SHOCK grabs another classic clip of critics Siskel & Ebert reviewing horror films.
As part of our ongoing series digging up vintage clips of lamented critics Siskel & Ebert making sport of horror and dark fantasy films on their long-running, now defunct TV series AT THE MOVIES.
Both critics were often very fair and astute with their assessments of contemporary cinema and certainly, their impact on the art of film criticism (such as it is) cannot be properly measured.
But when they hated something, they used it as fodder for a kind of Statler and Waldorf-esque roasting routine. And while often amusing, horror fans rightfully recoiled at seeing entertainments they adored so casually dismissed.
Now that said, sometimes, just sometimes…their genre jeering was the money.
Witness their attack on Joseph (NIGHTMARES) Sargent’s universally lambasted sequel JAWS: THE REVENGE, the fourth – and to date, last – installment of the man (or woman) vs. shark series that started with director Steven Spielberg’s first masterpiece, 1975’s immaculate JAWS.
1978’s JAWS 2 was a well-produced, well-acted but often tedious and shallow attempt to duplicate the energy of the original. The Richard Matheson co-scripted JAWS 3D was ludicrous but at least it tried to do something different.
JAWS: THE REVENGE, however, is an anomaly; a film that carries over characters from the series, which are based in reality, only to trash the soul of the series by tacking on a quasi-supernatural angle wherein the long-shark-suffering Brody family seem to have been targeted by a dynasty of sharks, with one of the fuckers even following the matriarch of the family from Amity to the Bahamas to finish off the bloodline!
Throw in Michael Caine collecting a paycheck and Mario Van Peebles with a distracting accent plus shark FX that are massive steps down from the already troubled 1975 incarnation of Bruce and you have one of the most ridiculed films of the 1980’s.
In retrospect, JAWS: THE REVENGE isn’t that bad in the sense that it’s well-acted, fast-paced and at least has some class, taking itself seriously and positioning an older female as the hero. Rare for 1987 and just as rare today.
But…it aint a good movie. By any stretch.
And so, when I caught this clip of S&E digging in, I wasn’t mad. At all. God knows the movie had it coming!
Check it out. Be prepared to laugh….