On my honor, I will do my best…to be as illogically terrified of sharks as I can be. Okay, so that’s not how that oath goes, but it’s pertinent (Ooo! Big word…kinda.) to the story at hand.
I have a completely illogical and unfounded fear of sharks. I’m from the middle of the country. The closest I’ve ever come to a shark is an aquarium. How does a kid from the middle of the country develop such a ridiculous fear? Same way you did (DON’T YOU LIE TO ME!), JAWS.
I, like everyone else, love the movie. It’s a damn masterpiece that is as enjoyable and terrifying today as it was 30 years ago. In what seems to be a recurring theme in my articles, I saw this film at a way age inappropriate age (thanks, ma!) and to say is scarred me for life is an understatement.
I’ve never been much of a swimmer. I have the same fear of water that Chief Brody had and the last thing I need to worry about is a guppy with an overbite trying to make me his latest (very high in saturated fat) meal. I understand that being from a landlocked state, my odds of meeting ol’ Bruce were pretty low…and then I read where bull sharks can live in fresh water and nearly pissed myself.
Like most young boys, I had a brush with Scouting and the time came to get the (supposedly) fun merit badge of waterskiing. I strapped on every floatation device I could find…yes, even a duckie…and reluctantly stepped onto a boat to go on the lake. I graciously let everyone else go before me and slowly started working up the courage to give it a try. I watched as everyone got back on the boat, proud that they had earned their badge…and then they all looked at me. It was my turn.
I stepped over to the ladder and looked down. The first thing I noticed was the water looks exactly like the waters off Amity Island. I forced myself to take a step. Then another. And another. Finally I felt the cool water hit my left foot and I…freaked the hell out. Why? Because the first thing I thought of was when Brody was chumming the waters and Bruce appeared. Bigger boat my ass, I was done. I jumped back on the boat and announced I was done.
What does this have to do with horror? Everything. What does it say about a movie that, over 30 years prior, scared everyone to the shores and still has that power today? Every filmmaker should long to make a film that truly stands the test of time. One that can not only grip your imagination, but put it in a headlock and never let go. JAWS does that for me and, I suspect, quite a few people. We live in a world where sequels are king and while that may not be a bad thing; how many of those sequels stand the test of time? Hell…how many originals stand up to that same test?