Friday, October 10, 2008

HORROR EPICS: Jaws

JAWS (1975)
Out of the friends that I talk about horror movies with, not one of them ever brings up Jaws. They don’t even have a copy in their collections. Although that surprises me, I suppose it makes sense. Jaws is probably more of a suspense action vehicle than a blood-and-guts horror movie, and it’s admittedly more on the mainstream tip than what most expect from the genre. Yet no movie has ever scared me the way Jaws has. Since you don’t live under a rock, I’ll assume you’ve seen Jaws and know what it’s about by now. I was already scared shitless of the ocean and deep water in general; seeing Jaws at the age of nine only reaffirmed that position. It didn’t help that I’d read the book (which is much more graphic) at least a year earlier, but that’s beside the point. I know it sounds silly to think that someone might have actually been psychologically affected by a mere motion picture in this day. But it is the truth, and a testimony to just how well this movie works. When I watch Jaws now, I find that I appreciate the understatement. It’s not terribly graphic in its depiction of the havoc wreaked by the killer shark, although a remake would certainly solve that “problem.” (Uh, maybe I shouldn’t have said that. They might think it’s a good idea.) Wasn’t it Alfred Hitchcock who said something about it being more effective when the violence is in your head? Save the gore for a movie that needs it; Jaws is fine without any of that. Not much more to say other than this is a classic that’s worth revisiting occasionally. “Dude, last time you talked about Gremlins, which takes place during Christmas. Now you’re talking about Jaws, which happens during the fuckin’ SUMMER. Just what in the hell is wrong with you?” Again, shut the fuck up, asshole.

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