The Asylum. Director: Christopher Ray.
Creature Feature Bleachers Awards: Most Sexual, Most Faux-Lesbianism.
“2-Headed Shark Attack” is about equal parts sharksploitation and sexploitation. It’s not quite at “Tintorera” levels of wanton tastelessness, but people who prefer to look at actor’s faces should probably give this one a pass. Asylum fans know that the studio basically has three genres of films: ridiculous sci-fi (“Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus“), highly derivative mockbuster (“Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies,” “Transmorphers”), and sex comedy (“Barely Legal,” “Celebrity Sex Tape”). “2-Headed Shark Attack” is a little of each. (While all sharksploitation films are derivative, this one specifically borrows the water-skiing and bouncing-butt-girl scenes from mainstream contemporary “Shark Night 3D“). In a sense, the blending of genres should make “2-Headed Shark Attack” the ultimate Asylum film, but I wouldn’t necessarily call that a good thing.
When these students signed up for a semester at sea, they thought it would all be fun in the sun. Too bad Professor Babish (Charlie O’Connell) didn’t get the message. He tries to make them learn things! When a dead shark jams up the propeller of their floating classroom, Babish decides to lead an expedition to a nearby atoll while the boat is repaired. Since fishermen sometimes live on the atoll, the kids find a small abandoned village and couple of old motorboats. Unfortunately, a two-headed shark is after them! To make matters worse, the atoll begins sinking. Worst of all, Lyndsey has been in the sun too long and is starting to burn! Can loner Kate (Brooke Hogan) unify the kids long enough to think up a plan, or will the bikini fun and frivolity come to a grinding halt?
Perhaps that caption is a good place to start: trying to figure out Carmen Electra’s purpose in this film. Nominally she plays Anne Babish, wife of Professor Babish. All things considered, however, the “Baywatch” veteran and Playboy model doesn’t really bring much to the movie, just sort of drifting aimlessly through it. She can’t act, nor does her character perform any vital or even supplementary plot functions. And when you consider that Electra is mainly known for her sex appeal, her presence becomes even more puzzling. She doesn’t take her clothes off, and her physical charms are pretty much drowned out by the gaggle of younger, bikini-clad co-eds. What is her purpose, then? All I can figure is that Electra was the cheapest celebrity the Asylum could get, and the Asylum was the best paying gig that Electra could get.
Another weird fit is Brooke Hogan, the daughter of famous wrestler Hulk Hogan. You may remember her from the masterpiece “Sand Sharks,” in which she also had a leading role. In “2-Headed Shark Attack,” Hogan plays relatively pensive social outcast Kate. Kate signed up for a semester at sea in order to overcome her shark-induced fear of the water, thus providing a sad attempt at characterization or something. I say she is a weird fit for the film because I often laugh at the fact that actors in high school and college movies range from their late twenties to their early forties. Similarly, you may wonder why the Asylum cast Brooke Hogan, a woman in her thirties, to play a college student. The scary thing is, that’s not true. Hogan was only 23 at the time of filming.
Rounding out the cast of losers is Charlie O’Connell (Professor Babish), who was the Bachelor on season seven of that show. Admittedly I’ve never seen “The Bachelor,” but I am having difficulty picturing a situation in which a female would want this man for anything other than his looks. I’d hate to depend on his “acting” career as a source of income, and I don’t think I could ever trust a single word he said. In “2-Headed Shark Attack,” every sound that emerges from his mouth reeks of insincerity, from his feigned professorial enthusiasm to his monotonic yelps of melodramatic pain. The 24 women he rejected should consider themselves lucky.
Okay, one more note on the cast. I can’t decide if the linked article from the Columbia County News-Times is funny or sad. Apparently Anna Jackson (Haley, a small but memorable role) told her hometown paper that she plays a “good girl” who “keeps everybody in line.” If by that she meant that her character takes her top off and makes out with another topless girl for the amusement of a stoner boy before being eaten by a 2-headed shark, then yes, she does play a good girl who keeps everybody in line.
But to be fair, I probably wouldn’t tell my family and friends the truth, either.
I’ve noticed that people often have an aversion to older films. Given the choice between a color film and a black-and-white one, they will usually choose the former. In my experience, this mental block unnecessarily prevents people from enjoying older films (“Casablanca,” “The General,” “Mildred Pierce,” etc.). Yes, it may take a few minutes to adjust to the lack of color or even sound, but a good movie is still a good movie, regardless of its production capabilities. When a filmmaker creates something truly wonderful, it transcends the feeble trappings of moviemaking technology. And by the same token (as “2-Headed Shark Attack” demonstrates), a bad movie with bright colors, high picture quality, and CG effects is still a bad movie. Better equipment can only do so much.
Not that the cinematic qualities of this film are particularly high in any event. Consider the vessel chosen for the supposed “semester at sea.” Now, I recognize that there are only 18 students and 5 faculty/crew, but this boat seems awfully small for its purpose.
Similarly, the fishermen’s atoll raises some questions. Most of the crude clapboard shacks have mere sheets for doors, and it’s obvious that the absent fishermen only inhabit the atoll for short periods of time. So exactly when and why did they install a thorough system of planked and railed walkways?
All told, “2-Headed Shark Attack” is not my favorite sharksploitation film, nor would I necessarily recommend it. Although, if you’re looking for a movie to talk over, this one’s a pretty safe bet.
The film is not quite as scary as the trailer makes it seem:
“2-Headed Shark Attack” is available on Amazon.