Want another mutant shark movie? A good one? Or would you prefer a ghost movie? Can’t decide? Well, we’re here to help. Check out this really cool trailer.
Yes, it’s Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws (NZ-[in development]; dir. Andrew Todd and Johnny Hall), one of the more bizarre, yet very cool, concepts I’ve come across lately.
The story goes like this:
When Ghost Shark escapes from his extradimensional prison to terrorize Auckland, Mayor Broody calls in an expert ghost shark hunter to protect the citizens and finally defeat the creature.
This first release from Mad Fox Films was shot on location in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand, by award-winning directors Andrew Todd and Johnny Hall. Kaiju Search-Robot Avery has hunted them down and, using one of Batman’s anti-shark sprays as an incentive, made them answer some questions.
An Interview with Andrew Todd and Johnny Hall
Avery Guerra: Tell us about yourself, guys.
Andrew Todd: I’m a New Zealander, though I lived in Texas for my childhood (which means everyone in NZ thinks I’m an American). My parents raised me on films like Dirty Harry, Rocky Horror, A Clockwork Orange and Dawn of the Dead, so it wasn’t long before I started getting into things like NZ’s legendary Incredibly Strange Film Festival and the more bizarre cinema of the world. I’ve got a BFA in Film and I work as a general freelance media dude, making sweet-ass movies when I can.
Johnny Hall: I was born in New Zealand. When I was 7, I caught the last 20 minutes of Jaws; it scared the hell out of me. It was then that I developed a fascination with sharks and a deep fear of anything wet. Even now I can’t swim in a swimming pool without thinking about being mauled by a great white; especially in diving pools — they’re so goddamn deep and murky. This of course led to my lifelong obsession with shark films.
AG: How about influences?
AT: We’re both rabid lovers of pretty much all cinema, from high art to the trashiest of exploitation. But what inspired us for this was, I think, those movies that come along sometimes (too rarely, really) that totally deliver what they promise, scene after scene. The Indonesian actioner The Stabilizer [1986, directed by Arizal] stands out to me as a movie that never lets its foot off the gas — and that’s the kind of movie we want to make. Quotable, entertaining, and full of memorable scenes. So we’re setting a high bar for ourselves!
JH: Sometimes it’s important for a film to grab you by the balls and punch you in the face repeatedly.
AG: So what exactly is “Mad Fox Films” and what/who does it consists of?
AT: It’s a two-man filmmaking team of Awesome. Johnny and I have worked together on a few films before — the team we were in came second nationally in New Zealand’s V48HOURS Furious Filmmaking competition last year with a prison musical New Fish, and we’ve worked on each others’ films from time to time. I guess we just decided one day that, you know what, we work goddamn well together, so let’s make some movies. If we have a company motto, it’s that “If it ain’t awesome, it’s cut”.
JH: I’m a big fan of just grabbing a camera and doing something — doing anything. Mad Fox Films is a concept that embraces that.
AG: Where did the idea of “Ghost Shark” come from?
AT: The idea initially came to us on a road trip to see Antichrist in a film festival. We passed through this smallish town, Oamaru, which has a lot of old turn-of-the-century buildings, and is right on the coast. We thought it’d be a great place to do a ghost movie, then we saw some locations that were right out of Jaws, and we kinda just looked at each other and went “Ghost Shark! Awesome!”. The rest of that trip was spent coming up with the main characters, but it wasn’t until this year that we found ourselves in Auckland for a couple days and we just said “Y’ know, screw it — let’s shoot a Ghost Shark trailer, but do the sequel, set in the big city.”
JH: I remember the endless glee that the concept came with; just the idea was enough to turn me into a giggling school girl. I’d question any project that didn’t at some stage leave me feeling like that.
AG: There seem to be a lot of killer monster shark films these days, with each one offering a new twist on the old genre staple ever since The Asylum did Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus. What’s your take on the resurgence of mutant monster shark films?
AT: The most obvious difference is that it’s a ghost shark. ‘Nuff said. But the one thing that most of the recent mutant shark movies have had in common is that they’ve all been pretty arse — it’s always been title first, story and characters a distant second, audience enjoyment bringing up the rear. Is it too much to expect the same degree of story and characterisation from a monster shark movie that you do from any other movie? I don’t think so. Our goal isn’t to make a cheap buck off a ludicrous concept — it’s to use that concept to get people watching, then deliver not only on the concept but on the storytelling as well.
JH: Sharksploitation is nothing new. People have just become more aware of it.
AG: We’re seeing a lot of these short films and faux trailers being made into feature films now. Can we expect the same here? If so, when might we see the feature?
AT: Definitely a feature film. The response to the trailer has been great, and again, we’ve just kinda gone “Screw it, we’ll blunder our way through this as a feature.” We’re writing the story now — it’s going to some interesting and unexpected places I don’t think any other monster-shark movie has gone to. It’ll have to be done on a shoestring, but we’re pretty creative at doing things cheaply and effectively. All going well we’ll be shooting by the end of the year, with an aim to push the movie into festivals (yeah, that’s right — festivals) next year.
JH: I think I just wet myself.
AG: Is this a good method of obtaining funding for your feature film ideas, by making a short or faux film trailer?
AT: Ha! I don’t doubt for a second that this trailer will raise us a total of $0.00. Maybe we’ll get some people to work for free, but no, if we get any funding it’ll be through perseverance and asking around everywhere. We’ll make the movie for whatever budget we have — we just love the concept, love the cast and love making movies.
JH: I think that’s the idea: surrounding yourself by people that care about the project. I mean we’re not doing this for the money; we’re doing it for ourselves.
AG: Why make it as a sequel?
AT: At first, it was just a gag, and certainly there have been a lot of bemused people wondering what happened to the first installment. But in a way, doing a sequel liberates you a lot. The story we’ve written for the first installment will basically end up as the back story to this film, which enables us to populate the movie with characters who have pre-existing history and relationships. Plus we don’t need to do any of that messy “origin story” crap.
JH: Leonard Part 6 – just saying.
AG: So apart from the feature version of Ghost Shark 2, what does the future hold for Mad Fox Films and Ghost Shark?
AT: We’ve got several film concepts we’re mulling over, including a couple more trailer ideas, but currently we’re just focusing on getting Ghost Shark underway. What’s going to be really potentially heartrending is that Johnny is moving to the States early next year. What will we do then? Who knows …?
JH: I’ll probably be working in a 7-Eleven.
AG: [Pointing straight out the screen]: Say something to the fans!
AT: Thank you! We’re super-stoked with how the trailer’s been received and the fact that so many of you seem to get what we’re doing. It’s the online version of applause in a cinema.
JH: Thanks, fans. You’re the sweet filling of an already delicious cake.
Cooley and Hall
- Johnny Hall, Campbell Cooley, Steve Austin, Roberto Nascimento, Anoushka Klaus, David Farrier, Alistair Tye-Samson, Dave Searle, Doug Dillaman, Andrew Todd, Abby Walker
- Screenplay By:
- Johnny Hall & Andrew Todd
- Directed By:
- Johnny Hall & Andrew Todd
- Produced By:
- Johnny Hall, Andrew Todd & Alastair Tye-Samson
- Plot Outline:
- He’s back … and hungrier than ever.
- Facebook Page:
- Interview by Avery Guerra
- Write-up by Robert Hood
- Pictures courtesy of Todd and Hall
- Shark protection by Batman*
* if you don’t know what the Batman references are all about, see this video clip: