Shudder: Sharksploitation a love letter to Shark films of all kinds

Sharksploitation - Courtesy Shudder
Sharksploitation - Courtesy Shudder /

New Shudder Original documentary Sharksploitation takes a deep dive (see what I did there?) into the world of shark films, a sub-genre that has remained robust in the years since Jaws was released. That film, is of course, the inspiration for pretty much every shark film that came out after 1975.

Jaws is widely regarded as the very first summer blockbuster, recouping its entire production cost within the first ten days of its release. As a result of its immense popularity, people were afraid to go into the ocean; in fact, some theatre-goers avoided lakes and even swimming pools. That’s kind of silly when we look back on it now, but in the summer of 1975, it was a wide-spread phobia. Jaws was truly a phenomenon.

Sharksploitation focuses a lot of its run time on Jaws and its sequels, as it should. But it also dips a toe into a few older films before running us through dozens and dozens of Jaws rip-offs and homages. Shark films are a mixed bag, to be sure. For every solid shark film like Open Water or 47 Meters Down, there is an equally cheesy one, such as Sharktopus or 6-Headed Shark Attack.

Sharknado is of course discussed at some length, as are other original films created by syfy. Sharknado caught lightning in a bottle as its first airing generated multiple posts on Twitter. That led to news stories, and the film was re-aired to a bigger audience than it received on its premiere. Since that time, it has become somewhat legendary, and it was even featured on an episode of the most recent season of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs.

Sharksploitation – Courtesy Shudder /

Sharksploitation not only includes film clips and interviews with actors, writers and directors from the many shark films featured, it also features behind the scenes photos and footage, plus commentary from scientists, conservationists and even Wendy Benchley, the widow of Jaws author Peter Benchley.

Benchley later regretted giving sharks a bad name, and spent many years as an advocate for conservation. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2006 from pulmonary fibrosis, but as Sharksploitation proves, he definitely left behind a legacy.

Listen, it’s summer time now, and it’s a very hot summer at that. What better way to spend a very hot day than by sitting in your air-conditioned home bingeing good (or bad) shark films? And, while you’re at it, give Sharksploitation on Shudder a watch, it’s a fun, entertaining and informative way to spend an hour and 46 minutes.

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