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John’s Horror Corner: The Last Shark (1981; aka L’ultimo squalo, The Last Jaws, Great White), an Italian B-movie Jaws rip-off.

October 10, 2021

MY CALL: This B-movie Jaws (1975) rip-off is 60 minutes of general boredom followed by 20 minutes of decent bad movie fun. But if you’re looking for a fun bad movie in general, this is a decent sleepy Sunday afternoon choice. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Last SharkIf you want more movies inspired by Jaws (1975), I’d direct you to Piranha (1978) or Piranha 3D (2010), Crawl (2019), 47 Meters Down (2017) or Shark Night 3D (2011)… not to mention Deep Blue Sea (1999) and The Shallows (2016).

After what I can only describe as three straight minutes of awkward softcore windsurfing porn, the movie corrects its horrible misstep with a shark attack. The shark POV is no more menacing than peaceful underwater shots of coral reef and school fish, yet leads to our shark takes a chunk out of the windsurf board. Unfortunately, we see as little blood as we do the shark—which is to say none at all.

Rather blatantly, we are introduced to characters that are carbon copies of Jaws’ (1975) Quint, Brody (here as Peter – James Franciscus; Killer Fish) and the ambitious local mayor. This beach town is approaching a major televised windsurfing competition and the mayor will not see it canceled over a few shark-related deaths. Deny, deny, deny, right? Only quite contrary to its 1975 source material, in this movie the mayor and our Quint character work together to keep beach-goers safe rather than having the problem largely ignored.

It pains me that this was only PG! Although clearly PG-13 by today’s standards. There’s slow-motion bikini running but no nudity (not that it would have enhanced this movie), there’s shark footage of a rather narrow-snouted normal-sized shark but the on-screen shark attacks are some humungous broad-faced monstrosity of a great white, and most shark shots seem to just be nature show stock footage. A few shots show the bloated shark emerging from the water and, when it does, it’s momentarily satisfying.

Director Enzo G. Castellari’s (Escape from the Bronx, Warriors of the Wasteland) movie starts slowly with the action, from almost none in the beginning to just a little in the middle. We do see windsurfers knocked off balance into the water, a lone severed limb, swimmers yanked beneath the water’s surface, sand the occasional comical catapulting of a motorboat and its human (or dummy) occupant into the air as if a bomb went off underneath them.

But finally after an hour we finally get to SEE something when someone is hanging from a helicopter and has both their legs bitten off! It’s bad, but it’s delightfully awesome—and it’s one of the most worthwhile scenes in this entire movie. Other highlights include pulling a man out of the water to discover he’s missing his lower half in a chunky gory mess (a gag well-utilized by the various Piranha), and the shark’s eventual defeat is a bloody underwater explosion.

After a very, very slow start, overall this movie is mildly entertaining and I certainly enjoyed a few laughs—even if biased towards the final third. But still, the movie isn’t really worth it unless you’re a fan of the era, Jaws rip-offs, or hokey Italian 80s horror. But if you’re looking for a fun bad movie in general, this is a decent Sunday afternoon choice.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. rdfranciswriter permalink
    October 10, 2021 6:52 pm

    We did this a while ago, in our never-ending quest to review all things Enzo G. Castellari. He could vomit on an ant hill over the crack of hot, Rome sidewalk, and we’d rave about it.

    BASTARD PUPS OF JAWS: The Last Shark (1981)

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 10, 2021 8:03 pm

      I truly struggle at the thought of being a fan of this director. That said, I’ve never seen any of his other movies. lol

  2. rdfranciswriter permalink
    October 11, 2021 9:31 am

    Hey, I do not take that as insult, not at all.

    You know . . . it’s not so much a fandom, but more of “You made this?” schadenfreude of his works. Okay, that’s my excuse. . . .

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 11, 2021 10:35 am

      Okay, that’s like me and most Full Moon flicks after the mid-late 90s. lol

      • rdfranciswriter permalink
        October 11, 2021 11:23 am

        Yep. Same at B&S with the Full Moon’ers! Poor Enzo, such big dreams (to rip) so little money!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 13, 2021 5:26 pm

      Was it his apocalypse action movies that you mostly enjoyed?

      • rdfranciswriter permalink
        October 14, 2021 8:13 am

        Yes. Castellari handled the Apoc genre much better, and he did three of them. Yeah, Sam and I are big Apoc fans and Enzo was better at the knock offs than most. He’ll always be remembered for — and it’s a good film, actually — The Inglorious Bastards, as you know. And I have an affection for his early Spaghetti Westerns of the ’60s. Those films are kinda hard to screw up.

        But when he started the knock offs, Oy!, with TWO Jaws flicks. Then with the “Rambo” of Taureg: The Desert Warrior (with Mark Harmon!) and Die Hard with Lightblast (with Eric Estrada?), NO. Just a few editorial changes to your review of The Last Shark — and POOF — we’d have our reviews for those two flicks.

        I can’t stop laughing at the GIF of the guy dangling into the shark’s mouth. Oh, Enzo. You slay me, Enzo, you magnificent bastard.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 14, 2021 6:58 pm

      That leg biting scene gif got me to buy this when I saw it on IG!

      • rdfranciswriter permalink
        October 14, 2021 7:19 pm

        I know. it’s so classic. You gotta love ’em for trying. I am trying to think of the one that actually had the shark clamped on the body at the waist — and they try to rescue the guy by chopper. (Or, was that an old Batman TV show episode?)

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