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RUE MORGUE #9: Shark Movie Mania

Launched in 1997 by Rodrigo Gudiño, RUE MORGUE is the world’s leading horror in culture and entertainment brand, spearheaded by its multiple award-winning magazine, RUE MORGUE and RUE MORGUE DIGITAL; RUE MORGUE TV specialty horror channel; RUE MORGUE LIBRARY book series; RUE MORGUE PRESENTS FRIGHTMARE IN THE FALLS horror expo and RUE MORGUE PRESENTS CINEMACABRE MOVIE NIGHTS monthly film series.

MARRS Media Inc.
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min

WHEN I WAS A PRETEEN, I WOULD HAVE DEVOURED A BOOK LIKE THIS. BUT IT COULDN’T HAVE EXISTED BACK THEN, since I’m a child of the Jaws era, and almost none of the movies covered within these pages had been made yet. I was, nonetheless, rabidly into sharks, fascinated by these primordial killers of the deep – so of course, I wanted to see Jaws very badly. Standing in the way was that pesky “May be too intense for younger children” warning in the ads, and my father went to see it on his own to scope out its suitability. He came back saying it probably wouldn’t damage my fragile eight-year-old psyche too much, though I didn’t wind up seeing the film until a few years later, on one of…

7 min
fear of the water: richard d. zanuck on jaws

WHEN JAWS SPLASHED ITS WAY ACROSS MOVIE SCREENS IN THE SUMMER OF 1975, moviegoers had no idea of the roller-coaster thrill ride they were about to embark upon, or that they were witnessing the birth of a new breed of cinema: the Hollywood summer blockbuster. It took a tremendous bite out of the box office and made its director, 27-year-old wunderkind Steven Spielberg, into a household name. And it all started when producers Richard D. Zanuck (former president of 20th Century Fox and executive vice president at Warner Bros.) and David Brown purchased the film rights to Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel for a reported $150,000. $150,000. As book sales were rising, Zanuck and Brown initially hired commercial-turned-feature-director Dick Richards (Death Valley) to take the helm of Jaws, only to replace him…

2 min
jaws: memories from martha’s vineyard

JAWS IS THE MOTHER OF ALL MODERN MONSTER MOVIES, AND ITS GENIUS IS EVEN MORE APPARENT WHEN VIEWED TODAY. For this reason, Jaws: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard, Matt Taylor’s mammoth 296-page coffee-table book about the film’s production on the Massachusetts island, is an appropriate companion piece. First issued in 2011 in paperback and as a limited-edition hardcover from Moonrise Media (with a DVD containing 8mm home movies of the shoot and a small piece of the “sinking Orca” boat used in the film), the book is currently available in softcover from Titan Books. While much ink has been spilled regarding Jaws’ creation, Memories From Martha’s Vineyard is told from the perspective of the many island residents who helped make the film and served as actors (such as Lee Fierro, who plays…

9 min
the whole tooth: the creation of the shark is still working

JAWS ISN’T JUST ONE OF THE BIGGEST HORROR MOVIES OF ALL TIME, IT’S ONE OF THE BIGGEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME, PERIOD. Couple that with its legendarily bumpy creation, and it’s not surprising that few films have been dissected as much as Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster. Laurent Bouzereau’s 1995 documentary The Making of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, included on various LaserDisc and DVD releases, and the 1997 BBC production In the Teeth of Jaws covered much of the film’s troubled production history. (The refrain “the shark is not working” could be heard constantly by cast and crew, in reference to the various faulty mechanical great whites.) Jaws co-scripter Carl Gottlieb wrote the definitive making-of book The Jaws Log, and On Location…on Martha’s Vineyard: The Making of the Movie Jaws by Edith Blake…

2 min
shark survey: the jaws sequels

AFTER JAWS BECAME THE BIGGEST BOXOFFICE HIT OF ALL TIME, THE DECISION TO DO A SEQUEL WAS A NO-BRAINER, but getting Jaws 2 to the screen wasn’t easy. The first director on board, John Hancock (Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, Bang the Drum Slowly), was let go for taking too bleak an approach to the story, and just as on the first film, screenwriter Carl Gottlieb was called in to overhaul the script. Star Roy Scheider, who only did the film to fulfill a contractual obligation to Universal, clashed with replacement director Jeannot Szwarc, and shooting on the water proved no easier than it had the first time around. Still, Jaws 2 emerged as a creditable follow-up to its classic predecessor. Although the human drama isn’t as compelling, Szwarc finds new…

7 min
the great shark hunt

STEVEN SPIELBERG’S MASTERPIECE JAWS WAS NOT ONLY A MONSTER SUCCESS AT THE BOX OFFICE IN 1975, it was an enormous hit for retailers as well. Hundreds of products (both licensed and unlicensed) were marketed in the wake of the film’s opening: T-shirts, model kits, a game, jigsaw puzzles, posters, beach towels, rubber sharks, a soundtrack album of John Williams’ score, neckties, jewellery, socks, drinking cups, water pistols, tie-in books, iron-on patches and even a children’s Halloween costume. Many of these items were adorned with the iconic paperback/poster artwork (painted by prolific artist Roger Kastel) of a gigantic shark rising from the deep to prey on a female swimmer. Though there had certainly been items produced for TV shows and movies before (The Munsters, The Addams Family, Batman, Dark Shadows, Star Trek,…