Foreign Jaws


Japanese Jaws

It may look like Jaws. It may swim like Jaws. It may chew on swimmers as though they were bleeding bubblegum like Jaws. But it ain’t Jaws. Nope, these are stunning examples of Jaws plagiarism done by the Japanese back in the late ’70s/early ’80s. Normally, we’d just bomb ’em for blatantly ripping us off like that (I believe there’s a precedent). But there’s too many cute girls over there, the food’s good (tempura hamburgers rock), and Godzilla’s cool, so all we can do is grit our jaws and give them the frowning of a lifetime.

Japanese Jaws

Copying the exact same shark we’ve come to know as Jaws, the Japanese (and a LOT of other countries) rushed to cash in on filmmaker Stephen Speilberg’s 1975 phenomenal success with the most famous shark movie of all time and space. They rode the wave by naming their movies (and sequels – what f’n nerve) Jaws Attack, Jaws Attack 2, Jaws Returns, and Jaws ’98. (Yep, they kept ripping us off that long.) Then, in a stunning “up yours” to shark fans the world over, they sold ’em to cable television stations with such titles as Cruel Jaws, Monster Shark, Last Shark and Eater Shark. (OK, I kinda like that last one.)

Japanese Jaws And if that wasn’t enough to chew your legs, the plots were almost all identical: A rogue shark gets a hankerin’ for some human aqua jerky and heads into a heavily populated beach area where there are lots of screaming snack-packs waiting to be opened/enjoyed. The mayor wants to keep the beach open for tax purposes. The local sheriff is freaking over all the blood. A bounty hunter is called in to save the day. And while this is killing time, the over-sized shark is on its third and fourth course of floating appetizers. Sound familiar?

Foreign Jaws Like Dracula (1931) did for vampire movies, the global success of Jaws spawned (GREAT analogous word use as swimmy things in the water make out, or “spawn”) a veritable fishery of knockoffs. Some of the better ones came from Italy, Mexico and Germany, places where ultra-gore and no discernable plots were practically invented. They had no problem showing meaty people being savored by a great white shark, with gooshing blood so red you’d think it was fake.

Foreign Jaws Of these keepers is Murder Shark (aka, Mörderhaie greifen an, 1975), Night of the Sharks (2001), Tiburon (’70s, I think), Killer Hai (good luck finding the release date on that one), and Tintorera (1977). Yes, there’s hundreds more, but these titles have a certain something that at least strive to be a little more than a Jaws photocopy. (Tintorera has two party guys on a sailboat taking romantic turns with a party girl. One guy eventually gets jealous and tricks the other into swimming in the Chomp Zone. Guess whose waiting to chew him out?)

You can find most of these movies on video clearing house websites. (Do your homework — I did.) A lot are only available on VHS, so dust off that ’ol 8-track and get yourself some cheesy, gore-filled, low-budget plagiarism. Don’t let me be the only one.

P.S. The graphic representing Tiburon up top is actually the cover of an erotic (or “dirty”) book. I couldn’t find the original movie poster anywhere, no matter how many dirty websites I researched. The Tiburon DVD cover below is merely the Spanish version/title of Jaws. Cool, I suppose. But I like the erotico version more/better.

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