Monster Shark (1984)
Cast: Robert Sopkiw, Valentine Monnier, William Berger
Director: Lamberto Bava
Nutshell: horrendous pre-CGI monster movie with the pathetic acting and effects
Being a die-hard addict of killer shark movies I leapt at the opportunity of ordering this particular one especially as it was from a site specializing in uncut gore films. The cover too looked very promising though one hardly needs reminding that the best cover art often belongs to the most dire movies. I couldn’t resist, so a hard earned $30 were splurged on the DVD and having watched and thoroughly enjoyed Crocodile 2 earlier in the week, anticipation was fairly high as Monster Shark was slipped into the DVD player.
From the moment the film began I felt I was in trouble – firstly, it had a very dated look to it and the horrible synth-based disco music in the background was a dead giveaway; this was clearly cut price, long forgotten 80’s fodder. To make matters worse; it turned out to be an Italian-Franco co-production featuring a bunch of actors who were insufferably dreadful and special effects that illustrate exactly why good Creature Features were a rare commodity before the arrival of CGI, Tremors being an exception. Monster Shark begins with some cutthroat competition between two opposing groups of scientists. The good scientists are into wholesome benign things such as training dolphins to be cheap circus acts while the evil scientists are up to something very dodgy indeed – The cardinal sin; meddling with Mother Nature herself leading to inevitably catastrophic results. A body has been dragged out of the sea with its legs severed in the most gruesome manner and experts reckon the cut is too clean to be that of a shark…more likely something much bigger.
Meanwhile our handsome young marine biologist who was about to go on holiday is caught into the murky affairs though his aim is solely to try to discover what the strange creature lurking below is. Amidst the utterly uninteresting sub-plots (one involving a very confused hit-man) there is a monster movie trying to get itself noticed. However by the time the film is over the only memorable thing about it was how completely dreadful it was. The monster shows up fairly early on in the movie, just a fleeting shot as it gorges on one of its hapless victims. What a sight the poor monster is; from front on (as we get to see it) it resembles a coloured cardboard monster drawn by a bunch of primary school children. One glimpse of that creature, especially when one was expecting a shark, was a massive let down. OK so this wasn’t a proper shark film, but that doesn’t mean the monster has to look like a total Pratt. Anyway, one watched further thinking it wise to give the creature another chance to impress from a more flattering angle.
An age passes before the creature makes its much anticipated attack and this time the scene is truly shocking but for all the wrong reasons! The “Monster Shark” is revealed to be an assortment of fake octopus tentacles thrown around in Bride of the Monster fashion ,and when shown prowling for victims underwater the wretched thing resembles a cauliflower with some fake tentacles attached to it. Imagine having to brave the worst acting ever as well as that excruciating background music only to be treated to a monster that looks like a boiled cauliflower! I was not amused. This was as dire a film I have come across for many a moon and that includes the Pashto films we’ve reviewed.There isn’t a shred of style, not a single moment of anything resembling suspense or tension, the monster is so sad it isn’t even funny and the acting is insufferable and as for that horrendous background score.
Monster Shark is a total rip off; a humongous piece of crap, there isn’t even any third-rate gore on offer to make amends for all else that stinks in this production. Monster Shark is beyond dreadful which is normally high praise in our book, but this one isn’t one of those classically awful films – it plain stinks. It’s unbelievably inept and dull to the extreme and there are no recognizable redeeming features whatsoever, other than the nifty poster artwork. A case, yet another case of being suckered by the poster only to find a stinker within – best avoided like the plague unless you want to get rid of unwanted company. Shocking that this be the work of renowned Horror director Lamberto Bava.