Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten Film: Cruel Jaws

We're well into the summer season now, which means many of us are getting deep into our usual summertime activities, such as the beach, camping, sports--and sharks.

Yes, summer is the season of the shark, thanks to Jaws and other shark-related fare such as Discovery Channel's Shark Week. But not all shark projects are created equal.  Case in point--this week's Tuesday's Forgotten Film, Cruel Jaws.

Released in 1995, Cruel Jaws is arguably the worst shark film ever made. That's saying something, considering how many God-awful shark movies exist, as anyone with SyFy on their cable system will admit.  But even in this crowded genre, Cruel Jaws is a standout, not just because the acting is terrible (which it is), and the story is stale and tired (which it is), but because it blatantly, callously, shamelessly, and most of all, obviously steals footage from previous shark movies.

The original Jaws? Yep. Jaws 2? Yep. It even steals the orchestral score of other films, including Star Wars. Star Wars music? In a shark film? Yep.

The one film whose footage gets devoured by Cruel Jaws the most is a movie I've written about before, the 1981 film Great White, aka The Last Shark. What is ironic is that Great White itself is a blatant rip-off of Jaws. Cruel Jaws is a rip-off of a rip-off! And the shark from Great White isn't even a scary looking shark.

That shark has about as much bite as Jabberjaw.

The auteur behind this travesty is Bruno Mattei, who is notorious for this sort of thing. Cruel Jaws was just another in a line of Mattei-created films that stole footage from existing movies, which has made him somewhat of a cult film lover's hero (or fool, depending on your point of view). Mattei is so brazen that he actually released the film under the title Jaws 5 in some countries!

Here is the film's trailer, followed by the film in its entirety. See how many scenes and music clips from other movies you can recognize. It could make for a great drinking game--"If you see the shark from Jaws, take a drink. If you see the shark from Great White, do two shots." Enjoy--you lush you.

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