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Blame It On JAWS: Five FINtastically Fun Shark Movies For Shark Week

Long before Discovery Channel’s Shark Week or Syfy’s Sharknado 2, and shortly thereafter Jaws invented the Blockbuster, a slew of shark related movies continued audience feeding frenzy.

Here are five sharky cinematic gems you need to check out, when not watching or rewatching shows like Zombie Sharks and/or Sharkageddon this week.

La notte degli squali (1988)

Also known as Night of the Sharks, Treat Williams cashed in a check in liras for his performance as a shark hunter in this Italian/Spanish/Mexican production filmed in the Dominican Republic.

It’s more a lame gangster film than a Jaws rip-off, but it has an awesomely deceptive movie poster and an equally deceptive title that screams to be watched.

If you have Amazon Prime you can watch it free with your subscription here, or purchase it for under 2 bucks.

What a deal.

¡Tintorera! (1977)

Also known as Tintorera: Tiger Shark, and again involving Mexico, this one is actually closer to Jaws in that it too was based on a novel by the same name (and by an oceanographer no less). According to the producers, all of the underwater scenes were filmed with live sharks.

If you like soft-core exploitative underwater nudity with your sharks, this is the one to put at the top of the list.

By the way, the film is also similar to Jaws in the fact that an actual A-list film composer did the score – Basil Poledouris (RoboCop, Conan the Barbarian).

¡Tintorera! is hard to find on DVD or VHS without shelling out some cash, but as of this post it is illegally up on YouTube.

Up From the Depths (1979)

The Roger Corman produced Piranha is the Citizen Kane of Jaws rip-off movies, but it was hardly the last.

Veteran Corman writer Charles B. Griffith (Little Shop of Horrors, Death Race 2000) was given a seat in the director’s chair for this stinker he didn’t write.

In it, an underwater earthquake has unleashed a dormant prehistoric fish from its slumber, naturally jump-starting a diet strictly of tourists.

The glorious Shout! Factory released the movie on Blu-ray and DVD a few years back as a Corman double feature with Demon of Paradise, which also contains everything from the Jaws blueprint, except the shark.

Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976)

The ads for Jaws of Death boasts it was filmed without the benefit of cages, mechanical sharks, or other protective devices.

It actually might have benefited from all of them, but I’ll take its cheesy oh-so-Cannon Films vibe instead.

Exploitation director William Grefe, who’s credits include second unit on I Eat Your Skin and the story/director of the motorcycle Hills Have Eyes rip-off Whiskey Mountain, wrote and directed Jaws of Death.

 I’m giving this one an award for at least having the balls to put Jaws into the title.

L’ultimo squalo (1981)

More commonly known as Great White, this is the Italian Jaws rip-off that I remember wanting really badly to see as a kid.

The marketing was fantastic, and unfortunately it worked, because it was big at the box office in the US.

I say unfortunately because that success came with a lawsuit from Universal Studios, who managed to successfully sue the makers of Great White for plagiarism.

That’s a shame, because it’s kept the film from distribution since.

It’s poetically ironic that Universal would back a remake of another Enzo G. Castellari film over 25 years later– Inglorious Bastards.

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