in Shocktober

Shocktober: Day 16

Jaws (1975)

Dir: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw

Dun nun, duh nuh, duh nuh… Gives me chills just thinking about it. I’ve never been sure whether or not you could really classify Jaws as a “Horror” movie. I’ve always thought of it as an action/adventure more like Jurassic Park, but I figure it’s scared enough people to earn a spot on this list, I mean it’s one of my favorite movies PERIOD.

The movie that made everyone afraid to go in the water is just as exciting as ever. I could weigh this down with a plot synopsis but who hasn’t seen this? What’s to explain really? “A Shark kills people, so some people got to kill the shark.” That’s basically it in it’s crudest form, but it’s so simple that there’s so much to build upon. The characters are all excellently crafted, compelling and humorous in their own ways. Richard Dreyfuss fills the kind of obnoxious scientist role, Robert Shaw is the rough-around-the-edges, monologue spewing mariner and Roy Scheider is the relatable, level headed, police chief, they’re all brilliant.

Dialogue comes to mind as another standout element. Little snippets like “That’s a real bad hat harry” or the infamous “Were gonna need a bigger boat.” Or how about the legendary USS Indianapolis story? Tell me you don’t get chills when Quint tells that chilling yarn. Peter Benchley (Also the author of the book) and Carl Gottlieb (Who would co-write The Jerk) penned one of my all time favorite scripts without a wasted breath.

Let’s see… Oh yes, how could I talk about Jaws without mentioning the music? Got to be up there with John Williams top three scores along with Star Wars and Indiana Jones hmm, though there’s also Superman? Damn he’s prolific! Sometimes I wonder what this movie would of been like without that theme. In a way the music basically is the shark as we seldom see it. I think most are aware that this movie was hell putting together, with basically everything going wrong that could go wrong.

I’m not positive but this has to be the biggest blockbuster out of all my Shocktober selections, after all it was the first blockbuster. Jaws is one of those rare films that changed the shape of cinema… You could even say it turned the tides? In that it changed how so many studios produced and marketed action/thrillers. This is one of those movies I could talk about forever, so I’m gonna stop now.


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