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Posts Tagged ‘Roger Corman’

31 Monstrous Failures #11: Sharktopus

October 11th, 2011 No comments

For years, the Sci-Fi Channel (hack, SyFy, hack) has offered up a weekly dose of “original” movies on Saturday nights. While some have been cheapo sequels to existing franchises (Species, Highlander) others have slavishly followed a formula. Pick a monster from mythology (Minotaur, Harpies), prehistory (Pterodactyl, Mammoth) or underwater (Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus). Hire a slumming celebrity (Eric Roberts, Deborah Gibson) for a bit of name recognition. Film in some cheap overseas locale. Don’t worry about the script; all anyone cares about is a highly promotable concept.

Some of the most popular have been those featuring aquatic monsters. After exhausting the list of oversized water beasts (Mega Piranha), producers began turning to hybrids (Dinocroc). From there, it was a short trip to…


The problem that I have with the Sci-Fi Originals isn’t that they’re not good. I expect that. It’s that they’re not even that fun. Movies like Sharktopus don’t make any more than a minimal effort. The only wit on display is in the name.

I’ve heard it said that these are the successors to the lurid B-movie thrills of days gone by—the sort of thing that producer Roger Corman foisted on audiences—but, to my mind, there was a difference. Corman was actually a pretty good director. He hired quirky talent (Jack Nicholson, John Sayles) looking to make a mark. These were cheap films shot in a few days for the purpose of putting butts in the seats, yet you don’t make a movie as downright odd as the original Little Shop of Horrors if you’re not trying.

The makers of the Sci-Fi Originals may be trying to emulate Corman—and it’s necessary to point out that Corman’s own production company gave us Sharktopus—but it’d be nice if they gave both their monsters and their audiences something to chew on.