Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Sharktopus

2010
Dir. Declan O’Brien

An eviiil, egotistical bio-geneticist, along with his sexy daughter, develops a hybrid half-shark/half-octopus for the US military. Code-named S11, the creature has been designed as the ultimate weapon in aquatic attack and defence. Natch. But when its control unit malfunctions during a test run, the S11 is accidentally unleashed and sets off in the direction of a popular tourist resort. Oh noes! Can our intrepid heroes - eviiil egotistical bio-geneticist’s sexy daughter and a buff ex-employee-turned slacker/mercenary - track down and capture the mutant killing machine before it snacks on a buffet of oiled-up, dressed-down holidaymakers?! Can they heck!

Half Shark. Half Octopus. All Killer.

With a title like Sharktopus, let’s face it, one really ought to know what to expect – or more to the point; what one is letting oneself in for. Playing out as a mainly enjoyable, good-natured, tongue-in-cheek monster romp, the film has already been garnering a sizable cult following for being so bad it’s, well, only rather entertaining. Add to this the fact that it is the latest sci-fi horror creature-feature from legendary B-movie producer Roger Corman and you may find reason to get excited. Don’t get too excited though, he’s only producing this one, and though it may share much in common with the abundance of schlocky B-movies he produced throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, it doesn’t quite have the sly wit or subversive humour that made his own directorial flicks so damn good. Sharktopus does seem to be in keeping with one of Corman’s usual ethoses though: shoot the film as quickly and cheaply as possible and then get the hell out of there! The savvy old geezer has sensed he was onto a winner with this one – particularly in light of the likes of cheap B-frights played for laughs being churned out by the likes of The Asylum, and he’s gracefully hopped on the latest trite creature-feature bandwagon purely for the money. At least he’s always been honest about this, but unlike when he was writing and directing his own stuff, this lacks his appealing beatnik charm and droll wit.


Opening with a barrage of sunny locations, frolicking beach babes and washboard-chested surfer dudes, the tone of Sharktopus is instantly set. Like the film’s more recent contemporaries such as Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Mega Piranha and Shark Attack III: Megalodon, it is played purely for cheap laughs. In fact, Sharktopus follows these other films ridiculously closely in terms of story, too – the involvement of scientists-playing-god, evil military schemes, experiments with deadly animals gone wrong, old flames coming back to help destroy the monster, bug-eyed extras getting eaten by shit special effects and the revelation that the lady scientist/marine biologist/bio-mechanic is totally hawt when she takes off her glasses and lets her hair down. Crazy!



Sharktopus unfolds as a series of scenes featuring busty, bikini-clad lovelies and hunky himboes being attacked and eaten by the titular monster as they sunbathe, frolic, bungee jump, broadcast pirate radio shows, whatever, while our intrepid heroes bluster around after it, failing to stop it until one of them finally remembers that they can somehow blow up its brain. Or something. Hey the science in these flicks is usually pretty basic, and inaccurate. And have you seen the labs they create these monsters in? All pretty IKEA lighting and smooth surfaces. I want one. I suspect the lab in Sharktopus was the same one Tiffany used in Mega Piranha to create her, well, mega-piranhas. Also present is the obligatory love story in which the constantly bickering hero and heroine eventually fall for each other/rekindle a dead romance. Once order has been restored they walk off into a cheap sunset.

The characters spout more cheesy one-liners than the titular beast has teeth; the best of course being “It’s armed and dangerous!” Geddit? Armed and dangerous? Nevermind. Eric Roberts does his usual ‘bad guy’ impersonation, while immaculately groomed leads Kerem Bursin and Sara Malakul Lane play it fairly straight. The rest of the cast play everything for laughs and appear to be enjoying themselves immensely.


O Hai! I wantz noms.
The highlight (for this writer anyway) comes when producer Corman makes a highly telling cameo that could be said to reflect his entire movie making career. Sauntering onto a beach he witnesses a blonde, skimpily dressed women with a metal detector (!) attacked by a cheap looking monster and get dragged off into the sea. He picks up the gold coin she had uncovered and carries on about his business. Corman of course made a career of going straight for the money after he’d overseen a plethora of beauties get menaced by cheap and shoddy B-monsters. A producer’s gotta eat, right?

Sharktopus is for those who loved Mega-Piranha et al (let's face it - who didn't!) and is of course best enjoyed through the bottom of a wine-glass in the company of friends who should know better. And then followed by Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors, Creature From the Haunted Sea or A Bucket of Blood to remind you how good he can really be!

Sharktopus (cert. tbc) will be released on DVD (£5.99) by Anchor Bay Entertainment on 14th March 2011.

7 comments:

Mykal said...

James: How in God's name did I miss this? As a fan of Mega piranha and Mega-Shark, consider me there. Ah, best "enjoyed through the bottom of a wine glass." Yes, true - but then what isn't?

Jenn said...

I love it! I can't wait for it to be released. I already have a fine art painting of Sharktopus attacking a fleet of ships in the bathroom and I haven't even seen the damn movie yet. How could I not love this?

A toast! To Sharktopus! And Roger Corman!

James said...

Oh I'm sure both of you will appreciate this as much as I did. We're a chosen few... ;o)

Shaun [The Celluloid Highway] said...

I was wrong about TROG, SHARKTOPUS is the best film ever made.

James said...

You said it, Shaun!!

bhorrorblog said...

I saw this a while back and couldn't stop laughing all the way through. It doesn't get any cheesier than a Syfy monster movie with Roger Corman thrown into the mix. So SO bad, but so very good at the same time! :-)

James said...

Effing right! With a combination like that, it just can't fail, really. ;)