With Shark Week finally underway, I’m sure you’ve got your TV viewing agenda all mapped out, and we’re certainly keeping ourselves informed on all things shark-related… but as you’ve probably figured out by now, we’re pretty much thinking about giant monsters and hungry human-gobbling predators all year long, so don’t be surprised if I approach this week’s favorite topic from a slightly weirder angle.
To that end, I’ll be flipping the script immediately, into what I’d like to call “Snark Week” — in which your humble author will pick some of the weirdest, craziest, and just plain wrong-est shark movies ever made.
Today, I’d like to begin with what I consider one of the most gloriously goofy of all the bargain-basement SyFy monster-shark flicks ever created… and believe me, in a world where various sharknados, shark avalanches, megalodons-vs-whatevers, mega-dino-sharktopuses (sharktopi?), snow sharks, sky sharks, sand sharks, Jell-O sharks (okay, I made at least one of those up), and twelve-headed-who-the-hell-cares shark attacks, picking out the goofiest pup of the litter is quite an undertaking. But as always, I intend to prove my points… with you know, science and stuff.
Here’s why 2013’s GHOST SHARK is the most entertaining of the monster-shark quickies…
Truth in Advertising
As cheap as these productions might be, they never once resort to the old bait-and-switch game with their target audience: in other words, if they tell you there’s going to be a seven-headed radioactive megalodon battling a giant squid with the head of Kim Kardashian, that’s exactly what you’re gonna see on screen.
They may not spend more than a buck-o-five on the effects budget to achieve the aforementioned marine marvels, but they never promise it’s going to look like a J.J. Abrams production either. GHOST SHARK is a TV movie about a shark that is also a ghost. That’s the deal. Any questions? Didn’t think so.
Internal Logic (Sort of)
If there’s anything I can’t stand (besides okra… I hate that shit), it’s a genre movie that sets up its own rules, only to break them almost immediately. Although it’s far from innocent of multiple crimes against cinema, GHOST SHARK is acquitted of this one charge; it’s established that the title creature — a mortally-wounded great white shark magically granted supernatural powers by a haunted undersea cave — can teleport itself into any body of water.
That’s the only real guideline here, and the filmmakers stick to it like flies on doo-doo. In other words, any potential victim is safe from attack as long as they’re nowhere near water… and I mean any water. That includes wading pools, buckets, sprinkler systems, backyard waterslides… even a fresh cup of coffee!
The Craziest Shark Attacks EVER
The aforementioned conditions for ghost shark teleportation result in some outlandish murder set-pieces, and the main reason this film exists in the first place. I can easily picture the writers’ room on this one — the air thick with the aroma of Banana Kush and cheap powdered donuts — as they came up with every possible permutation of water-based kills… although I’ll admit I’m a bit disappointed they missed the ass-munching potential of a toilet-seat scene.
Still, what they did come up with was pretty damned amazing — including one of my all-time favorite movie deaths ever, courtesy of a pudgy kid’s belly-flop demise on a shark-shaped Slip ‘N Slide, as shown in the clip above. This one makes me ugly-laugh every time.
Yes, in SyFy’s grand tradition of casting former TV and pop-music stars in key roles, GHOST SHARK is blessed with character actor Richard Moll — who had a lengthy genre career before and after his TV success on NIGHT COURT, and obviously knows what kind of movie he’s in. Moll is wonderfully bugshit as the local loony, probably more to amuse himself than the audience, who are probably so high they’ll laugh at a blank screen (which is practically all that’s left after Moll’s done chewing up the scenery).
Also aboard is web-celeb Shawn C. Phillips, who initially achieved fame as a film critic with a popular YouTube channel, but reached an even bigger audience after his remarkable weight-loss achievement. Though he’s quite a dashing fellow today, in GHOST SHARK he’s having a blast playing a cherubic goofball.
Bikinis for Miles
I’m pretty sure everyone loves boobies, and GHOST SHARK makes sure we see lots of them, along with an equal number of scantily-clad buttocks. They’re not fully exposed, of course, since this was initially a TV movie… but since our story is set on and near a beachfront town in mid-summer, the opportunities are abundant. Your results may vary, of course, but you won’t hear me complaining.