Normally I wouldn’t do a single movie review to cover two films. However, the SyFy original movies SHARKTOPUS and DINOSHARK fit together so well I couldn’t resist. Both of these films were produced by B movie legend Roger Corman. I had the opportunity to hear Corman speak about his career at the 2010 Fright Night Film Festival in Louisville, KY. During the Q & A section, he was asked about how SHARKTOPUS came to be. He said that someone at the SyFy channel came up with the title and asked him about making it. He thought it wasn’t a great idea, but buzz hit the internet and gathered a lot of interest…enough interest in fact to change Corman’s mind about the project. So it was off to Mexico to begin production.
SHARKTOPUS follows naive scientist Nicole Sands (Sarah Malakul Lane), who has developed a hybrid shark/octopus for her father’s bioengineering company. Nathan Sands (Eric Roberts) is selling the project to the military as a bio weapon. To make them happy, Nathan tinkers with his daughter’s work by implanting in the beast an insatiable urge to kill. Of course, the sophisticated electronic control collar used to keep the beast in check is damaged and before they can use the self-destruct feature, the monster escapes and begins killing everyone it comes across in the waters off the scenic coast of a Mexican resort.
With the military threatening to cancel the contract, Nathan sends his daughter and a soldier of fortune specializing in this sort of thing…yeah I guess there are guys who specialize in dealing with escaped biogenetically engineered monsters…named Andy Flynn (Karem Bursin) to capture the Sharktopus. Along the way, they encounter Stacey Everrheart (Liv Boughn), a reporter who’s trying to get her big break in serious news by following the Sharktopus’s rampage. Will this be Stacey’s big scoop, or will the Sharktopus scoop her into its mouth as a light snack before Andy and Nicole can stop it?
But wait, what’s that sound? It’s the sound of pennies being pinched as Roger Corman capitalizes on his opportunity to make one film, by making another: DINOSHARK. I can’t confirm that both films were shot at the same time. However, in addition to both films sharing actress Liv Boughn, the locations were identical, right down to the same “stock” footage of people on the beach. Of course the plots of both films were remarkably different. Whereas a giant hybrid shark/octopus is attacking a Mexican beach resort in SHARKTOPUS, DINOSHARK features a giant half-T-Rex, half shark attacking a Mexican beach resort.
DINOSHARK starts out with scenes of the polar icecaps melting. One particular piece of ice that thaws apparently contained Dinoshark guppies and within a few years of the opening shot, we see one of the guppies has grown up to become a monstrous giant shark with a crocodile/T-Rex type mouth and a dinosaur’s thick hide. The creature makes its way south to the warm coastal waters near a Mexican resort. (Wouldn’t you after millions of years on ice?) Once there, it begins to devour the tourists at an alarming rate. Trace McGraw (Eric Balfour), is a local fishing/sightseeing boat operator whose friend is one of the creature’s first victims. Oh, did I mention that “Trace McGraw” is supposed to be Mexican? Well he is, but let’s get back to the movie. He teams up with visiting marine biologist Carol Brubaker (Iva Hasperger) to kill the monster before it eats her water polo team, not to mention all the tourists that the Sharktopus missed.
So what do we have? Two films ideally suited for a B movie double feature. SHARKTOPUS and DINOSHARK make no presumptions about what they are – low budget films built around a title, not built around a story. You won’t find great acting in either feature. You also won’t find any real plot twists or surprises. However, the films are both fun to watch because of the sunny locals with numerous bikini-clad distractions. Also, while both the Sharktopus and the Dinoshark are obviously CGI animation effects, they are cool looking monsters and watching them devour a seemingly endless supply of bungie jumpers, para-sailers, jet ski riders, swimmers, fishermen, tourists, police and so on…is entertaining, if not intellectually stimulating. So, if you’re looking for a fun film to sit and veg out to, try either SHARKTOPUS or DINOSHARK; the two are almost interchangeable, but fun for what they are. B Movie Man recommends you watch the two films as a double feature with friends and play the Sharkto-Dino-Corman drinking game. Get some margaritas (in honor of the location) and every time someone gets eaten in the water, drink. Every time someone gets eaten outside the water, take a double. Then for real fun add a bottle of Jagermeister and some Corman to the mix. Every time Roger Corman appears on screen, alternate guys and gals doing shots of Jager. This will add some real fun to the double feature. Of course B Movie Man has to say don’t drink and drive, and more importantly, if you see Roger Corman at the beach, run! There may be a giant CGI monster getting ready to strike!