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archica in dailyhorrordose

Movie: Jaws (1975)



If you haven't heard of this movie, you must have been living under a rock your entire life. Most people can easily hum the Jaws attack tune, or can recognize the "We're gonna need a bigger boat" line as being from Jaws. But surprisingly, there are a lot of modern horror fans who have not actually watched the movie. This is nothing short of a tragedy, as the film is a classic in every sense of the word.

I think most people would agree that sharks are pretty darned scary. Would you want to meet one while you're out boogie-boarding? Jaws capitalizes on this fear perfectly with a huge, imposing shark brought to life with some mighty convincing effects. It also displays the ease with which a shark could actually wreak havoc at a beach. And therein lies the true horror of Jaws. This could happen. This could really freaking happen. To you.

Scares aside, the characters are great. I had a certain love for Hooper and Quint, who were both incredibly well written and acted. Quint in particular just exhumed awesome from every pore in his body. He's a badass professional shark hunter. How can he not be awesome? The onscreen camaraderie between Hooper, Quint, and Brody is really what makes the film.

There are three sequels. Jaws 2 is basically a continuation of the first film and is definitely worth checking out. Jaws 3 gets a little sillier but is still a lot of fun. Jaws 4 (called Jaws: The Revenge) has a silly premise but is worth watching for the lovely scenery and the fact that the protagonist is a pretty cool middle-aged woman (rare!).

All four Jaws films are available on DVD.

Comments

I must take issue with the assertion that Jaws could actually happen. The depictions of shark behavior were ludicrous--even for the 70's. Aside from the rogue theory and the fact that sharks live in the ocean and eat meat, everything else is absurd. Chasing a boat? Jumping on the hull? Even sharks eating people on purpose has pretty much been debunked. Maybe the Kitner death might have happened in a similar fashion, and possibly the Chrissie Watkins attack. But tipping the boat over and biting that guy's leg off? No. The thing with the roast? No. And everything Bruce (the shark) did once our heroes board The Orca is patently ridiculous.

Mind you, that doesn't make the movie any less entertaining, classic, or even scary IMO. Even the trailer scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. Jaws was the first summer blockbuster, and is still one of the highest grossing horror films of all times.
--Just goes to show, if you write a decent script (although the script process of Jaws took longer than shooting, according to The Jaws Log) and cast good actors, you have a good shot at creating something enduring.

Lorraine Gary (Mrs Brody: Jaws, Jaws 2, Jaws 4) agreed to appear in Jaws 4 because they offered her an above-title credit, which she'd never had before. Sad, as her above-title credit does not appear on the VHS and DVD's of that movie today. The 3D Jaws movie (the sea world one) is the only one in which Ellen Brody does not appear.

I'd say Jaws 4 still worth watching in the vain of a SyFy Saturday night CGI crapfest. It's that kind of entertaining--the opening death is hysterically funny, and the shark itself looks like a poorly operated, underwater muppet.
Plus, it roars. A lot.

PS for the greatest terrible shark movie ever, hip yourself to Ultimo Squalo (The Last Shark). It played in US theatres for about 2 weeks until Senior Spelbergo sued them to make them stop playing it here. As such, it's legal to download for free, and stars the late Vic Morrow (the guy who died making Twilight Zone the movie) and James Franciscus (the guy who replaced Charleton Heston in Planet of the Apes).
When I said "This could happen", as being the true horror of Jaws, I meant that what makes the movie so terrifying is that shark attacks are a reality. In fact, the original Jaws novel was loosely based on a series of real shark attacks by a great white. So yes, a shark attack at a crowded beach could indeed happen. I'm very much aware that most of the shark behavior was impossible, but the base premise of a shark attacking people at the beach IS possible and HAS happened.
Nope. The Jersey Shore shark attacks were perpetrated by at least one tiger shark, possibly two. Benchley also claimed to be inspired by a large white shark that was caught on...I want to say Long Island.

The Jaws Log is a fascinating book for fans of the book and film. Plus, I love that even though he totally couldn't act, the let Peter Benchley appear in the movie anyway. Course, Jaws had plenty of non-actors recruited from the town they shot in. The lady who plays Mrs Kitner had never acted before and wouldn't agree to do the role unless there was no profanity. As Jaws had A PG rating, it totally worked out.

BTW, I was of the impression that this was a discussion community. If it's not, please let me know so I can stop trying to discuss things only to have people react defensively and then not discuss anything.
I was mainly going by this article, which states that they still haven't exactly identified what kind of shark it was, but that the International Shark Attack File lists the victims as being of a great white. Most people seem to think it was a great white, so that's what I went with. Anywho, the point of my comment was that shark attacks are a reality, so talking about the breed of shark is kind of like splitting hairs.

This isn't primarily a discussion community. It's only real purpose is to introduce horror fans to something every day (if possible). Any discussion that results is just icing on the cake.

Discussion is welcome, and I'm not sure how you perceived my calmly explaining something that you say you "take issue with" as being "defensive". You brought up a problem you had with what I said, and I elaborated on it to explain my viewpoint. I don't know what to call this besides "discussing".
It's interesting to me that you read archica's reply as defensive. Were you aware that 95% of your comments on this blog read as pretentious and condescending? I'm surprised you dont get more defensive comments. But no, as an outside viewer I read that as a perfectly reasonable reply to a pretty bitchy comment.

You may want to work on your wordings. There are better ways to express that you disagree with a statement without coming off like your audience is a fucking child.
I see.

I guess I didn't realize that my offering another viewpoint was bitchy, or that I had phrased it in a way that was bitchy. Is it offensive to point out that the shark behavior is ridiculous? I honestly don't see how it could be. I was hoping to start a discussion about truth in horror, or maybe the depictions of animals as monsters in film, the decline of the sequel...that sort of thing. It seems like the only comments that happen around here are some variation on "Oh, I saw that movie when I was X, it was *one word opinion on film*"

I think I'm just in the wrong place. I thought I was going to be discussing horror with impassioned horror fans with a broad knowledge and love of the genre. And that doesn't seem like what this is.

BTW, If anyone is interested in that sort of discussion, and are a zombie fan, do stop by Zombie Zone News and check out my interviews with the likes of Scott Kenemore, Craig Spector, Bear McCreary, and Kyra Schon.

http://www.zombiezonenews.com/archives/author/wednes/
Nope, the offensive part is completely in your tone. Disagreeing/discussing = totally aces. Nitpicking and shutting people down by literally going "You're wrong and I'm right" not so much.

But mostly your tone. I'd love to see your ideas discussed in a more respectful fashion, you probably have some great points.
I like to think so, as I do make horror for a living.
Thanks for the input; def something to think about.
Just feedback from casual observations! I'm enjoying our other discussion though.
Actually, you didn't seem all that rude until your second comment, where you basically dissed the community (as you did in this comment as well) by implying that we're not capable of thoughtful horror discussion and topped it off by accusing me of reacting defensively when I responded to you in a perfectly calm and friendly manner. I realize that tone is largely lost in internet discussions, and that it's possible that you don't realize how you sound to other people, but I can't imagine that this is the first time someone has interpreted your comments as snide or rude.

I'm totally open to discussion, but not when I'm being talked down to. I would wager that most people feel the same way. You and I have had a few nice discussions (off the top of my head, the Jack Ketchum post comes to mind), so I don't really agree with your claim that this community isn't the place for horror discussion. It IS, but only if the discussion is respectful of all parties involved.
I don't think I said that anyone wasn't capable of discussion, only that very few people seemed interested in it. I don't think that's a bad thing, it's just not what I was looking for. No offense was intended.

I posted a comment that discussed Jaws at length, and the reply I received read to me like a defensive comment. It implied that I was denying that a shark attack on humans wasn't possible, when I said clearly in my first comment that both the Kitner killing and the Watkins attack were the only reasonable depictions of shark behavior. So I also felt like my comment hadn't been read fully as the reply only seemed to focus on one point.

Honestly, I am typically pretty internet snarky as a rule. I didn't think I said anything out of line. Though I admit that my annoyance with the idea that Wikipedia = research might have been too apparent. Or maybe I'm just desensitized to my own snark. If so, apologies all around.
Fair enough, but I hope you realize how a comment that begins with "I must take issue with..." can come across as a little rude, especially when you're throwing in strong words about how ridiculous the assumption that the movie could happen was.

Before I threw in the "this could happen" line, I spent the whole paragraph talking about how scary sharks/shark attacks were and how Jaws capitalized on that fear. I assumed that by structuring the paragraph that way, it would be clear that I meant that shark attacks could happen, not that I believed real sharks would jump on boats to attack people it has a grudge against. Perhaps I should have worded it as "This (a shark attack) could happen." to be more clear, but I honestly didn't think I needed to. I guess I took for granted that people would know what I meant.

I don't understand where the "Wikipedia = research" thing comes in. I never implied that I had researched Jaws or anything else. I simply pointed to one source of information that I got some basic facts from. Wikipedia isn't perfect, and certainly shouldn't be the sole tool for serious research, but it's handy for some quick fact-checking.
Really? I honestly had no idea that "I must take issue with" was a problematic or offensive phrase. It was merely a way of introducing a contrary argument. Sadly, there are plenty of people who now think sharks do, in fact, eat people on purpose, jump on boats, and chomp on compressed air canisters like a cigar.
Ron and Val Taylor spent their remaining active years trying to debunk the shark myths associated with Jaws. They are of the opinion that Jaws is the reason many sharks are endangered today.

Really, I did not think it was rude or presumptuous to point out that the majority of the shark behavior in Jaws is absurd. I don't think that makes it any less great, or any less worthy of discussion. I'm certainly not opposed to the absurd--I paid good money to see the remake of Piranha last summer. IMO, they didn't even portray human behavior honestly, but it was a wild ride.
Actually, the phrase "I must take issue with" comes across as seeming like you're angry about something. Opening a comment with it makes the entire comment feel a little like an attack.

To be honest, the whole first paragraph of your comment seemed to be suggesting that I'm stupid for thinking Jaws could happen. I realized at that point that you had completely misunderstood what I had written, which is why I tried to explain what I had meant (that I was referring to the base premise of shark attacks as being something that could happen, not the entire movie).

I am curious though, did you really think I meant that I thought Jaws, as a whole, could happen?

Pointing out the absurdity of the shark behavior in and of itself was fine. Doing it in conjunction with saying you "take issue with" what I wrote and wording it as a way of correcting me is, well, a little rude. Or at least it comes across that way.
We'll have to agree to disagree on your first point. I use that expression fairly often in discussion comms and have never experienced your reaction. Of course, if you weren't really expecting impassioned discussion I can understand why you might have been taken aback. This goes back to my earlier presumption that this was a comm for serious horror discussion.

Yes, I did take your words at face value. When you said Jaws was scary because it could really happen, I did not presume that you only meant the first 25 minutes or so. And yes, plenty of people do think Jaws would happen pretty much as it did. One of the early reviews of the film Open Water stated that it didn't depict sharks correctly, because they "would have immediately gone after the people--after all, they're MAN EATERS."

You may recall a few years ago that one of the Viacom imprints did a faux documentary about dragons. It was in the style of a nature show, as if dragons had existed. They advertised it as fiction, and repeated that during every commercial break. Still, LOTS of people thought it was real, that dragons were a kind of dinosaur, or that they "may not be extinct even today." So no...I don't make presumptions about the knowledge of any person I don't actually know. I don't think I said or implied anything about your intelligence.

If you'll pardon my saying so, you did recently defend Twilight as being horror (or peripherally related, maybe) even though the author herself does not agree. I would have thought that someone I disagree so profoundly with
would have been a good person to talk horror with. We learn the most from people that are the least like us.
I don't think my initial reaction was so bad. I had guessed that you misunderstood me, so I didn't really take offense and responded in a friendly manner. I was most taken aback by your claim that I was "reacting defensively". But even then, my responses to you have all been calm.

If you'll notice in the post, I didn't say "Jaws could happen". I said "This could happen" immediately after (and in the same paragraph as) talking about shark attacks. I understand that I could have been a little more clear, but I really didn't think I needed to. I guess I took for granted that most of the people reading this blog would have seen enough of my posts to know that I don't think sharks will jump on boats and stalk people. Because, to be frank, anyone who thinks that is, well, stupid.

When the movie "The Strangers" came out, a lot of people (including professional reviewers) said that what made it so scary is that "this could happen". I'm sure they meant that a violent home invasion could happen (and it could, it happens every day). I'm sure they didn't mean that all the other silly, unrealistic stuff (cell phones conveniently never working, a large, masked man walking around in plain sight right behind the woman without being noticed, people sneaking around and hiding from the killers in their well-lit yard, etc.) could happen.

To be honest, I don't like Twilight at all. I think it has a couple of decent elements to it (the Cullens sans-Edward and the Volturi) but they are sadly under-used. I despise Bella and find the main "romance" to be disgusting. But that's just my opinion. Clearly, millions of people love Twilight very much. My disagreement with their opinions on it doesn't make them wrong. As a very wise webmistress once said, "Opinions come from feelings, and feelings are never wrong." That's why I defended Twilight. I wasn't actually defending it as a story so much as I was defending khaleesi's right to post about something she liked, especially since more than one person (besides myself) had mentioned it after I announced a vampire theme.

I think we could have some great discussions too. In fact, right now I feel we're having one. It's just not in me to remain silent when I feel I'm being disrespected. I understand that you probably didn't intend to seem disrespectful, but if it had never been pointed out, it probably would have resulted in hard feelings festering in the background. My policy has always been to clear the air as soon as possible when any sort of conflict arises.
I don't think I said that your reaction was "bad," only that it seemed defensive and focused on one small point when I had actually brought up a great many things I thought were of interest with regard to the film and the novel. I sincerely apologize if you thought I was telling you personally that you were "bad." I really was just trying to start a discussion based on my rather strong views about the movie.

The Strangers is actually an amalgam of two true events. One was in a vacation home, and I think the other was in some kind of motel--closer to Vacancy without all whole snuff-vid-ring. Some also assert that Strangers references the Tate/Manson Family murders, but that seems a bit loose to me.

I had heard that it was inspired by someone trying to break into the director's home when he was a child, but didn't look too deeply into the details. I wasn't really a fan of the movie (or the French film Them that I've always felt The Strangers borrowed a little too heavily from). I thought it started out great and had a nice buildup, but for me it sort of fizzled out around the one hour mark.
And yet, after seeing the film tons of people had a fear of swimming even in a pool.

Convince your audience it could happen by playing on base fears, and whether or not "this could happen" by science and hard numbers becomes a moot point.

It's the same premise behind urban legends. They're all bullshit, but they work as a scare tactic because they're "believable".
Maybe...but my cousins roommate's brother used to work with a guy who says otherwise. ;-]

But yeah, too true. I feel the same way about zombies. I know most people don't honestly believe we'll have to deal with them someday--but the idea is so damn scary that they're prepared anyway just in case. Whether by zombie, shark, or CHUD, being eaten alive is almost universally scary.
HA well I got an email forwarded from a very reliable friend of a friend that says it's true!

I think the worst was when I heard the AIDS coffin story used as fact in a sermon. Jesus, people, at the very least check Snopes or something.

So much of Jurassic Park was fabricated, but it worked on the premise that this could be happening right now. You're absolutely right about zombies -- make the premise believable enough and you'll have people pissing themselves over it. Hell, look at Paranormal Activity. ANYBODY could call bullshit on that. But it was terrifying because it played on the everyday sounds and experiences that we all have -- "it could be happening".

Which is why the second movie lost me, it lost that "it could happen" factor by getting too specific with the curse. BUT, it drew on the fear of people who worry about their kids.
I actually thought the science associated with Jurassic Park was pretty good. Granted, I have little formal training in botany and biology, but it made sense to me. (FYI, I'm referring to the book here. Stan Winston though, has a way of making even the most outlandish things seem scary IMO)

I don't watch ghost movies typically, and have not seen Paranormal Activity. As a Blair Witch fan though, I am familiar with the flame-style fan wars that occur with divisive films like that. I prefer my faux documentaries to feature insane people killing each other for reasons you may never learn.
I loved the science of Jurassic Park. But I wouldnt be surprised if someone with formal training in botany, biology, genetics, and the like found it a ton of bullshit. I believe a lot of the details were completely fabricated (like the traits of the dinosaurs) but I have no clue how our technology would work as far as cloning long-extinct creatures.

So for us it's believable, but for someone more informed, it could be complete bullshit. For the everyman who watches Jaws, getting attacked by a great white shark on the beach? SURE, SOUNDS LEGIT. And voila, instant fear factor.

Paranormal Activity is definitely worth a watch. I was actually terrified for two weeks just by having a friend describe one scene in the film. They dont usually scare easily, but they had difficulty sleeping after. It gets you thinking, gets your imagination running, and before you know it, the possibility of an invisible demon living in your home, whether you believe in them or not, hits that nerve.

...ngl I laughed at everyone who went "OMG IS THIS BASED ON A TRUE STORY???" though.
I remember when Jaws was voted #1 scariest movie on one of those Halloween scary movie countdowns back in the day, you know, over the Exorcist or other typical horror movies. I thought it was total bullshit at first but when I looked into it? Man that movie closed down beaches, people were straight up terrified to go swimming. This movie single handedly killed tourism in a couple of key spots for a few months. Dude I don't know about real life shark attacks or how frequent they really are but I DO know that this movie? Basically? Influenced a shitton of people to not enjoy some frozen yogurts at the beach for an entire summer. Keeping people from their boogie boards- that is a lot of fear, whether it be real or imagined.

Terrifying.