Shark Exorcist, or: The Power of Chum Compels You!

I imagine the meeting went something like this:

“Quick!  Name two of the best horror films ever made!”

“Well, there’s Jaws and, um, The Exorcist?

“Awesome!  So what if a shark got possessed?”

“Yeah!”

“And it should have boobs.”

“But what if kids want to watch?”

“Boobs in bikinis!”

“Hell yeah!”

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Shark Exorcist is a 2015 film directed by Donald Farmer who gave us An Erotic Vampire in Paris and Hooker With a Hacksaw.  Starring no one you’ve ever heard of, Shark Exorcist brings together a Z-list cast and potato-quality special effects.

She watched this movie.

This movie immediately forgets that being terrible is only one part of what makes B-movies great. Shark Exorcist isn’t funny.  Sharknado was funny.  Sharktopus was hilarious.  Even Jersey Shore Shark Attack made me snarf.  I want to give Shark Exorcist a fair shake so I’ll admit those B-grade shark movies had a budget and a few named actors.  Fine, I even enjoyed the approximately $12 production of Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You.  Also, some of the characters from the above movies were likeable and the stories are fun.  Remember all you wannabe movie makers out there: story and character are key even if your movie is B.

It all starts out with a (possessed?) nun who has already killed 13 kids then randomly kills another woman before tossing her in a lake called Paris Landing and asking “Lord Satan” to “send [her] an avenger!” At which point we cut to this:

How did the great white get in the lake?  Probably Satan.

Meanwhile, a group of girls goes to the lake, where one is attacked and then possessed by the possessed shark. I will admit some confusion because if the shark is still possessed and the girl is now possessed then who or what is possessing both of them?  Can Satan pull double-duty?  Is possession now transferred via shark saliva?  Also, how do we know the girl, Ali, is possessed?

This is how.

After Ali lures a boy to Paris Landing where he is consumed by the shark (in what is not one of the great shark attack scenes), we get to meet Father Michael, a priest who wears in ill-fitting Roman collar and crosses himself a lot so we know he’s definitely a priest.

I don’t know who these people are but they show up next:

I’m assuming witches.

There are various scenes of shark possession (out of the water) before this girl shows up for some reason and goes swimming with Ali.  Except she’s a dream!  I think.

I know, she’s the special effects team!

Fr. Mike somehow figures out Satan has come to Paris Landing and begins an investigation, concluding that Ali is possessed because she’s not eating and loves water.  I’m also guessing here because Fr. Mike doesn’t mention possession, demons, or Satan.

After a dialogue-free, action-free scene that stretches on for an excruciating five minutes, it’s time for Father Michael and Ali’s roommate to exorcise the demon!  Here the movie remembers that it’s supposed to be spoofing Jaws and The Exorcist so we have the pea soup barf, and, I wish I was kidding; “We’re gonna need a bigger cross.”

The King James version specifically mentions tiki torches as a must-have item for driving out Satan.

More stuff happens, including the demon shark descending from the sky. I’d normally be more specific than “stuff happens” but we’re never actually shown or even told what happens so stuff happens.

Finally, blessedly, with a few more deaths and a “Hail Satan!” for good measure, the movie draws to a close.  The demon shark is still out there eating people.  There’s still a few possessed people, and goddamnit no one performed an exorcism on a shark! I wanted to see an exorcism on a shark.

This movie totals two post-credit scenes, one of which is long and both of which are dialogue-free.  In the first, a girl does stuff with a plastic shark that makes everyone uncomfortable before spitting juice at the camera.  The second?  Well, I’d hate to spoil the ending and potential sequel for you all.

Farewell, flying demon-shark. You deserved a better movie.

Grabbers, or: Irish Tentacle Monsters from Spaaaaaaace

I don’t expect a lot from movies about tentacle monsters, other than there should be plenty of tentacles and that those tentacles should rend many bodies asunder. Grabbers has no shortage of tentacles and plenty of rending, but the big surprise is that it’s an excellent movie. Yes, an excellent movie about tentacle creatures from outer space who terrorize a small Irish island. Bear with me for a minute here.

Grabbers is a film refreshingly free of stereoty….
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…never mind.

Okay, so Grabbers embraces the hard-drinking Irishman thing with all the fervor of a hungry tentacle beast. But it works. The film opens with that familiar shot (think Predator and The Thing) of something entering earth’s atmosphere. After splashdown and after offing the crew of the one fishing boat unlucky enough to be in the vicinity, the tentacle monsters head to the pastoral Erin Island.
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Pretty, innit?

And here the movie takes a breath to do something that not a lot of tentacle monster movies do. It establishes both characters and plot. With subplots, even! It’s a short breath, of course, we’re here for tentacle monsters, not Masterpiece Theatre. But we have enough time to meet the not-so-functional alcoholic Garda Ciarán O’Shea and the straight-laced Garda Lisa Nolan, the latter having been hired while the boss is away to keep the former in line. Garda, by the way, is the Irish word for police.

But something strange is afoot. Pilot whales with weird, tentacle-like marks suddenly beach themselves. A lobsterman named Paddy finds something that is decidedly not a lobster in his trap (and learns a valuable lesson about keeping tentacle monsters in your bathtub). And several people meet their doom courtesy of a much larger tentacle critter than Paddy’s new pet.

It isn’t long before Gardas O’Shea and Nolan, with the help of Paddy and a local marine biologist, figure out that the rolling hills of Erin Island are swarming with tentacle monsters. But these tentacle monsters didn’t check their guidebooks before heading to the Emerald Isle because they’re deathly allergic to alcohol. I won’t give away much more for fear of spoiling an enjoyable movie, but suffice it to say watching everyone cope with a tentacled menace while thoroughly shitfaced is both original and hilarious.

What Grabbers does right is character. It’s not often that I sit through a tentacle monster movie, or any monster movie, and wind up rooting for the humans. But I found myself hoping that a few of these people didn’t get decapitated, exsanguinated, or meet some other tentacled fate (especially Paddy who steals more than one scene). The solid characters raise what might have been a meh movie to a much higher tier. Above all, Grabbers is fun. It’s pizza and beer on a Friday night kind of movie.

Unfortunately, Grabbers is still hard to come by in the US unless you happen to have a region-free DVD player, but I strongly encourage you to track down a copy. Do it for Paddy.