Chimeran monstrosities are destined to come into their own, as producers try to find a new way of extending the “giant monster” B-flick industry past mere Megasharks and Giant Octopi. Not that it’s a new phenomenon, of course. Japanese daikaiju eiga have been doing it for decades. But the great Roger Corman’s next production task for the SyFy Channel is a hard one: to convince its Mega-Beastie audience that a cross between a shark and an octopus is a viable alternative to his previous Dinocroc (US-2004; dir. Kevin O’Neill) and Supergator (US-2007; dir. Brian Clyde) — not to mention the non-Corman joining of those titles in Dinocroc vs Supergator (US-2010; dir. Rob Robertson).
Yes, that’s right. Sharktopus has been greenlit! Images like the ones above (top, by artist Matt Leach, the model version, middle, artist unknown; and the terrific sculpture, last image above, by Tony Colella) have been appearing around the internet in response to the news, while Corman himself wrestles with profound questions such as “How many tentacles should it have?”, “How many mouths?” and “What would it taste like cooked in a nice coriander dressing?” He has commented:
Sharktopus! is more difficult [than such creatures as Dinocroc] because you can imagine a prehistorical crocodile like the Dinocroc, but there’s no such thing as prehistoric half-shark, half-octopus. (Hollywood Reporter)
In response to these questions of geneological credibility, he came up with the idea that the Sharktopus is a genetically engineered concoction of US naval scientists designed to help deal with Somali pirates. Of course, it all goes pear-shaped pretty quickly. What were they thinking — those crazy scientists?
Really, the idea isn’t any less plausible than most giant monster scenarios, and Corman at least assures us that, given the premise, the rest will be carefully extrapolated to maintain an air of plausibility:
It’s fairly difficult to believe, but we only ask the audience to accept this one thing. After that, we take great care that everything else is logical from then on and is something that could happen.
Meanwhile, the Corman-produced Dinoshark (US-2010; dir. Kevin O’Neill) is about to air on the SyFy Channel (in March). This is one of the more readily acceptable ones, of course, because there were actually prehistoric monster sharks living in the Miocene oceans. Here’s what Corman’s looks like:
Click on his tonsils to see all the details
Corman explains the scenario:
Global warming causes the glaciers to break apart. We start the picture with real beautiful shots of the glaciers falling into the ocean. The unborn egg of the Dinoshark that has been frozen for millions of years is released.
Rather similar to the beginning of the Asylum’s Megashark vs Giant Octopus (except for the egg bit), but that hardly matters, as it wasn’t original to that film either. The same thing happened to Godzilla in King Kong vs Godzilla after all. It’s good to see that Corman is sticking to tradition. Clearly he hasn’t lost his touch!
- Source: Hollywood Reporter on Dinoshark; Hollywood reporter on Sharktopus.
- You can check out the first teaser and a clip of Dinoshark in action here.
As correspondent Jayson M. reminded me, there is an exploitation film from the 1980s that features a cross between a shark and an octopus — an Italian/French production directed by Lamberto Bava, son of the great Mario Bava. The film is Shark: Rosso nell’oceano [aka Devouring Waves; Monster Shark; Devil Fish] (It/France-1984; dir. Lamberto Bava). Here is the IMDb summary:
Several boats are torn apart, badly wrecked corpses are washed ashore… something horrible is out in the Caribbean sea. The teeth marks on the bodies don’t lead to any known animal, so scientist Dr. Stella Dickens suspects it’s a so far unknown life form and strives to catch it alive. She doesn’t know yet that ruthless scientists have genetically created this creature as a bioweapon, or that it has been designed to reproduce by asexual means. And that the company she works for created the creature and will stop at nothing to keep their secret.
Hmmmm. Is Sharktopus a remake then?
Check out the French poster below:
It featured as Number 11 in Kaiju Search-Robot Avery’s Top 20 Craziest Kaiju feature.