Category Archives: great white sharks in fiction

Sfruttamento Movie Trailer Italiano Parte Due – ‘L’Ultimo Squalo’ (aka ‘The Last Jaws’. aka ‘Son Jaws’, aka ‘Great White’) (1981)


Enzo G. Castellari’s ‘version’ of the popular Great White Shark movie wasn’t much more than a direct steal from the classic Jaws. To quote the stalepopcorn review (link below) “…an enormous and angry 35 foot Great White Shark takes revenge on humans when they build a beach just for swimmers by a coastal town. After several shark attacks, and the Mayor does nothing to stop it, a dedicated shark specialist and a crazy weary fisherman set out in pursuit to stop it.”

Have a look at this trailer here;

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081677/ IMDB Entry

http://wopsploitation.blogspot.com/2009/02/lultimo-squalo1981denzo-gcastellari.html Wopsploitation review

http://www.stalepopcorn.co.uk/reviews/review-archive/retro-review-great-white-lultimo-squalo-the-last-shark/ Stale Popcorn review

If the trailer has whetted your appetite, you can see ‘L’Ultimo Squalo’ here;

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3266291835893231391

SharKade (1972 – 1978)

The film Jaws has a nice little sequence where we see someone playing the arcade game Killer Shark – its one of the early arcade games (produced by Sega) and (obviously-duh) pre-dates the film. For a great clip of this scene, click here

Anyway, great game and all that – I remember playing it at the Drayton Manor Park arcade in the mid 1970s – probably my first arcade experience. I recall that the gun trigger was hard and there was a sort of snapping when you fired off a shot. The wriggling of the shark (and the stream of blood) when you hit it was disturbing and exhilarating – a game where you see your victim in its death throes! There is plenty written about this game – see the links at the end of this post.

There were a few other games out once the film Jaws was released, obviously capitalising on the Shark craze;

Shark Jaws (Horror Games (aka Atari) 1975)

Claimed to be the first video game adaptation (for that article by Ian Bogost here), this was early Atari, capitalising on the success of Jaws, but when Universal nixed their license to make a game of the film, they went ahead and made a game anyway. They even created a dummy company called ‘Horror Games’ just so the Atari brand wouldn’t be associated with any quick n’ dirty cash-in. Best of all was the marquee that sat at the top of the arcade cabinet, with the game advertised as Shark (small letters) JAWS (big letters);

cheeky….

Some guy writing at Everything2.com claims there are only 3 of these complete arcade cabinets left in existence, and only one of them works. Not that it would be worth tracking down, as the game is of its time – simplistic, repetitive, monochrome and graphically basic (the screenshot of the game tells you all you need to know).

Maneater (Project Support Engineering 1975)

The magnificently titled Project Support Engineering (that’s not a company, it’s a department!) produced this wonderful cabinet, and even produced a game to go inside it (though the game is irrelevant in comparison to the grandeur of this);

The game looked like Shark Jaws and Shark (ie BASIC) and the premise and objective were to control a diver who was collecting gold from the sea baed, and get him back to his boat and avoid the sharks (who were maneaters, of course). Here is a screenshot of the game that I found on KLOV;


Shark (US Billiards 1975)

Turning the whole shark craze on its head, this Arcade effort puts you in as the shark, trying to avoid nets and traps as you attempt to get to the swimmer before they reach the shore(!). It’s another one that isn’t available on emulation (like Shark Jaws), and again it is simplistic gameplay with basic graphics (see below) and probably wouldn’t keep the average gamers attention for more than a minute today.

Blue Shark (Bally Midway 1978)

Like the forerunner of these games, Killer Shark, Blue Shark had a gun mounted arcade cabinet and it was another plain and simple shooting game. Get the shark with your gun, but don’t hit the humans who are diving around them. You also get to kill numerous other aquatic life (octopus etc) for no particular reason, which is all well and good when you are hang around arcades as a kid in the Seventies, but you probably couldn’t get away with it now, as it would, I expect, be classed as a game that encourages the destruction of the Environment and sentient beings. Nowadays you get games where you get to kill real looking people or ‘real’ looking zombies or the perennial aliens instead. The game is fairly basic (but less so than the others discussed so far), but with more graphical subtlety and involved gameplay.

There was also Shark Attack, released in 1981 by GPi (Game Plan inc), that had you playing the shark (just like the earlier game by US Billiards, Shark) and you had to eat the arcade sharks favourite snack – the diver. This time though, the diver can strike back as some of them have harpoon guns! Also, this game was in colour! However, on my emulation of Shark Attack, it is dated as 1980, and made by Pacific Novelty. Game Plan must have distributed it. Here is a screenshot of it;

LINKS!!!

Killer Shark

http://bavatuesdays.com/killer-shark-1972/ – the best blog I have come across in a while. Nice entry on Killer Shark.

http://www.yourprops.com/view_item.php?movie_prop=14799 – Killer Shark cabinet photos and screenshot.

http://www.daemonkeep.com/killershark.html – At DaemonKeep games, they have a repro of the game for download;

http://marvin3m.com/arcade/shark.htm – Cabinet shots, flyer info, a look at the innards of the cabinet…

http://www.pingeek.com/killer/killer.htm – If you want the schematics of Killer Shark, this is the place for you.

KLOV has a basic entry for Killer Shark, nothing more.

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Maneater

http://www.i-mockery.com/minimocks/50arcadecabinets/arcade3.php – i-mockery lists the 50 greatest Arcade cabinets, with Maneater listed very near the top.

http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=8611 – KLOV entry

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Shark Jaws

http://www.arcadeflyers.com/?page=thumbs&db=videodb&id=979 – Shark Jaws flyers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shark_Jaws Wiki entry for Shark Jaws


http://www.retroland.com/pages/retropedia/arcade/item/1403/
– RetroLand entry for Shark Jaws

http://www.armchairarcade.com/aamain/print.php?article.103 – A History of the early years of Atari has information on Shark Jaws


http://www.arcade-history.com/?n=shark-jaws&page=detail&id=3395
– ArcadeHistory entry for the game.

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Shark

http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=9507
– KLOV entry for Shark

http://www.arcadeflyers.com/?page=thumbs&db=videodb&id=2611 – Shark flyer

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Blue Shark


http://www.arcadeflyers.com/?page=thumbs&db=videodb&id=139
– Blue Shark arcade flyer


http://www.arcadeflyers.com/?page=thumbs&db=videodb&id=139
– International Arcade Museum entry for Blue Shark by Midway

http://www.coinop.org/g.aspx/100549/Blue_Shark.html – Blue Shark entry at coinop.org

http://www.arcade-history.com/?n=blue-shark&page=detail&id=298 – Entry at ArcadeHistory

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Shark Attack

http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=9508 – KLOV entry for Shark Attack

http://www.arcadeflyers.com/?page=thumbs&db=videodb&id=1737 – Arcade flyer for Shark Attack

http://arcadeflyers.com/?page=flyer&db=videodb&id=1762&image=2 – More arcade flyer action for Shark Attack

The award for the most inappropriate kids comic competition of 1976 goes to…..

….Action Comics!!

Not only was it violent, not only did it use 1970’s ‘youth’ colloquialisms such as ‘ya’ (as in ‘Action is ya favourite violent comic’), but it also held a gloriously bad taste competition. Well, that’s my view anyway. It was also a great competition prize, and an exciting one. But definitely in bad taste. Let me explain in words and pictures;

That shark just above is dubbed Hook Jaw, the undoubted star of IPC comics notorious ‘Action‘ title. Hook Jaw was clearly inspired by, and capitalising on, the Shark craze of the mid 1970’s (prompted by the Spielberg Blockbuster ‘Jaws‘). Some of the works inspired by the film were quite bizarre. Hook Jaw, however, was just plain terrifying. This comic strip amplified our terror of the deep and exaggerated the fearsomeness, the size and predator instincts of a Great White Shark. The shark that appeared in Action acted as a moral avenger, appearing to act out a vendetta against mankind.

Created by Pat Mills (who went on to have a hand in the creation of another seminal British comic character, Judge Dredd), the story had an environmental edge, the Shark, while eating any human unlucky enough to be in its proximity, seemed to target those who would exploit the Seas (the first strip was based around an oil rig);

(the panel above was taken from issue 2 of Action, dated 21st of February, 1976)

So there we go, Hook Jaw, the Great White Shark who was a cover star of the most notorious British Boys comic of the 1970’s;

Competitions in comics are nothing new. They attract new readers, reward existing readers and keep them loyal, and some lucky guy gets the first prize. Action decided to run a competition, one that tied in with one of the comic strips, and one that captured the spirit of the comic, as it certainly promised ‘action’ with a capital A, and one lucky reader got to do the following;

Right – so that’s a fishing trip, to catch a shark! Great opportunity to go out shark fishing, you might even catch HOOK JAW!!!

Er, okay, maybe not.

Amazingly, they did have children enter the competition. They found a winner. The winner did go out on a shark fishing trip. Did he catch Hook Jaw? Did he come back in one piece? Did his dad go with him? Did he come back as well? Were Brody, Hooper and Quint on board? Did they go in the Orca*? All is revealed below….

Finally, here is a gratuitous panel from Hook Jaw from issue 2 of Action (dated 21st of February 1976) – can you see the nod to the Spielberg movie??

Hook Jaw

Jaws

* The Orca was the boat that Quint, Brody and Hooper used to hunt the Great White in Jaws. It still (allegedly) exists (as a bit of a wreck) – have a look