Ultimate Summer Horror Film Jaws

Duh-duh. Duh-duh. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. One of the most famous and terrifying musical sequences is taken from one of the best thrillers/horror films of the last century: Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Based on the book of the same name by author Peter Benchley, Jaws follows a small seaside town that is terrorized by a man-eating shark during the summer, when all their local and tourist events are swimming in the water and playing on the beach. A smashing mix of suspense, blood, horror and realism, Jaws has made its way into popular culture and at the box office ($472 million on a budget of $9 million). It even spawned three sequels, all trying to capture the magic of the original film.

Jaws has managed to stay relevant for six decades, with its innovative and suspenseful techniques to bring the shark to life, as well as an original and somewhat realistic story that people could most likely relate to in the real world. The film’s reputation is certainly deserved and is definitely consolidating as the ultimate summer horror film. But why is that?

The Science of the Shark

As said above, Jaws has a very realistic story on which it relies. Author Peter Benchley based the book on real stories he heard, as well as his own personal experiences. He even did a lot of research on sharks, reading books by the legendary deep-sea explorer Jacques Cousteau entitled The Shark: The Splendid Savage of the Sea and Thomas Allen’s Shadows in the Sea. Much of the information contained in the books has been incorporated into Spielberg’s classic film.

10 Facts About Jaws That You Never Knew

For example, how they go about capturing the shark and how the sharks operate during the summer. Although a scientifically inaccurate piece has the size of the main antagonist shark, which was a few feet larger than the real great white sharks. But, the science behind the sharks allows the film to have a deeper level of depth than just a popcorn horror movie.

The Realistic Plot

A horror cinema tip given to aspiring young directors is to “make horror real, because nothing is scarier than real life.”Jaws succeeds on this philosophy. Apart from the science of the plot, the story surrounds innocent and normal families at the beach, enjoying their family time during the 4th of July holidays. Then they have to watch in horror that this peace is disturbed when theirs, or others, are attacked by a vicious sea creature. The specific scene where the young boy is mutilated by the shark, the blood flowing as he struggles to free himself from the predator, was particularly bloody and terrifying to see. The plot itself is what really touched the chords with the audience. It was really captivating.

The idea that you or your family could be attacked by a giant white monster that came out of the water during a peaceful trip to the beach is the reason why Jaws has become the ultimate horror movie of the summer. Nothing is scarier than what can happen in real life. Nothing. The unexpected is the scariest thing. Even affecting people in real life.

Some studies show that beach attendance decreased a little after the release of Jaws in 1975, and now still has harmful effects on people who swim in the ocean. It has also had a negative impact on the shark population and on people’s opinion of sharks as a whole. It’s very similar to the impact that Top Gun had on viewers in 1986, except that it was a positive impact. This made fans want to enlist in the navy. Both films made fans want to do things. But, in general, a film is powerful when it provokes fans in any way.

The Masterful Horror Techniques

One thing that sets Jaws apart from other classic horror films is its unique and effective techniques in order to create a terrifying atmosphere for the audience watching. Despite the support of the large studio Universal Pictures, the animatronic shark continued to malfunction. It looked wrong on the screen when they were using it, and other times it just didn’t work.

Speilberg instead decided to use editing to hide the shark and music to imply its presence when it was not shown. With the camera work, Steven Spielberg used a mixture of long shots, close-ups and tracking shots to show the shark heading towards its prey and towards the boat (without showing the shark) because the invisible is just as terrifying. It is the fear of the unknown that makes it so captivating. The opening title sequence, where it seems that the audience sees things from the point of view of the shark, riding the waves and cutting through the currents, was brilliantly directed. Then, of course, the quick back-and-forth cut during the final climax between the shark and the hunters creates one of the best human-versus-animal action sequences of all time.

Dominic D. Bowman

Dominic D. Bowman

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