Guest Blog: Syfy wins (and fails) with ‘Sharktopus’

9 11 2010

by Chris Imms

Before it became Syfy, the Sci-Fi Channel was known for making the worst science fiction movies ever. Such titles include Mansquito, Anonymous Rex, and Gargoyles: Wings of Darkness. When the Sci-Fi Channel changed its name, I thought it was the end of these movies that are so bad they become great. And indeed, since the switchover, the Syfy Saturday movies have been pretty weak. Until Sharktopus.

There are certain factors that make a bad B movie a great B movie. The first is a weak plot. In Sharktopus, a company named Blue Water creates an octopus/shark hybrid named S11. They tried to make other hybrids, like the Sharktowhale and the Octofish, and on the 11th try they created the Sharktopus. In traditional monster movie fashion the Sharktopus escapes, then travels to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and starts wreaking havoc. The Blue Water Corporation sends the hero, Andy Flynn, and some sidekicks to capture him.

The second thing a B movie needs is a combination of bad writing and bad acting. It should have such bad writing that you think a bunch of drunken lemurs with brain damage wrote it while high and on fire. Thankfully with lines like, “everyone, everyone, there is a killer octopus/shark hybrid heading this way, please leave the area now,” Sharktopus has bad writing in spades. But writing is only half of it—you need horrible acting as well. Half the people in this movie act like they were just pulled off the street, given lines, and filmed their scenes in one take, which may have happened. Plus, since the Sharktopus was CGI (more on that soon), these actors had to act with nothing there, making their bad acting even worse.

The worst acting in Sharktopus comes from the classic character actor Eric Roberts and movie lead Kerem Bursin. Eric Roberts plays the CEO of the Blue Water Corporation and wants the S11 captured—not killed—by any means necessary. Roberts may be the best actor of the bunch but says his lines like he is just doing it for a paycheck. In fact, in an interview with Attack of the Show!, he and his publicist stated that if they knew the writing was as bad as it was, he would never have been in this movie. But Eric Roberts’s lethargic acting does not compare to Kerem Bursin’s. Bursin plays Andy Flynn like the typical main character in a monster movie—no personality, he just wants to kill the monster. Bursin is the worst actor in this movie because of what he does with his clothes. Every time Andy gets mad or has to face the Sharktopus, he takes off his shirt. Friend gets killed, he takes off his shirt. Has to save a little kid, takes off his shirt. Fighting the final battle with the Sharktopus, the shirt comes off. After every shirtless scene, the shirt magically reappears on him to signal we are done with the important action scenes.

The third thing that makes a horrible B movie is bad special effects. The S11 just looked wrong. It had the head of a shark, the tentacles of an octopus, a beak protruding from its belly, and spikes coming from its gills. Instead of S11 they should have named it “overkill,” because that’s what it looked like. I think they ran out of money after creating the Sharktopus because at times he looks superimposed on the screen which makes his killing scenes all the more silly. There are over 20 deaths in this movie. If this film does anything right it is that it varies the types of death. There are bungee jump deaths, car deaths, yuppie boat-sinking deaths, best friend deaths, zip line deaths, hotel performer deaths, sun bathing deaths, camera man and hot reporter deaths, villain deaths. It’s like the writer had a dart board and just picked the type of death at random.

Sharktopus is one of the worst made-for-TV B movies I have ever seen. It has bad acting, bad monsters, bad killings, bad writing, and bad directing, but all that bad makes it good. I wanted to see the next killing. I wanted to see Kerem Bursin take off his shirt in anger. I wanted to see the spectacularly stupid ending (I won’t spoil it for you, but it has to do with a river and a computer password). I wanted Sharktopus to prove to me that the Syfy channel still has the magic to make a bad movie, and by golly, they have made the worst of them all. Thank you, Sharktopus, for making my Saturday that much better with your horribleness.

For Chris’s bio, see his first guest blog.

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