Day 13 of the 31 days of horror asks the question "What would happen if two of the worlds greatest directors teamed up to make a movie about a man-eating mutated shark/octopus/beach ball beast?"
Let's find out!
Shark: Rosso nell'oceano (AKA Monster Shark, Devouring Waves, Devil Fish. 1984).
Dir: John Old Jr. (AKA Lamberto Bava with a wee bit of help from Bruno Mattei).
Cast: Michael Sopkiw, Valentine Monnier, Dino Conti, Gianni Garko, William Berger, Iris Peynado, Lawrence Morgant, Cinzia de Ponti, Darla N. Warner, Paul Branco, Ennio Brizzolari, Lisa Frances Rubin, Goffredo Unger and Dagmar Lassander.
|"You filthy rotten bloody sod, LET ME HEAR YOU!"|
As the sun glistens off the calm Florida coastline (which looks uncannily like the canal behind Bava's house) and seagulls waft on the warm air currents the tranquil silence is suddenly broken by a Navy rescue helicopter hurryingly (do helicopters hurry? Answers to the usual address) flying to aid some fat geezer whose inflatable beach toy has capsized or some other such drama.
Arriving at the scene our plucky rescuers are shocked to find huge teeth marks in the poor man and that someone (or something) has stolen his legs.
But who cares?
We have science-types to meet.
And first on the list is brainy blonde boffin Dr. Stella Dickens (council estate Michaela Strachan Monnier, most fondly remembered for 2019: After the Fall of New York and serving you in McDonalds last week) who works at the local aquarium training homeless dolphins to beg for scraps of food and patronizing the visitors.
She will be our heroine for the next 90 minutes.
Meanwhile out at sea her college and fellow scientist Dr. Bob Hogan (a strangely uncredited - and frighteningly shortarsed- Conti from Endgame but not Shirley Valentine) appears to spend all his time getting pissed whilst sailing about aimlessly aboard the sea-going equivalent of a Pikey's caravan, the cleverly named research vessel Seaquarium.
Enjoying the scenery and contemplating a Pot Noodle fueled fiddle, Bob's daydreaming is rudely interrupted when one of the high tech sonar buoys he’s dragging along behind the boat starts making bleeping noises.
Popping his booze on the table and his engorged member back in his shorts, Bob decides that it'd be a good idea to record the noises - well it is his job - but the boat is suddenly attacked and his beer is violently knocked over.
How much fucking plot does this masterpiece have?
Back at the aquarium it's pandemonium as every single dolphin has started going mental, swimming back and forth whilst making that irritating clicking noise (hang on, isn't that just normal behavior for a dolphin?) causing Stella to clumsily slip into the pool and smudge her make-up.
And if anyone ever needed a reason to slaughter dolphins I think that is a good enough one.
|Kylie Minogue licking piss off John Nettles yesterday.|
With all this make-up mussing we almost forgot about Bob, who is still stumbling about his boat trying to find a blank cassette to record the strange sounds on.
Luckily it stops almost as suddenly as it started so Bob switches off the recorder and sits back down.
But not before he opens another beer.
How much excitement can an audience take?
About this much obviously.
Roughly cutting to the local hospital, we join the enigmatic Doctor Simon Shifty who, after just completing his examination of the legless (but not in a good way) man that the helicopter team brought in, is on his way to give his valued opinion to the high voiced, tiny limbed Sheriff Gordon (Garko, star of Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules and The Psychic) and his hulking sidekick Cortez (portrayed by a brick shit-house).
"It's a shark what did it!" announces the Doc "Or then again it might be an otter or suicide" he continues, "I know! A bad boy done it and ran away!"
Gordon just stands there swaying in the breeze as he strokes his chin, mulling over the Doctors theories.
I'd have punched the annoying sod in the face.
And his mum.
The sheriff decides it'd be best to take pictures but whether there for evidence or his own sick sexual pleasure we will never know.
Which is a pity really.
|It's grim up north.|
Anyway before anything remotely interesting happens at the hospital it's back to wee Bob and his scary noises.
Stella, still damp from all that girl on dolphin action earlier is on tender-hooks (well, it's the only thing that can explain away the pained expression on her face) waiting for Bob to play back the recording.
But surprise, surprise when he goes to play it back the tape is silent.
Bob tries in vain to describe the sound, explaining that it was either a spooky voice or a particularly terrifying 'thing' filled with hate.
Always helpful, Stella reckons it's the very same noise that sent the dolphins ape (fish?) shit and that it may be either too high or too low for the tape recorder to pick up.
The fact that Bob was so pissed he could of imagined it doesn't enter her head.
With all the facts in hand Stella heads off to see her pal, electronics wizz and part-time hair model Peter (2019: After the Fall of New York's other blond bombshell Sopkiw) at his pound shop lair cum knocking shop where he works - and plays - with his exotic girlfriend Sandra (Peynado, last seen - by me at least - having sex with Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson in Warriors of The Wasteland or whatever it's called this week).
It's like an Enzo G. Castellari survivors group meeting.
Stella arrives just in time to see slinky Pete packing his suitcases into his Jeep, it seems he's off to New York on vacation where "three beautiful women are waiting for him".
That'll be his mum, aunt and sister then.
Luckily - for us and the plot - Stella's really good at batting her eyelids in a sorta harsh faced Bambi type way and within seconds Peter is hard at work building some special equipment to track the mystery noise much to Sandra's chagrin.
It seems she was looking forward to a fortnight vegging out to Loose Women and not having to shave her legs.
Or her mustache.
|Peynado: Hairy back and arse.|
Meanwhile over at the West Ocean International building, one Dr. Davis Barker (gone to seed David Cameron alike Morgant, in his only film role thank fuck) is busying himself making bubbles in a jug of water (it must be a science thing) whilst his boss' wife Sonja (copper topped genre Goddess Lassander) makes all the office computers say 'I love you Davis' in unison.
What this has to do with monster sharks or devil fish I have no idea but it is rather sweet.
Gazing into each others eyes whilst mumbling something about genetically modifying cod the pair engage in a bit of old person snogging which - fortunately for sensitive viewers - is quickly interrupted by a foxy young lab assistant who just happens to be wandering by.
I've a hunch that this may be important later.
Someone whose passions haven't been dampened tho' is Peter who, even as we speak is not only building all that technical gubbins for Stella but is also managing to pleasure Sandra with his free hand at the same time.
And all to a tinny Casio porn score.
Now there's a man whose life I want.
|I wouldn't want one of them swimming up my.....oh fuck it go on then."|
Remember the foxy lab assistant from a few paragraphs back?
Well she's returned home to pack her suitcases, phone a cab and run a bath.
And all whilst wearing the flimsiest pants/see thru dressing gown combo I have ever seen.
Which is a skill in itself.
But as fun as it is to watch these lace based, bouncy arsed packing activities, they're soon interrupted by a hairy armed, small handed man ringing her doorbell.
Is it the cab driver?
Or could it be that she's been threatening to tell Sonja's hubbie about the affair so he's sent someone round to off her?
Go on, guess.
|Did a quick Google search for pictures but I'm not sure this is the correct Cinzia de Ponti...nice swimsuit tho'.|
Either way it looks like it must be the town's annual thug night because that very same evening Peter is woken from his post sex slumber by the sound of someone trashing his workshop.
Not only that but the poor guy is beaten senseless by the same hairy armed bloke when he goes to investigate.
And what, pray does all this have to do with monster sharks?
Fucked if I know, it's almost as if everyone's forgotten that that's what the movie's about.
|And I'm spent!|
Two people who most definitely have forgotten are the couple balding middle-aged men that head out to sea (in what appears to be a child's toy boat) the next morning to enjoy a wee bit of scuba-diving fun.
The skinnier, more rat like of the two seems to be in his element watching various grainy clips of sharks go by as he bobs about in what looks like a swimming pool whilst his portlier pal lounges about eating do-nuts.
I'm sure it's the same guy from Tentacles.
Imagine the indignity of being typecast as the fat do-nut man who gets eaten by sea monsters.
Tho' saying that he probably gets more fan mail (and money) from that than being known as the 'mooth-shite guy that blogs about films that no-one else cares about'.
So touché sir.
Pity this tranquility - and random typing - can't last as from nowhere a huge bulbous head with rows of razor sharp teeth appears and starts to chow down first on the boat and then its occupants.
And in a scene shot entirely from inside the beasts mouth.
Art or arse?
|"Look at the dog!"|
In spite of all these unexplained water-based deaths going down, Sheriff Gordon is more interested in interviewing the allusive director of West Ocean International himself, the mysterious Dr. Donald West (The Spider Labyrinth star Berger disappointingly not playing the sexy pilot from Lost In Space) regarding the death of the blonde bird from earlier.
No idea why.
Perhaps he doesn't like water?
"Do you think it was an accident…or did she commit suicide?" Asks the Sheriff in all seriousness.
Thinking for a moment a jovial West replies "Well I think that’s up to you to decide Sheriff!"
"Well murder it is then!" Comes Gordon's hilarious retort.
Yup, well researched police work at it's best.
|At least it wasn't his wanking arm.|
As more bodies turn up (including one of the scuba-guys and a hideously obese married couple who, for some reason best left unknown actually die in the pre-credits scenes of the American cut), Gordon reckons it'd be a good idea to ask the only survivor some questions regarding the attacks.
Pity then that one whiff of Gordon's pickled onion Monster Munch breath sends the poor sod into shock followed by an unhealthy dose of death.
Bored with being sidelined by the whole murder/blackmail plot, Peter, Stella, wee Bob and a foxy Paleontologist with a strange old/young face named Mrs. Janet Bates (Warner, best known for playing a waitress in E.T. and the Sheriff and singing drunkenly at karaoke in my local pub) jump aboard the Seaquarium in order to test Peters brand new sonar equipment.
As Sandra waves them on their journey (and heads off for an appointment with the hairy killer bloke) Bob cracks open the beers whilst Peter fiddles about with various brightly coloured wires.
"Do you think the sonar will work?" asks Stella.
Peter looks up from the back of what looks like an old telly and mischievously replies "You have beautiful eyes!" before getting back to work.
For he is indeed one smooth bastard.
|A high tech sonar device earlier today.|
Finishing his fiddling Peter dons his sexy scuba pants and dives into the water to check on the equipment whilst Stella and Janet (wearing a rather fetching diarrhoea coloured safari suit) join Bob on the deck for drinks, shits and giggles.
After even more fiddling, diving and drinking the fantastic foursome managed to get a sample of spooky noise and head back to shore for a meeting with the first with the Sheriff and then West who, thanks to Janet receives a fascinating lecture on 'proto-sharks'.
After the thrilling talk (with slides) West, waiting till everyone has left desperately tries to access some secret files on the institute database regarding 'Project Sea Killer".
Could this be the beast that's been terrorizing the coast?
It looks like we'll never know seeing as the computer keeps shrieking "access denied" at every given opportunity.
Which is strange seeing as West owns the place.
Back on the boat Peter notices a large, luxurious yacht close by which Bob recognises as Dr. West’s boat, The Saucy Challenger remarking that he's probably sent his heavies to spy on them, smash all their equipment and capture the monster shark for their own nefarious ends.
As if by magic one of the buoys actually breaks down of its own accord so Peter and Stella change into their skimpiest swimming costumes legally allowed in 80's cinema in order to go and fix it, leaving Janet and Bob to get (even more) pissed and await the arrival of the beast itself.
Hopefully cos to be honest I'm pretty sure the thing doesn't exist.
Either that or the FX team haven't gotten around to finishing it yet.
Things go from bad to worse tho' because the broken buoy scenario is in itself obviously not perilous enough a predicament to put our twosome in so the writer decides to give Peter's dinghy a puncture too.
On a brighter note it does leave the pair no other choice than to swim to the nearest island and have some sex.
Meanwhile, back aboard the Seaquarium (again) the monster shark - finally - shows up on the monitor as Bob and Janet gaze at the Spectrum 48K graphics in a mixture of awe, apathy and horror.
Swimming quickly towards the boat in a joyous mash up of grainy stock footage and blocky blips, it's tentacles poised for attack the shark readies itself.
A shark with tentacles?
As if by some sort of osmosis Bob cries "My God, a shark with tentacles!" as the beast eats the camera under the boat and heads in for the kill.
|Another Google image search,|
another Cinzia de Ponti.
Bob in an almost sexual frenzy grabs his trusty dart gun and peers over the side whilst Janet sits on deck pulling a classic constipation face.
Looking for any sign of a fin poor Bob visibly shats himself as a dozen or so rubbery (why thank you) tentacles appear from the sea, grabbing saucily at him before fondling his ample buttocks and dragging him to his doom.
Still feeling a bit peckish the monster shark/octopus/whatever it is makes a play for Janet who, luckily for her just happens to be holding a small hatchet at the time enabling her to beat the beast off.
But not in that way obviously.
And what of our star-crossed shaggers on the beach?
Cos let's be honest, if we have the choice between a wet woman being manhandled by a tentacled beast or watching Michael Sopkiw wiping his cock on a palm leaf, I know which I'd rather see.
So it's back to Peter who, after waking up Stella, decides that they really should get back to the boat to see how the monster search is going on.
She sighs, pulls her swimsuit out of her arse crack and starts to paddle the dingy towards the Seaquarium.
But as the loved up pair approach the boat they begin to realize that something is amiss, Bob is nowhere to be seen, there's blood in the water and a severed tentacle hanging over the side.
Boarding the craft they find Janet hysterical and lying in a pool of her own piss on the upper deck and Peter not wanting to miss out on a breast fondle looms over the poor girl and cradles her in his big manly arms as Stella takes them home.
|She's got something to put in you.|
Back onshore Peter, armed with a videotape of the creature heads over to the West Ocean International labs - again - (well if you've got a set you may as well use it) to see if anyone has any idea what they're dealing with.
Carefully studying the tape whilst consulting his battered copy of The Ladybird Book of Big Bastard Sea Beasts Dr. Davis hypothesizes that the creature is at least forty feet long with a six feet wide mouth and probably has a top speed is over thirty five knots.
All that from a murky out of focus video tape?
Damn he's good.
Being the heroic type Peter formulates a plan - and for once it doesn't involve fondling old ladies, instead he suggests that they could try and lure the monster shark thing into a trap using the recordings of it's voice that they made earlier.
All they have to do is raise the pitch so that it sounds like a female then lie in wait until he comes calling.
Yup, it's a Peter plan so it must involve sex in some form, I'm surprised he's not just offered to go out and shag it to death.
Anyway, everyone agrees that this is the most sensible option (obviously not the shagging bit) and heads off to load the boat with explosives.
|Peter farted....and it was an eggy one.|
With all this excitement going on, everyone fails to spot the hairy killing man receiving a phone call telling him to stop the mission at all costs.
Oh and to kill Sandra when he has a spare minute.
Not even stopping to change his cum stained shorts Peter is soon back aboard (well underneath) the good ship Seaquarium, attaching various probes and scanners to it's (and probably to Stella's bottom too) whilst totally failing to notice the beast watching therm from behind some seaweed.
Well to give it its dues the monster shark is wearing a top hat as a disguise.
But that's not the only trouble in store as Janet soon finds out when a group of badmen creep aboard and stab her.
Whilst all this is 'going down' as you young people say, Stella and Peter are attacked by the same knife-wielding bad boys but this time they're wearing swimsuits in what looks like a community centre drama group recreation of the underwater battle from Thunderball.
Dodging harpoons, knives, visible camel-toe and monster fish, Stella manages to make it back on board only to be captured by the groups ringleader.
Would you believe it, the evil Dr. Miller is behind everything.
Well I mean everything in the film not literally everything it's not like he was the real force behind 9/11, Trump's Presidential campaign or the disappearance of Madeline McCann.
Tho' thinking about it....
Killing every underwater villain, Peter scrambles his way onto the boat and confronts Miller who is standing in his best scary pose with a bread knife to Stella's throat.
And if Peter comes any closer he'll cut it.
A crap pub fight ensues and they both fall into the sea with the monster shark getting ever closer but just as Peter reaches the boat one of the beasts tentacles grabs Stella and pulls her overboard.
Peter looks on in terror (well disbelief and hardly concealed amusement) as another tentacle grabs Miller and begins to toss him about like a dummy stuffed with newspaper.
Which it very probably is.
All this tossing of villains gives Peter enough time to rescue Stella from its slimy clutches and reach the relative safety of the boat where they both sit and watch Miller get eaten before putting an oily blanket over Janet (not as a mark of respect but to cover her harsh face) and preparing the dinghy's speakers.
Yup, Peter has volunteered to pretend he's a horny lady shark-thing (surprise) and lead the beast inland toward a huge mob of dynamite carrying locals eager to blow the bugger to Spain and back.
Meanwhile (this is getting a tad predictable now), Dr. West contacts Sheriff Gordon to report his findings.
Yes he has just spent the majority of the movies running time hunched over a computer.
It seems that every single one of the monster sharks cells is capable of reproducing another (albeit slightly less shoddy) monster shark.
Which is bad news as far as the plan goes.
Radioing Peter to tell him the news it's up to our hero to disabled the exploding buoys, warn the over excited townsfolk and find a non blowy-uppy way of finishing off the creature.
All within the next ten minutes.
Will pretty boy Peter succeed?
And will he really give a toss when he finds his ex-missis is dead?
From the smoking quill of Gianfranco Clerici (the writer of such hits as Delirium: Photo of Gioia, Murder-Rock and House on the Edge of the Park amongst others), the visionary mind of Lamberto Bava with cheap drink and snacks supplied by Bruno Mattei (possibly) Monster Shark manages the unenviable task of trying to match the sheer terror and excitement of Jaws but on a budget that wouldn't pay for Richard Dreyfuss' nasal hair clippers.
Scarily tho' the film succeeds at this task and sometimes even rises above it's source material.
Not really, it is, in fact, utter shite from start to finish.
But that's not to say it isn't an enjoyable piece of shite, a bit like the scabbily dressed plain girl you meet at the end of the night when your yeast infected whore radar is at its lowest and you actually start listening to your libido.
Of course you enjoy the kebab stained muddy kneed fumble behind the bins but you wouldn't take her home to meet the wife and kids.
Monster Shark, you are that clap ridden girl and we love you for it.
Just don't expect us to give you the correct phone number as we sneak off for a taxi back to Movieville.
|"Fuck me a wasp!"|
On a plus point.....hang on there are no plus points; the dubbing is shoddiness of the first order, the editing seems to have been achieved by throwing the film into the air then allowing a group of blind, wooden pawed dogs to attempt to glue it together and the storyline (for what it is) is a weird mix of conspiracy thriller, scientific corporation gone bad, cack handed murder mystery and a monster movie all rolled into one big ball of cinematic sputum retched up from the tar ridden lungs of good taste.
More the beasts tentacles than the dogs bollocks, Monster Shark should have pride of place right next to Shark Attack 3 and Raging Sharks.
Hidden right behind your animal porn saved anyone sees it and makes a harsh character judgment on you.
Saying that tho' I bloody love it.
And you will too.