I Am Rachel Keller, and This is My Copy. A Review of Shark Exorcist (2015)

The Monkey sat down with every intention of reviewing Hell House LLC and/or Savageland, and I promise I will get to them another day. Today though I want to talk to you about Shark Exorcist (2015). Well, sort of. I watched this flick several weeks ago, and like many viewers I sat transfixed for its seventy-one-minute runtime. This isn’t because it’s a good movie. No, it is abysmally bad, nonsensical, and just plain fucked up. In a film about a demon shark attacking people in a lake (yeah, The Monkey will just let that part go), one would expect some sort of budget expenditure on the attack sequences. Since Shark Exorcist is such a cut-rate film, that expectation marks one as a fool. What we are treated to instead are characters standing in shallow water and screaming intercut with a barely adequate CGI shark swimming in circles, never appearing to bite anyone. But Shark Exorcist got me thinking. Or rather it advanced a line of thinking that’s been tugging at my brain for a few years now. Do I, or any of us really, have a right to mock, and disparage this film? And for that matter any film of its ilk. Isn’t that like eating a steady diet of fast food and then cursing McDonald’s for our heart disease?

What I mean is this. Going into this did I truly expect to see an early Romero, Carpenter, or Raimi, picture? And if I did, how stupid am I? The fact is I did not. I plopped down my 2.99 fully expecting precisely the drivel I was given. So, why then should I feel entitled to tear it a new asshole? Yes, it’s inept, incompetent, and aspires to be half-assed when it grows up. But here’s the thing, and this is what’s been nagging me for years. Do I, and by extension others, watch this shit so we can feel somehow better about ourselves. Does it help knowing that no matter how much I screw up in life, I can always say ‘well, at least I didn’t make Shark Exorcist.’ You’re damned right it does.

Still it takes a lot of chutzpah to make a film this bad. It takes even more balls to put your name on it as though people won’t throw rocks at you if they discover you’re responsible for this atrocity. Like trying to cop a feel of Ronda Rousey ballsy. Now I don’t know if writer/director Donald Farmer and company had any artistic aspirations, and if they did how they became this fucked up between their brain and the finished(?) product. Perhaps it was all just a shameless cash grab.  All I know is Shark Exorcist looks like Nancy Kerrigan’s painful wail of “Why?” has taken physical form. No one involved seems to really know what they are doing. It ultimately doesn’t even work as schlock cinema. And while my monthly student loan bill eats away any hope of retirement savings, it shouts at me to tell you this is a soul crushing film (which I’ve just done. Yeah, I can sleep tonight). However, I must wonder how much responsibility I should shoulder in causing others to inflict this disease upon themselves. Does my warning to avoid Shark Exorcist, no matter how emphatic, amount to little more than a dare to the foolhardy.

 

Director: Donald Farmer

Screenplay: Donald Farmer

Cinematographer: Ruston Henry Jr. and Jamie Nichols

Film Editing: Alaine Huntington and Jamie Nichols

Music: Tony Proffer

 

With: Angela Kerecz (Ali), Bobby Kerecz (Father Michael), James Balsamo (Randy), Alaine Huntington (Mother Mary), Roni Jonah (Nancy Chase), Christy Moritz (Sister Blair), Channing Dodson (Emily), Lexi Nimmo (Holly), Julia Contrenchis (Jayne), and A Crappy CGI Shark (A Crappy CGI Shark)

Color-71 excruciating minutes

You can tell she’s possessed because she wears blue eyeshadow.

 

LOOK

 

 

 

 

A Little More

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEVEN DAYS.

 

Night And The City (1950)

Night and The City (1950)

O.K. kiddies The Monkey has a terrific one for you today. It is the superb late Filnight_and_the_city_ver3_xlgm Noir from England, Night and The City. Now, part of the reason The Monkey is such a mopey bastard half the time, is because he watches waaaay too much Noir. And it’s hard to be mister sunshine and fart rainbows when you spend hour after hour watching a genre of film that screams it doesn’t matter what you do because you’re fucked anyway. I mean even in its best moments Noir tells you that the harder you try to get out of your miserable situation the further back you’ll find you are. Anyway, on to the flick.

Night and The City is directed by the always masterful Jules Dassin. He is also responsible for the equally impressive Noir The Naked City and two of the earliest heist films Riffi and Topkapi. Dassin was blacklisted while he was shooting Night, and let me tell you anyone held that suspect by the man is my kind of people.

Night and The City concerns a two-bit bar hustler named Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark, my favorite Noir actor). Fabian comes up with a plan to corner the wrestling market in London. Yeah you heard me right wrestling. Arrayed against him is London’s leading mobster and wrestling promoter Kristo (the always shady Herbert Lom), Fabian’s lover Helen Nosseros (Googie Withers. Isn’t that the best name ever), and Helen’s husband Philip Nosseros (Francis L. Sullivan).

One of the most delightful aspects of Night is the cinematography. Unlike many lesser Noir where low-key light and a big city setting are there because that’s what you do in a Noir, Night imbues them with a living, creeping, palpable menace. The darkness in Night is not a simple  lack of light, but instead comes from the dark souls of those which Harry surrounds himself. The darkness shrouds the many dangers of Fabians own dark and exploitive nature. It also hides the assassin after Fabian, more than it conceals Fabian. It is in this darkness that Harry drags himself and all those around him to their inevitable demise. The only source of light in Harry’s life is Mary (Gene Tierney). Fabian has so isolated himself from her in his quest for success, that he spends most of the last third of the film in a world of black and grey.

016-night-and-the-city-theredlist

In other Noirs, the viewer can often feel the protagonist can get ahead if he would just have the sense to leave the city. Often, they do, but their deeds follow them. In Night, no such hope exists for Fabian. London is his prison, and its tenements and towers only force him onward, onward, ever onward in a mad dash towards his hoped for impossible escape from the city. These hopes of escaping across the Thames by boat or by bridges are thwarted by the opportunistic waterfront thieves and swindlers Fabian once called friends.

Night and The City also makes for a fun party drinking game. The rules are simple. Every time someone uses a form of the phrase “You’re a dead man, Harry Fabian,” you take a drink. Now while I have mentioned this I should add that The Monkey takes no responsibility for your medical expenses from the severe alcohol poisoning that will result. Whatever you goal is, be it getting blind stinking drunk or viewing a gem of Film Noir, I urge you to watch Night and The City as soon as you can. If nothing else, it will make all your troubles seem trivial compared to those of Harry Fabian.

Director: Jules Dassin

Screenplay: Jo Eisinger; based on the novel by Gerald Kersh

Cinematographer: Max Greene

Film Editing: Nick De Maggio, Sidney Stone

Music: Franz Waxman

With: Richard Widmark (Harry Fabian), Gene Tierney (Mary Bristol), Googie Withers (Helen Nosseross), Hugh Marlowe (Adam Dunn), Francis L. Sullivan (Philip Nosseross), Herbert Lom (Kristo), Stanislaus Zbyszko (Gregorius), Mike Mazurki (the Strangler), Charles Farrell (Mickey Beer), Ada Reeve (Molly the Flower Lady), Ken. Richmond (Nikolas of Athens)

Black &White-95 minutes

Buy