This week's Friday Five is from Jonathan Green, with a selection of films you can really get your teeth into... And on the subject of fanged terrors of the deep, Sharkpunk! is out now from Snowbooks. You can find this massive new anthology on sale directly from the publishers or from your favourite bookstore.
There's a signing at Forbidden Planet this weekend, and, even if you can't make it, you can reserve your scrawled-upon copy now.
I’ve always had a fascination for sharks – a morbid fascination, I suppose – ever since I watched Jaws, late one night, unknown to my parents, on a small black and white TV with really poor reception, in my bedroom. Nonetheless, the suspense and the shocks still hit home – despite the sadly lacking home cinema experience – so much so that when I was snorkelling off the Whitsunday Islands in Australia, swimming from our boat to the nearest island, I convinced myself that a Great White must be within only a few metres of me. That thought alone, that out in the ocean I was trespassing on Jaws’ turf, as it were, was enough to set my heart racing. And I loved it!
Sharks have appeared in my work a number of times over the years, but never on the scale, or in quite the same way, as they have with my latest project, and my first editing gig, SHARKPUNK! The anthology was inspired by the recent glut of sharkploitation made-for-TV Z movies, and there have been a number of celluloid sharks who have made a particular impression on me over the years.
Oh – and just so you know – spoilers…
Before Jaws there was Batman. I watched this movie one rainy bank holiday once, as a child, and the only thing that stuck with me from the film was the image of Adam West, dangling from a rope ladder underneath a helicopter, with a shark dangling from his leg, forcing him to break out the shark repellent bat-spray (because obviously this was a situation that had arisen so often before that Batman had decided he needed to be prepared in case it happened again, which it did).
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Super-intelligent sharks bred to end Alzheimer’s? You just know that’s going to end badly. (Begging the question, did Spider-Man’s James Franco not see Deep Blue Sea before deciding to embark upon finding a cure for Alzheimer’s using chimps?) But surely the highlight of the movie, when you realise that effectively the sharks are going to win, is when one takes down the mighty Jules from Pulp Fiction – Samuel L Jackson himself.
Finding Nemo (2003)
The clownfish might be the stars of the movie, but for a scene-stealing cameo appearance, you can’t beat Bruce, leader of the Fish-Friendly Sharks. I mean, an abstaining Aussie Great White with the most sinister sharky smile ever committed to film, voiced by Goblin King Barry Humphries… What’s not to love? And he’s not a mindless eat machine, oh no. Not in any way whatsoever…
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
This one’s a classic case of sympathy for the devil. I mean, you’ve got to feel sorry for a lethal shark outclassed by a man wearing braces and with the kind of dental work you’d expect to see on a Transformer. (An honourable mention should also go to the sharks in those other classic Bond movies Live and Let Die, and License to Kill. I mean, every egotistical, megalomaniac should ensure that somewhere on their resume it says, ‘Menaced a British agent with a big fish.’)
Which brings us back to Jaws. I don’t care that the shark looks fake. I don’t care that the monster in the movie is as mythical as the Kraken in Clash of the Titans, or that thing in Deep Rising. Jaws is never more tense and terrifying than when you are waiting for the shark to appear, and what an end to a movie!
Which are your favourite sharks of the screen? Let us know in the comments. Splash around in the Twitter-waters with Jonathan at @jonathangreen and let him know what you think. And don't forget to check out Sharkpunk this weekend!