10 Things you should know about Jaws

Image showing the shark from the film Jaws

Some little known facts about the film Jaws

  1. In the book by Peter Benchley, Hooper has an affair with Chief Brody’s wife. This does not happen in the film version
  2. Despite directing the film, Spielberg was actually not responsible for the direction of the final shot of the shark exploding
  3. Susan Backlinie who plays the infamous first victim had her legs strapped to harnesses, which were tugged by crewmembers on the shoreline. Poor Susan did not know when the crew were going to tug, hence her startled reaction!
  4. The shark is only seen properly at one hour and twenty one minutes into the film. Talk about building the suspense!
  5. Three mechanical sharks were used in the film
  6. Roy Scheider improvised the line ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat’
  7. Charlton Heston was one of the earlier considerations for the role of Chief Brody
  8. Spielberg’s voice can be heard on Quint’s radio, as the Amity Point Lifestation Worker
  9. A fishy named crew member, Kevin Pike worked on the film as a special effects assistant
  10. State Beach in Martha’s Vineyard was selected as a location because of the shallow waters, making it wasier to film in

Worst film of all time? Possibly Jurassic Shark

Image showing a clip from Jurassic Shark

A shark film that makes Sharknado look like Ben Hur

If you haven’t heard of Jurassic Shark then you have been spared a memorable film experience! As a shark film enthusiast I bought this a few years ago. The title sounded great…was this going to be a massive shark the size of the dinosaur on the scale of Jurassic Park? Well, sort of.

When I put the film on I was first struck by the rather poor video quality, seems it was done a budget. The CGI was shockingly awful, like it had been crafted from a paint package on a PC from 1998, the acting was passable and the script was horrendous.

I did enjoy it though! Jurassic Shark achieved the rare feat of being so truly awful that it was brilliant entertainment. It doesn’t take it itself too seriously and was clearly made for laughs. I especially liked the footage where the characters walk through the woods, which seemingly lasted at eternity with no dialogue…perhaps to fill running time.

Shark film purists should add it to their collection of course! Is it really the worst film ever? Possibly!

A forgotten henchman from Live and Let Die

Image showing Whisper from Live and Let Die

Introducing the softly spoken Whisper

If ever there was a henchman who deserved more onscreen time, it was the wonderful Whisper from the James Bond film Live and Let Die.

He enjoyed a few brief scenes, getting to open a bottle of drink for Bond and then at the end of the film being engulfed by a piece of inflatable furniture. His fate was never confirmed but I like to think he survived.

Portrayed with understated skill by Earl Jolly Brown, I felt it was high time to acknowledge this little discussed Bond villain…so here he is!

Is this the scariest film of all time?

The Changeling could well be the scariest film ever made

Ask people what the scariest film of all time is and you will probably get the usual responses of The Shining and The Exorcist. Some misguided people might even say 28 Days Later or Donnie Darko.

Few people though have heard of The Changeling and I am not referring to the Angelina Jolie film, but a film from 1980 that is rarely discussed. As a horror aficionado I have seen my fair share of scary films, The Changeling is one of only two to date that I had to turn off halfway through because it petrified me – the other being A Nightmare on Elm Street. I did return to The Changeling a few days later and watched to the end.

The Changeling is essentially a haunted house film, complete with creaking doors, moments of silence and lights flickering. Yes, haunted house films have been done to death, but very few have a real impact and leave you gasping for breath out of fear. Throughout the entire film there is an horrendous sense of foreboding, an air of looming terror…that something absolutely horrific is about to happen.

With veteran George C. Scott in the lead role, he brings instant gravitas, commanding your full attention whenever he is onscreen. He is staying in a secluded house, but soon discovers he might not be alone…

Without spoiling the plot, if you want two hours of total fear then I urge you to look for this film, but you could well have nightmares for many, many months after.

Jurassic World sequel has an official title! Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

What do you think of the name for the new Jurassic Park film?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom sounds pretty epic, yes? If the title gives away any clues then disaster is afoot once again. A kingdom – that is doomed to fail!

I am pretty pleased with the title of the film, but just for fun, here are some alternative titles:

  • Jurassic World: Dinosaurs Strike Back
  • Jurassic World: Ian Malcolm vs Raptor
  • Jurassic World: The Day of the Dinosaurs
  • Jurassic World: John Hammond Lives!
  • Jurassic World: The Last Dinosaur
  • Jurassic World: The Haunted Island
  • Jurassic World: Dinosaurs in Love

Actually, the concept of ghost dinosaurs could be pretty exciting, so I would be happy with The Haunted Island one!

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to bring back Jeff Goldblum

The best character from Jurassic Park is back!

There has been much speculation on whether Jeff Goldblum was going to sign up for the Jurassic World sequel, which is officially called Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. We can now breathe a sigh of relief as it appears Jeff is indeed reprising his role as the quirky Ian Malcolm.

Plot details have not yet emerged, but dinosaur soldiers have been hinted at. The way Jurassic World was shaping up, this would not surprise me.

Expect to see B.D. Wong, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard back again too. Some exciting casting coos, the brilliant Toby Jones, who will almost certainly get killed off and stalwart James Cromwell, who will also almost certainly get killed off!

You need to watch The Red Turtle!

An animation to stir the senses

If you haven’t done so already, make a point to watch The Red Turtle this year. You can buy it on Blu-ray or might be lucky to find it showing in specialist cinemas. Here is why you need to see this charming film:

  1. Stunning colours and beautifully orchestrated animation
  2. A soundtrack that will spine-tingle and bring tears
  3. Virtually no dialogue, just enjoy the visuals
  4. A compelling narrative
  5. It will stir so many emotions, one minute you will feel relaxed, then uplifted, then mournful, then yearning

I urge film enthusiasts to add The Red Turtle to their collections.

A Nightmare on Elm Street films ranked

Which is the best Elm Street film?

I have cobbled together my rankings of the Nightmare on Elm Street films. My list does not include the 2010 remake nor does it include Freddy vs Jason, which for me do not sit within the original canon of films.

  1. A Nightmare on Elm Street – utterly terrifying. Wes Craven’s visionary original stunned audiences in 1984 with the introduction of Freddy Krueger. The shocking kill of Tina still leaves an imprint on the mind
  2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 – Dream Warriors – set in a psychiatric ward, the third film brings back Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon from the first film. The kills are inventive, Freddy is not too comical, the characters are memorable
  3. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – or Elm street 7, if you will. Smartly done, the actors play themselves and start being haunted by Freddy. Robert Englund manages to be creepy in and out of costume.
  4. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 – The Dream Master –¬† some of the survivors from the third film return for this outing. Production values are high, it’s a fun ride and Freddy is just on the verge of being a parody of himself
  5. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 – The Dream Child – despite a superb opening sequence, this sequel does not quite come up to par with the fourth film but do we get more of an insight into Freddy’s history which is interesting
  6. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 – Freddy’s Revenge – this is a weird one and I nearly placed it at the bottom of the list. It doesn’t feel like it belongs with the others, because Freddy is getting someone to act out his kills for him. On the plus side, the high school bus sequence remains one of the single most memorable moments in any Elm Street film to date
  7. Freddy’s Dead – The Final Nightmare – the sixth outing is placed last as it just feels it is running out of steam. Freddy’s daughter is now central to the plot and the teenagers are retreads of those from the third film. Johnny Depp¬† makes a cameo. Not awful, but not the sequel I would rush to put on

Which is the best Jaws film?

Ranking the Jaws films

I have decided to do my own rankings of the Jaws films. There is perhaps no big surprise when it comes to the winner, but maybe a surprise further down the chart. Check out my Jaws film rankings below and see if you agree or disagree.

  1. Jaws – this was clearly going to be at the top. A decent looking shark, slow-burning tension, that powerful opening scene that still leaves chills down the spine and the trio of Scheider, Dreyfuss and Shaw. Stands up to repeated viewing, quite simply one of Spielberg’s finest films
  2. Jaws 2 – a fairly decent sequel, directed by Jeannot Szwarc. There are enough memorable moments in this that stick in the mind, the jet-ski attack and the teenagers going boating and getting stalked by the shark. Scheider returns and convinces again as Chief Brody
  3. Jaws: The Revenge – yes I have placed the fourth film above the third. The location is stunning, the soundtrack is eerie and it is brilliantly refreshing to have the main character an older female (Lorraine Gary as Ellen Brody). While the ending feels rushed and the shark looks a bit rubbery at times, it isn’t half as bad as people make out
  4. Jaws 3 – my least favourite of the films, Jaws 3 is at best an adequate sequel. The thirty five foot shark looks static in some shots, many scenes underwater look badly lit and it is difficult to care about any of the characters (except perhaps for Michael Brody).

So there we have it, the Jaws films ranked! Which one is your favourite?