How Many Heads Are Enough?
By Susan Snyder
I earned a degree in Marine Biology in 1996. I don’t recommend this unless your goal in life is to be unemployed. Yet, my borderline psychotic love of sharks persists. So I watch shark movies and write about them. It’s my passion, my calling. You’re welcome.
Being trained in shark anatomy and behavior while simultaneously reviewing sharksploitation films can be…interesting. Sometimes I want to go over to my wall, take down my framed degree and smack the movie repeatedly in the face and neck. It never deters me though. I keep going back for more.
The bad biology of these movies is what makes them so special, so endearing. Allow me to take your hand in mine and lead you through the parade of scientific atrocities sharksploitation has to offer. Let’s begin with the multi-heads, shall we?
There is an entire series dedicated to multi-headed sharks comprising 2-Headed Shark Attack all the way up to 6-Headed Shark Attack (Note: they skipped 4-Headed Shark Attack but that will make sense in a moment). Today, we embark on an exploration of two of these films’ leviathans.
2-Headed Shark Attack’s understanding of science sucks like a toothless black hole. The shark itself is presented with a mixture of CGI and rubber. I would say it growls but it is more akin to a whooshing sound. The shark is a different size depending on the scene. Incredulously, the filmmakers thought teeth that resemble your mother’s tried and true rubbermaid spatula would be a totally believable method to pulverize human flesh.
The most disturbing thing of all about this concept of a two-headed shark is that either the filmmakers purposely made it look like God ripped a bong hit and created backwards male genitalia with testes-jaws, or they decided to have a poor shark grow head boobs. Either way, folks, I am gobsmacked. And a little nauseous.
Seriously, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. This is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Could this be the pinnacle of the bastardization of shark biology? Is my sharksploitation bingo card complete?
Not quite. Wait for it.
Now let’s skip forward in our evolution of fuckery to 5-Headed Shark Attack. Halfway through the film you will find yourself thinking “Am I missing something? This shark only has four heads yet the movie refers to a fifth head. And by golly, I am taking this movie fucking seriously!” Well, my perceptive friend, there are indeed only four heads on this leviathan. Until it mutates to become the most impressive piece of sharksploitation insanity since Sharkenstein (we shall talk about that one in another article, but in the meantime . . . watch it, dammit). The fifth head . . . oh I shouldn’t tell you yet I must . . . the fifth head comes out of its butt. Since it’s part of the tail, it swishes delightfully to and fro in the water. It cleans up the little bits of carnage the other heads leave behind like some sort of anal remora. Somehow the head butt manages to propel the shark and also maintains steering control. All the heads roar and gurgle like the dulcet tones of a really old gas station toilet, including the ass head. I have so many questions.
I had to stop the movie, run to the local Stab-n-Go (I live in a shitty neighborhood) and buy an overpriced box of kleenex to wipe the deluge of tears from my eyes when I saw the thinker in its stinker begin to materialize. I was moved in unexpected ways.
Perhaps you are wondering about the plots of these movies. I assure you that is not of any consequence and just trust me on this. Of the two mentioned, 2-Headed Shark Attack has “better” acting and plot development. However, that is like comparing drinking urine to drinking bloody urine. Both are kind of unacceptable and it’s quite disturbing that anyone thought of it.
Multi-headed animals can and do exist in nature. These poor deformed creatures never live very long though. I guess I have to concede something to these filmmakers for having a shred of scientific plausibility. Also, the entire premise of a multitude of jaws coming at your hapless limbs like a cuisinart possessed by Satan is pretty fun. So it is with blatant disregard for my crippling undergraduate student loan debt that I recommended you watch these movies. Shut down the logical part of your brain, grab a cup of urine and enjoy!
Directors: Declan O’Brien (2-Headed Shark Attack), Nico De Leon (5-Headed Shark Attack)
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
Susan Snyder is a writer of horror short fiction and poetry. Broken Nails, her debut poetry collection, was released in July 2020. The short story “Param” which appeared in the Trigger Warning: Body Horror anthology from Madness Heart Press was nominated for a 2020 Splatterpunk award. Her work can be seen in the Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase and multiple magazines and anthologies. Susan writes a weekly shark movie review blog called Sharksploitation Sunday