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Posted by Gina Freitag
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Shark Frenzy in Aquatic Horror and the Blockbuster Influence

Have you RSVP’d yet? Click the link to reserve your spot for Joe’s virtual lecture on August 12th, “From Bruce to Meg: The Evolution of the Aquatic Horror Blockbuster”!

By Joe Lipsett

When researching how Aquatic Horror has evolved, it immediately became clear that all roads lead back to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975). Miles Surrey’s editorial in The Ringer, “When It Comes to the Descendants of ‘Jaws’, More is More“, is one of multiple sources that reiterate how vital the OG blockbuster was in establishing the foundation for the next 45 years of Aquatic Horror films.

More significantly, however, Surrey zeroes in on how changes in the broader film industry are reflected in subgenre-specific ways. For Aquatic Horror, Hollywood films increasing “lean into the absurdity and physical presence” of the onscreen menace (ie: the sharks got bigger and occasionally smarter) while smaller, independent films deliberately favour “realistic” thrills.

Flow chart of Blockbuster shark films, starting with Jaws at the top

Ringer Illustration

These developments speak to broader changes in the industry in the 2000s: the accessibility of high quality film equipment and FX has seen a boom in small-budget Aquatic Horror, while the need to create blockbusters for the global market, specifically China, paves a path straight to 2018’s The Meg, a genetically engineered beast of a film in every sense of the word.

More insights and musings to come about this film in particular during our special live-tweet. Join us after the lecture on August 12th as I take over The Black Museum’s twitter feed (@blackmuseumTO) to dissect The Meg (available to stream on Netflix Canada or Amazon Prime US). We’re aiming to cue start-time for 8:20pm ET, so have your play buttons at the ready!

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