What is it about sharks that fascinates us so? Is it the empty stare? The robotic efficiency with which they kill? Is it some ancient memory of fear? I don’t know, but they sure are popular.
The first week of August is Shark Week and Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga is celebrating the Discovery Channel event by offering shark touch encounters, special dive shows and feature presentations by underwater filmmaker Richard Theiss.
Theiss spent the better part of three years filming great white sharks off the coast of Baja, Mexico. His film, Island of the Great White Shark, documents the ongoing scientific research intended to secure their survival. “These are absolutely magnificent creatures living on a razorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s edge of possible extinction,” says Theiss. “And there are some very dedicated people working tirelessly to prevent that.”
I have to admit, the shark exhibit I saw at the Monterey Bay Aquarium donkey years ago remains one of the most memorable exhibits I’ve seen. There was this really cool display that demonstrated a shark’s hearing ability. That’s when I realized that I truly can hear sounds that are in the higher range than the average person. But, I promise you, I’m no shark!
Did you know that great white sharks can go three months without eating? And that sharks become immobile when upside down? Not that I’d want to bump into a shark that hadn’t eaten for three months and try to turn it belly up. Yikes.
Here are a list of some genre films that feature sharks (listed in chronological, then alphabetical, order):
- She Gods of Shark Reef (1958) – In the South Pacific, shipwrecked sailors save pearl diving damsels from the evil shark worshiping priestess.
- SHARK! (1969) – Also called MANEATER. A tough gun runner down on his luck in deepest Sudan finds work diving for treasure.
- Jaws (1975) – Big, bad shark runs amok ruining beach season off the East Coast of the U.S. Favorite quote: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
- Jaws of Death (1976) – Thanks to a talisman, Sonny Stein can communicate with sharks. So he kills the occupants of shark fishing boats and feeds the remains to his shark friends.
- Tintorera (1977) – A rogue Tiger shark, with a taste for cute hippies, kills a wealthy yacht owner’s friend. So he becomes the second coming of Ahab and goes after the shark.
- Jaws 2 (1978) – Basically a remake of the original film, billed as a sequel. Some suggestion of communication between the two sharks of the two movies.
- Jaws 3D (1983) – Mama shark manages to sneak into a marine park and wreak havoc.
- Jaws: The Revenge (1987) – The shark takes revenge on the Brody family.
- Night of the Sharks (1988) – Also known as La notte degli squali. A Tiger shark terrorizes a Mexican neighborhood.
- Deep Blue Sea (1999) – Genetically modified Mako/White sharks terrorize the high seas, out of the control of the secret underwater facility that produced them. Great scene where Samuel L. Jackson’s character gets an unexpected surprise!
- Shark Attack (1999) – A marine biologist arrives in South Africa to investigate a rash of shark attacks and finds a conspiracy involving the local hospital.
- Blood Surf (2000) – A film crew travels to a remote shark infested island to shoot a documentary about surfers who churn the water and then cut themselves to purposely get chased by sharks. It all becomes a nightmare when a giant saltwater crocodile joins the pursuit.
- Shark Attack 2 (2001) – Shark babies from the first film growl and eat people.
- Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002) – After a spate of shark attacks close to a Mexican tourist resort, a paleontologist posing as a marine biologist shows up to study what she believes to be a juvenile Megalodon.
- Dark Waters (2003) – Genetically modified sharks terrorize a deep sea operation.
- Finding Nemo (2003) – My name is George and it has been 15 days since I last ate a fish.
- Red Water (2003) – In a sleepy Mississippi backwater a Bull shark is randomly picking off bathers and swimmers. Meanwhile an oil rig angers the local shark god, endangering some drug runners.
- Shark Zone (2003) – A group of scuba divers are looking for diamonds in the wreckage of an old galleon are attacked by a school of white sharks.
- Megalodon (2004) – Trapped in a sealed arctic cavern for the last 60 million years, a newly freed megalodon wreaks havoc with an oil rig.
- Open Water (2004) – Based on the true story of a couple who were accidentally left behind on a dive trip to the great barrier reef.
- Shark Hunter (2004) – A megalodon implodes a deep ocean research facility and must be caught.
- Shark Tale (2004) – Animated film that asks the question: What happens when a shark doesn’t want to be a shark?
- Twelve Days of Terror (2004) – Loosely based on the shark attacks that shook the small community of Matawan during the summer of 1916.
- Blue Demon (2005) – A new weapon against terrorists: genetically modified sharks with computer chips implanted in their brains.
- Hammerhead (2005) – A mad scientist delays his son’s death from cancer by combining his DNA with that of a Great Hammerhead Shark.
- Raging Sharks (2005) – In the Bermuda Triangle, sharks eat crystals from an alien cold fusion generator then go crazy and start terrorizing an undersea research lab.
- Spring Break Shark Attack (2005) – Sharks eat young coeds at a Florida beach resort.
- Shark Swarm (2007) – An evil real estate developer intentionally pollutes Full Moon Bay with toxic waste to kill off the fishing, inadvertently contaminating the local shark population causing them to develop pack behavior and go on a killing spree.
- Sharks in Venice (2007) – Need I say more? O.K. Sharks terrorize the Italian city of Venice.
Thanks to Elasmodiver.com for doing much of the research for this list. You can find a list of shark documentaries there, too.