Sharksploitation Documentary Coming to Shudder

The world of horror has a number of subgenres with passionate followings, with various films having been released that explore what happens when wild animals turn deadly and victims are caught in their path of violence. An even more specific corner of horror focuses on the havoc caused by sharks, as the fish are both some of the most ferocious and majestic creatures in the animal kingdom. The documentary Sharksploitation aims to explore this highly specific realm of cinema, which was kicked off with the massive success of Steven Spielberg's Jaws and inspired countless copycats. Sharksploitation is set to hit Shudder on July 21st.

"The movie Jaws had a massive impact on me becoming a filmmaker, and it began my lifelong fascination with sharks," director/producer Stephen Scarlata shared in a statement when the project was announced. "I love these [exploitation films], and with each one I watch, my love grows more vital for the species, and my heart breaks more over the horrors they go through in everyday life, from overfishing to shark finning."

He added, "This documentary is the ultimate love letter to the shark movie genre, filmmakers who work hard to make these films, and to the misunderstood species themselves."

Spielberg's Jaws was based on the Peter Benchley novel of the same name, and while Spielberg had previously delivered feature-length adventures, it marked his cinematic debut. The film was marred with countless production issues and challenges, though when Jaws was officially unleashed in theaters in 1975, its success coined the term "blockbuster," as it drew hordes of audiences across the country. 

The movie proved the public's interest in tales of terror that unfolded on the ocean, immediately igniting imitators like Orca and Piranha. The interest and excitement surrounding the creatures continue, as more recent films like The Shallows, 47 Meters Down, and Deep Blue Sea 3 all keep the shark-themed subgenre alive.

One of the drawbacks to the popularity of these films, however, is the misrepresentation of the animals in the real world, resulting in finning and overfishing. Sharksploitation aims to address not only the excitement of the animal's fictional prominence, but also how these films impacted the actual animal.

Scarlata added, "Through interviews with filmmakers, critics, scholars, and conservationists we will explore the colossal challenge of making these films, the cultural imprint they've left on audiences, and their impact on this misunderstood species." 

Sharksploitation is set to hit Shudder on July 21st.

Are you looking forward to the documentary? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!