The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cruel Jaws aka Fauci Crudeli (1995)

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I think we sometimes forget that The Asylum didn't invent the rip-off (or for those late to the party, SyFy). The rip-off has been a part of the movie industry for as long as there's been a movie industry. And in the 80s and 90s, Italian director Bruno Mattei made it into an art form. With this one, he even had the audacity to label it Jaws V, as if it were a sequel as opposed to a rip-off-- not that the other sequels weren't rip-offs of the original in some way too.

Cruel Jaws takes place in a small town near Miami, where a marine biologist comes to visit some old friends, and is pressed into duty when people are found eaten by a shark. A rich landowner in the town doesn't want panic to set in and threaten his windsurfing race or the area's tourism, so he filibusters the sheriff and the marine biologist's attempts to close the beaches. As the sheriff so eloquently points out, "it's like an all you can eat buffet for the shark!"

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This is riff-tastic. One of the ultimate bad movie night flicks. In fact, you could pair it with Shark Attack III, and it would be perfect. It's everything you'd want in a Bruno Mattei rip-off film: bad dubbing, bad dialog, bad acting, music ripped from Superman or Star Wars, scenes ripped from anything that already had sharks, bad edits, stuff that comes out of nowhere-- in short, 90 minutes of pure awesome. This is what you wanted baby. I could go into all the amazing moments, but as I usually do, I'll leave that to the comments section, so I don't give too much away. (Even though when I do that, I often get the "oh my God, how could you have not mentioned this!" Well, now you know why.)

This is the fourth Bruno Mattei film we've done, the other three being Robowar, Strike Commando, and Strike Commando 2. For those three, he went under the name Vincent Dawn. For Cruel Jaws he went with William Snyder. I wonder where he gets these names from? Vincent Dawn is almost porn star or action lead, while William Snyder, in it's full form is like a baseball player, but using "Bill" instead sounds like an accountant or local contractor. "Hey, did you talk to Bill Snyder and get that estimate?" In some ways, it's a window into how Italians view us Americans by the fake names they choose to make themselves sound more like us. "Ah, you'ah know, ah-Willeeum Snyderr. Dat sounds-ah verrry Americano, no?"

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The thing I love about the shark movie is, as good or as bad as it's done, it's always a fun time. I think that's because sharks make such great baddies. As the movie states, they're like genetically engineered killing machines. All they do is swim, eat, and make babies. You can't bargain with an enemy like that, it doesn't care if you're young or old, if you're in the water, you're fair game. Plus, they're real, and people really have been attacked by them. One of the interesting things about this is, as much as it has that "throw everything in and see what happens" quality, Mattei does a great job of building suspense, especially in the early going. It's the shark attack itself, of course, that leaves something to be desired and is so funny.

Our hero's girlfriend is not a nice person. She's upset that he has to help deal with a killer shark menacing the local coast, which is understandable, it is their vacation after all. What she does in response is a bit much though. She cheats on him with the main heel. Really? I wonder if Mattei is telling us anything about what he thinks of that, or if maybe he had a woman in his life cheat on him, and what he wanted done to her. You'll have to watch the movie to see for yourself.

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Finally, loved this guy who looked like a guy dressing up as Hulk Hogan for a kid's party. The Fu Manchu is the best part. I had a buddy tell me once that he thought I should grow out the Fu Manchu, James Hetfield style. My thinking was, I couldn't really pull it off, and the only scenario it would work would be if I were called to be on Maury. You could see me in the greenroom with all these punk kids with their whisper thin fuzz on their upper lip, then I show up with the Hetfield Fu Manchu, all like Larry Bird in the Three-Point Contest: "Okay, which of you boys is coming in second?" Otherwise, the Fu Manchu wouldn't work for me, not like it did for that guy up there.

I guess used VHS is the way to go, or maybe DVD, especially if you're a Region 2, because I know there you can get it both in English and Italian with English subs. You could also do the Japanese VHS, which works here in America, and like their cars, the Japanese VHS is much sturdier that ours. However you get it, just get it and make this happen. You won't be disappointed.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112747/

17 comments:

  1. Great write-up! This looks hilariously fun. Love the screen grabs you posted.

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  2. Yeah, I think you'll enjoy it, especially as a bad Italian rip-off by the master, Bruno Mattei. The screen grabs only tell half the story, when you see this stuff in motion it's even funnier.

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  3. I'm so happy you reviewed this movie. I haven't seen it yet but I'm such a fan of Bruno Mattei's ripoffs. They're just so awesome.

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  4. Mattei Mattei Mattei madness! One of his I've not seen yet but really am dying to. The man can do no wrong!

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  5. Yes, you two definitely need to check this out, it's vintage Mattei.

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  6. Just watched the trailer on youtube - that bit where the girl in the wheelchair falls in the sea is amazing.

    Only just recently started getting into Italian exploitation stuff - Bronx Warriors, Atomic Cyborg, New Barbarians. This looks like a classic.

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  7. Shark movies teach us so much. According to Jaws 3 and 4, at least some sharks are like Jason. They are sometimes in 3D and can be blown up and electrocuted and they still come back and want revenge. Unlike Jason, however, sharks wanting revenge at least have the decency to blow up for no reason if they prevent Michael Caine from accepting his Oscar. Then there are those moments you're working on an exciting project and are really tired, but still wired. Never knew what to do on those occasions until Shark Attack 3 provided the answer with "the famous line". I've only seen Robowar, Strike Commando and Shocking Dark from Mattei, but based on those three, your writing, and those screenshots, this one is a must-see!

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  8. I've only recently been getting into Italian exploitation too. I really enjoyed Bronx Warriors, but still need to see the others you mentioned.

    Sharks actually make a great Jason, because they're silent killers and you can't negotiate with them. Also, you don't even need to make them come back from the dead, you can just say it's a baby or something. Shocking Dark I haven't seen, is that one good?

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  9. Shocking Dark aka Terminator 2 (yes, really) is terrible, but of course that still means it's awesome.

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  10. Oh man, that's Shocking Dark? Boy, do I have egg on my face. I haven't seen Terminator 2 yet, but I've really been meaning to.

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  11. Wow! An Italian impression, Hulk Hogan, Fu Manchu, James Hetfield, Maury, and Larry Bird? Good times!

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  12. Hahaha, yes, I was on a roll there. This movie combined with an extra cup of coffee equals pure inspiration.

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  13. Its always so sad when you kinda tell the movie may be cheesy from the pictures. LOL. This looks and seems like a movie I'd watch. I don't know what it is about that cheese!

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  14. I'm telling you, gather up the people you know who love bad movies and show them this, it's a blast. What you love about these is that they are so bad, and this one delivers.

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  15. reminds me of devil fish. i just love shark movies.

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  16. and funny you mentioned his aliases. the movie title itself could have been a porn/horror movie.

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  17. I need to do Devil Fish at some point. And the idea of a porn/horror movie called Cruel Jaws makes me cringe at how that would work... ouch!

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