Another terrifying childhood memory just came to me. (I say “just” with the implication that it came to me hours ago, and I’ve just now crawled back out from under my desk). It’s from… (wait for it)… JAWS 3. I’m sure everyone has their traumatic JAWS moments, and I hope I find I’m not alone in being affected by the third chapter in the saga. Especially considering that the scene in question is one of the most laughable scenes ever filmed. Maybe it’s like SUPERMAN III: JAWS 3(D) is the cinematic equivalent of a steaming cup of liquid poo, but it came out at the right time for many of our generation, and was played frequently enough on cable as to be caught out of context and to stick in our stupid little minds. ‘Cause looking at it now, this movie is b-a-d, craptastic, but when I was young and impressionable, this following scene was responsible for many moments of terror. Any time I was in the pool, this is what would flash in my mind:
Awful, right? But, there’s something so eerie and unsettling about it, too. The way the shark just kinda glides towards you–not moving, just approaching. Almost like the gentlemen in that BUFFY episode, “Hush.” It’s so calm and malevolent and unnatural that it almost approaches the level of high art: an animal behaving in a very mechanical, false, alien way. (And I’m sure that’s what the filmmakers were going for. I mean, they had LOU GOSSETT, JR., after all, so it’s already practically an art flick.) Every time I was in a body of water, I would picture that shark slowly getting closer, and I could struggle and swim as fast as I could, but it would just. Eventually. Get. There.