CJ Creative Productions. Director: Christine Whitlock.
Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most Innuendo.
“Marina Monster” is a weird trip into uncharted sharksploitation territory. I imagine this is what a sharksploitation porn film would look like, if you removed all of the sex scenes… and the attractive people. Or, to put it another way, picture someone taking a knife to “Tintorerra,” slicing out the nudity, and reducing the film to a sordid mess of awkward sexual humor, tired corny gags, and bad acting. While there is some amount of enjoyment to be had from this disaster of low-budget proportions, the innuendo is very pervasive, and the film may not be for everyone. Wait, make that “most people.”
Commodore Drip Molar (Ray Kohler) and Commodore Skip Anchor (Andre Ciere) are planning to compete in the “Around the Bay” sailboat race. Unfortunately, a teenage male bull shark appears and begins eating people. Earl Molar (Trevor Crane) of the Center for Inland Waters begins to notice signs of the shark, but is more concerned that he’s dating Oceana Anchor (Michelle LaHaise), the daughter of his father’s racing rival. Drip, Skip and Earl all juggle multiple affairs with the seemingly sex-starved women of the community. Meanwhile, people continue to push each other into the shark’s path. Will the shark ever be stopped? Will Commodore Molar’s drug deals ever be discovered? Who will win the race?
Before you judge “Marina Monster” too harshly, you should know that I can’t represent it fairly because it’s the third movie in a series I have not seen the rest of. Christine Whitlock’s first film, “Sharp Teeth,” deals with mutated carp (not quite sharky enough to qualify for a review). Her second film, “Vampire Dentist,” deals with… well, you can guess. I’m not sure exactly how much these other films inform “Marina Monster,” but they certainly help to explain the oddly dental nature of the characters’ names. If there are any carpsploitation or dentistsploitation reviewers out there, please let me know how the other two films are.
Though not as cinematically jarring as “Psycho Shark” or as utterly scarring as “Tintorerra,” “Marina Monster” nonetheless takes true fortitude to survive. The never-ending stream of uncalled-for innuendo makes the film’s paltry 72 minutes feel like several hours. The characters spend most of their screen time “subtly hinting” at their sexual drive, or propositioning other characters. In fact, if we didn’t know the marina monster was a shark, I’d assume the villain was whoever slipped the aphrodisiacs in the town’s water supply.
Things are actually more complicated than that, because the killer shark and rampant libidos don’t measure up to the film’s greatest threat. By far, the leading cause of death among background characters is other background characters. The number two cause is unnecessarily jumping in after a friend has just been eaten. Seriously, there are 40 people credited as “Victims,” nearly all of whom were either jokingly pushed into the water or “accidentally fell” (jumped) in after their friends. What makes these people so cruel towards each other, and so unconcerned with their own lives? The town obviously has far more serious problems than a mere shark.
If “Marina Monster” has a redeeming quality, it’s its inane narrator, Professor Squid (Allen Swerling). I can only assume that Professor Squid’s scenes were filmed completely out of context before the actual script was written, then randomly spliced into the film at seemingly appropriate times. I rather suspect that Professor Squid improvised the whole thing, as well. I doubt you could script something as good as, “Bull sharks ah eating machines, hungry creatures that love to eat and eat and eat.” Squid does a magnificent job of introducing the movie in classic horror film style, but he’s quickly overshadowed by the general sexual unpleasantness. I can only hope that he has a starring role in Whitlock’s next film.
You may notice the film’s dedication to stuntman Gerry Tychansky. Mr. Tychansky was a diver who towed the shark prop around, and sadly he died while doing so. I wish I could say that his death had had a purpose, but “Marina Monster” is just not good enough. A sad way to be remembered.
Still, “Marina Monster” has one of the best fake sharks I’ve seen so far. Coupled with the liberal use of very bad green screen effects, the paper mache shark makes for a very excellent cinematic climax. If you end up watching this movie, just skip to the end and check it out.
The so-called trailer (really just a clip from the film) conveys none of the film’s sexual humor, but does feature most of its salient points: Professor Squid, someone pushing another person into the water, and someone jumping into the water.
“Marina Monster” is available on Amazon.