When people think of water monsters, they go for the obvious. The Kraken. Jaws. Godzilla. But while the A-listers are enjoying the paparazzi and the flash of cameras, the real workhorses of horror are ignored. These sad sacks schlump around their reefs and lakes, bemoaning their obscurity. “Why does no one notice me? Don’t I kill people too?”
So I’ve taken it upon myself to write a series of blog posts about underrated and unknown water monsters. You’re welcome, D-listers. You’re about to get the spotlight.
Ghost Shark (2013)
Despite my love of Jaws as one of the best horror movies ever made, I hadn’t planned to highlight shark movies. Films like Deep Water and 47 Meters Down promote myths that encourage the wholesale slaughter of one of my favorite animals, and they’re really not that dangerous. In fact, my best scuba diving moments have included sharks, some which have come within touching distance and didn’t take off my arm. Go sharks!
I’ll make an exception for Ghost Shark. This isn’t just any apex predator. It’s a dead apex predator that just happens to have come back to haunt the living with its razor sharp spectral teeth. So if you’re the next Captain Quint hell bent on eliminating ghost sharks from our swimming areas, have at it.
It’s not hard to see why this B-movie is overlooked. Most water horror fans are spoiled by high quality, slick films like The Shallows, and it’s hard to appreciate a glorious freak fest like Ghost Shark if you’re addicted to realism. But this blog post is all about the monster, not about the special effects. Good thing too, since I think they paid for the CGI with loose change they found around the studio.
But what this water monster doesn’t have in the way of looks, or brains, or style, or substance, it makes up for with pure power. Because of its ghostly nature, this beast, like the creature from The Host, isn’t limited to the ocean. Wherever there’s water, this giant glowing shark can magically appear and rip your head off.
Ghost Shark comes out of leaky kitchen pipes, Slip ’n’ slides, fire hydrants, and buckets of soapy water at a car wash. Mud puddles become mine fields of predator on prey action, and park sprinklers become a conduit to the evil lurking just beyond the veil. There’s even a ridiculous scene in which a guy relaxing at the water cooler in his office drinks the shark accidentally (spoiler: he doesn’t survive). Our heroes manage to avoid the horror for a while, but when it rains, it pours…blood. Which is what happens when you’re stalked by a shark that emerges from rain drops to eat your face.
You might be asking yourself how this film ever got made. It’s billed as a horror comedy, rather than straight-up horror, but even for the Sci-fi channel, this is dumb.
Or is it?
This irrational idea comes from an equally irrational fear that usually remains buried in the faded years of early childhood. You’re six. You have your floaties on, and you’re lucky enough to score some time in the Motel Six swimming pool. As you make your way into the deep end, reveling in a haze of chlorine fumes, an older kid yells “shark!” For one terrifying second, you believe it.
Horror would have a much smaller audience if we all survived our childhoods intact. There’s always a tiny part of us that still looks for the monster under the bed, the ghost in the closet, or the water monster lurking in the shallows of grandma’s swimming pool. So go ahead, embrace your inner child and check out Ghost Shark. You’ll never look at a Slip ‘n’ Slide the same way again.