Back in 1981 there was an explosion of slashers looking to pull on the coattails of the success of Halloween and Friday the 13th.
Shark films were very much in their infancy but with the success of Jaws and Jaws 2, the Italian movie market saw an opportunity to exploit Bruce and co.
Coming from Director Enzo G. Castellari who also worked on Warriors ripoff The Bronx Warriors, The Last Shark (sometimes referred to as Great White) is quite possibly one of the worst shark films put to the camera.
Although shark films regularly use stock footage of real-life sharks, the jarring between this footage and a shockingly bad model (which also swims backward at one point).
To their credit, the production of The Last Shark did take place partly at sea for authenticity.
The kills are also quite laughable with pure 80’s special effects used and also a suspicion that the shark roars when it breaches. Interestingly the film did keep the shark in the shadows before fully revealing it in a crazy finale as the shark hunts people on a barge.
Giallo films were extremely popular at this time and The Last Shark tries to blend a whacky Giallo-style theme mixed with the fishy action.
Ironically the film did well on its initial opening, taking $18 million at the US box office before being blocked for accusations of plagiarism of Jaws.
This is never better typified with characters such as an unhinged shark hunter, a power-hungry town (Larry Vaughn anyone?) and a horror author called Peter Benton.
In Japan, the film was released and marketed as a sequel to Spielberg’s Jaws, with the cover art even using the same logo.
Castellari actually considered doing a sequel to The Last Shark but was shot down as the mechanical shark they used for the original met the same fate as Bruce on Jaws and was damaged beyond repair.
Have you seen The Last Shark? Let us know your verdict in the comments –