Monster of the Day #41

“Sometimes that shark he looks right into ya. Right into your eyes. And, you know, the thing about a shark… he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be living… until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah, then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’.”

  • TongoRad


  • brandywine

    I saw a special about the Indianapolis narrated by Richard Dreyfuss. Apparently, most of the crew really died from dehydration and exposure and such and the sharks just ate the dead. I was disappointed.

  • Gristle McThornbody

    I can’t imagine anyone else than Shaw in the role of Quint.

  • Jeff

    Brings to mind one of your best works here Ken. Your write-up on everything that made the original Jaws so great was mesmerizing. It made me realize just how much detail goes into the making of a really good movie.

  • Gristle: And yet, they offered it first to Sterling Hayden and Lee Marvin. It’s like Christopher Lee being offered Loomis first in Halloween; you can see it in your head, but it just isn’t as good as what we got.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    All-time great movie, with an all-time great monster. The only movie I’ve watched more than Gojira (although, to be fair, it’s played a lot more on TV than the latter.)

    The scene where we first really get a sense of Bruce’s size (where he’s approaching the guy he’s just knocked out of his little boat) still makes my hackles rise. That guy trying to pull himself onto his boat, not even aware of that gaping maw rising up at him….yikes.

    When I first saw it, the biggest scare for me was not the above scene, or the opening sequence, or even the discovery of Ben Gardner (although that definitely got me). It was when he pops up behind Brody. I about jumped out of my skin. I don’t think a better-crafted “jump scare” will ever be made.

    And now I have to pull out the DVD again tonight…

  • And how much luck plays a part. As already noted, at least two actors turned down Quint before Shaw took it. And more importantly, Spielberg would have featured the shark a lot more if the mechanicals weren’t constantly breaking down. Meaning the film wouldn’t have been so good, and the film would probably now be a footnote, and Spielberg himself might never have been Spielberg–no Close Encounters, no Raiders, no ET, etc.

    For want of a nail…only in this case, it was the want of the nail that actually saved the kingdom.

  • @brandywine: It doesn’t make it any less terrifying. A couple of years ago, my brother and I had the honor to meet Paul J. Murphy, one of the survivors of the Indianapolis at a book signing for ‘Only 317 Survived’, a chronicle written by and for the men who lived through that ordeal. What he told us and the other people who came to see him I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

  • Tork_110

    Watch out, it might explode!

  • BeckoningChasm

    Spielberg’s best film by a long, long margin. You can argue about Raiders or ET, but you’d be wrong.

    Buy does the shark look awful in that still, though.

  • Rock Baker

    Jaws is a genuine classic. No argument from me. But I think the other Speilberg films mentioned here (Close Encounters and E.T.) are a tad over-rated. (I do admit that this may just be me, I might not have gotten out of these films what others did) Feel free to educate me. Why are those two films so highly held? They’re well made films, sure, but I didn’t get that much out of them. Meanwhile, I get a charge every single time I see Jaws. Jaws I get, it’s a great film and I know why. Close Encounters and E.T. escape me, though.

  • Plissken79

    Jaws is a masterpiece, standing alongside Raiders, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, (and I would argue) Empire of the Sun as Spielberg’s best films. Close Encounters is almost in the category, but ET has aged terribly, it is hard to see what exactly made it so popular.

    Personally, I always thought ET landing in late-Brezhnev era Soviet Union rather than early-Reagan era United States could have been a much better story opportunity…ET is arrested by the KGB as Bukharinite capitalist agent, is sent to the Gulag, entertains the guards and fellow prisoners by lighting his finger…then something else happens

  • I will admit, as I’ve said before, that I believe Jaws to be easily Spielberg’s best film. If they had removed all the other Spielbergs (what was it, five or six altogether?) from the original AFI 100 Best Films list, I would have been happier.

  • Rock Baker

    You want to know the really weird thing about E.T.? Despite the box office take, there was never an E.T. 2: Long Distance Rates. When I think of the 80s, I think of sequels to even the most moderatley successful pictures. It just seems strange that there was never an E.T. sequel or teleseries, or at the very least a Saturday morning cartoon show.

  • The Rev. D.D.

    I’m betting that Atari game killed the franchise before it could really get started.

    RE: Bruce; it says a lot about this movie that even I, nitpicker extraordinaire, rarely find myself thinking poorly of the shark’s appearance. I’m just too much into the movie to care.

    After all, how many movie monstsers’ appearances match up to the hype?

  • GalaxyJane

    ET was the first movie I was ever so bored by that I walked out in the middle. I can remember standing on the sidewalk in front of the theater watching “The Toy” on the screen at the adjacent drive-in and wishing I was over there instead. Clearly, your milage may vary.

  • rockrocky77

    The best looking Shark of all the “Jaws” movies (as Ken pointed out in the “Jaws The Revenge” riview serously that last one looked terrible.

  • TongoRad

    It probably doesn’t say much about my knowledge of video game trivia when my 13 year-old had to explain that bit about the Atari ET game to me. Man, that does sound like a really hateful, though- definitely a franchise killer.

    When Jaws came out I was one of those 11 year-olds that went to see it every two weeks or so, I just couldn’t get enough of it. I still recall the conversations at school about who saw it the most times. And the merchandise was everywhere- even in those 25 cent trinket machines at the door of the grocery stores. And the t-shirt iron-on shops (remember them?). And who could forget the song “Mr. Jaws” all over the radio that summer? This is one of those instances where looking back isn’t all about nostalgia, there was an honest-to-God classic movie driving it all that I can still watch to this day and appreciate it for what it is.

    Come to think of it, my son is two years overdue for his first viewing of Jaws; I’m going to have to remedy that real soon.

  • John Nowak

    Very much a classic. I remember seeing it in the theaters, with the screaming audiences, and the fact it actually made people nervous about going to the beach.

  • John Nowak

    It does look bad in a still, doesn’t it? Kinda like a certain alien carrot…

  • Actually, I think it looks like a baby, with its drooling, round ‘face’ and huge eyes. Goo, goo, goo!

    Henry: There are a colony of big scorpions in the beginning of the film, but they are eventually killed by the biggest, which is indeed ebon and the ‘black scorpion’ of the title.