The film stars Craig T. Nelson as Dr. Simon Chase, a man striving to find a cure for cancer through marine research.  This quest leads him to an abandoned military research center.  At the base, he learns a terrifying breed of shark-like monsters were created in a freak accident while researchers were trying to develop a new weapon to use in Vietnam.  They are threatening the natives of the island as well as the doctor and his family, and it is up to Dr. Chase to stop them.  The film also includes Kim Cattrall as Dr. Amanda Mayson and Colm Feore as Admiral Aaron Richland.  A thrilling movie for fans of the sea-creature horror genre.

This movie was filmed partly on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean.  Unfortunately, the directors didn't pay enough attention to some of the local speaking "extras" who, in the scene with the young boy in the town of Soufriere, one of the locals curses a certain part of his mother's reproductive anatomy in the local Creole dialect - Patois. Oops!!!

Shark Hunter (2001)

  • Actors: Antonio Sabato Jr.
  • Directors: Matt Codd
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: First Look Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 94 minutes

It says something about movie quality when there isn’t even a Wikipedia page for it.

Dr. Spencer Northcut (Antonio Sabato, Jr.) is a professor of underwater archaeology and the designer of a massive research submarine, the Argus.  When Northcut was a child, a prehistoric megalodon ate his parents.  Fellow scientist Dr. William Atkins (Christian Toulali) convinces Northcut to join the Argus‘s next expedition, an investigation into the destruction of another underwater research facility.  Upon reaching the site, Northcut and the crew come to the realization that a massive ancient megalodon is prowling the waters.  Northcut naturally wants revenge, but shouldn’t such a specimen be preserved for science?  More importantly, will the scientists and crew be able to escape with their lives?

“Shark Hunter” contains one of the most interesting ways of filming underwater on a budget that I’ve ever seen.  Namely, not filming underwater.  The diving sequences were accomplished through the clever but unconvincing use of confetti and acting.  Little white specks stand in for ocean debris, while the actors attempt to create the illusion of water with their movements.  Having seen my fair share of dark, murky underwater shots, I applaud “Shark Hunter” for its ingenuity in this area, despite the fact that the illusion is not particularly believable.

On a final note, “Shark Hunter” is yet another Bulgarian sharksploitation film that sadly does not take place in Bulgaria.  Someday someone will set this right.

SharkMan (2005)

  • Directed: Michael Oblowitz
  • Produced: Kenneth M. Badish, Boaz Davidson
  • Written: Kenneth M. Badish, Boaz Davidson
  • Starring: William Forsythe, Hunter Tylo, Jeffrey Combs
  • Music: John Dickson
  • Cinematography: Emil Topuzov
  • Editing: Alain Jakubowicz
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Distributed: Syfy
  • Release date:
    • June 18, 2005
    • October 11, 2005 (DVD)
  • Running time: 92 minutes

Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy, also known as Sharkman, is a 2005 Syfy original movie, written by Kenneth M. Badish and Boaz Davidson, and directed by Michael Oblowitz.  The film stars William Forsythe, Hunter Tylo, and Jeffrey Combs.  The film premiered on Syfy June 18, 2005.

A mad scientist tries to save his son Paul from liver cancer.  But his experiments turn Paul into a half-shark, half-man monster.  The scientist invites the doctors that could not help his son before to the island to feed them to Hammerhead.  The scientist injected Paul with hammerhead shark DNA to make him the first of a new race of half-animal beings that would be immune to diseases such as cancer.  But, the Hammerhead goes on a killing spree after breaking loose and beings to stalk the workers of the island.  Since the scientist believes that part of his son is still human, Paul's fiancĂ© arrives on the island where the scientist lives after being fired from his job, hoping that the Hammerhead will mate with her.

Unlike most other Syfy original movies, there were never any complete views of the monster Hammerhead. Although, there were quick scenes using CGI graphics while the rest of the scenes used a costume portrayed by Antony Argirov.

The monster in the film shares a similarity with the monster from the other Syfy original film Mansquito.  Both films were released in 2005 and both films involve half-animal mutated monsters.  Another similarity that the film shares with Mansquito is that the film is also known as "Sharkman" and had another DVD cover designed featuring a blue man with a mouth full of shark-like teeth and a shark-like nose.  The text of the Sharkman DVD was the same style as the Mansquito DVD of which is also known as "Mosquito Man" just like Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy is known as Sharkman.

Also, between the special effects and Jeffrey Combs this film is concentrated awesome and you should wear eye protection while viewing it.

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