Movies - TV
Quiz: The Best Jaws Knock-Offs
The very second Steven Spielberg's “Jaws” started breaking box office records for Universal Studios during the summer of 1975, hit-hungry rival studios and opportunistic producers scrambled into action. The golden age of “Jaws” rip-offs stretched into the early 1980s, and it’s time to find out how much you know about these ridiculous-but-often-memorable films.
Instead of having people die in the water, the B-movie “Blood Beach” sees people disappearing right on Venice Beach, but it ends up wasting its talented cast. Even Burt Young, who plays a slovenly, cigar chomping detective, can’t save this trainwreck of a movie and its embarrassing-looking worm monster.
The picturesque locale of Oceanside, California was evidently sufficient to lure Henry Fonda, John Huston, and Shelley Winters out of L.A. for a beachfront getaway, but “Tentacles” grinds to a halt pretty quickly. Huston is at least lively, but the mutant killer octopus gets entangled in a plot that just isn’t all that interesting.
“Grizzly” was the first “Jaws” copycat to hit U.S. theaters (on May 16, 1976), and it was rewarded for its haste by becoming the one of the highest-grossing independent films in history at the time. The plot is a shameless rip-off of “Jaws,” just with a prehistorical bear eating campers, but it is never anything less than watchable.
“Great White” could have flown under the radar, but Universal successfully got it pulled from theaters, making it the Holy Grail of “Jaws” knock-offs. While it's hardly a lost classic, it's good, junky fun, peaking with a scene where the corrupt mayor tries to “drown” the shark by baiting it with a steak dangling from a helicopter.
Producer Dino De Laurentiis tried to make “Orca” the definitive “Jaws” imitator by bringing on lead actor Richard Harris and director Michael Anderson, but only Morricone pulled his weight. The film, about a pitiless whaler being hunted by a vengeful killer whale, has a third act that has to be seen to be believed.