My 6-year-old daughter’s favorite horror movie is and always has been Jaws and she is always looking to watch shark movies, all of them, any of them. Luckily, in today’s day and age we have a plethora of shark movies, mostly thanks to the great people at Asylum Studios and the big success of Sharknado. Now most of these movies are one off, low budget made for SyFy flicks released by unknown by directors with an unknown cast but there is one franchise that exists outside of Sharknado and that franchise is THE MULTI-HEADED SHARK ATTACK franchise. Monthly here at Horror Bound I do a series review/deep dive and in honor of Shark Week here is a special entry into that series as I review this often-overlooked franchise.
2-Headed Shark Attack
This film was released before Sharknado and includes a fair bit of nudity which hasn’t been common in Asylum films since most are made for TV movies, but this one definitely has the boobs. Come to think of it, this movie had a very large emphasis on the very large breasts of most of its cast throughout, lots of zoom-ins on Carmen Electra and Brooke Hogan’s chest for not much reason, lots of beach running and a skinny dip scene where two topless girls are eaten, each by a different head of the 2-Headed Shark.
The plot of 2-Headed Shark Attack follows a group of college co-eds on a semester at sea aboard the Sea King, a boat owned and managed by Professor Franklin Babish (Charlie O’Connell) and his wife Dr. Anne Babish (Carmen Electra) who is always posing on the boat in her daisy dukes, but I digress. One average day at sea, the boat becomes disabled when a shark gets caught in the propellers, when one of the crew goes into the water to try to fix the boat she is attacked by the 2-Headed Shark, who also damages the radio. The rest of the crew and the college co-eds take some smaller boats to a nearby atoll to look for scrap metal to try to fix the boat.
Does the story really matter in a 2-Headed Shark Movie? Not really and one barely exists. It’s essentially that there’s a broken-down boat in the ocean and kids on an island who need to get back to the boat but lurking in the water between the two is an abomination of nature, the 2-headed shark! Each of the characters are a stereotype to the highest degree. There’s a nerdy guy pining over the cute girl, a douchebag bro who you want to see eaten the whole movie, a very beautiful girl who also is secretly tough and smart, in this case played by Brooke Hogan who, much like Ricky Bobby in his first post victory interview, doesn’t exactly know what to do with her hands. I know, I know, its not nice to poke fun, her acting is great in this film, she just flails about a bit and you can tell in some scenes they tried to frame just on her face (and bosom) as to not make it noticeable, but it is.
After a series of unfortunate events like the boat sinking, the island sinking, an impending hurricane, an extended boat race sequence and the deaths of over twenty college co-eds, the shark is finally defeated the same way that Jaws was with a gas canister in its mouth. About the shark, it’s worth noting that a fair amount of the shark seen in this movie is real, true to life practical effects which is both surprising and refreshing. Too often in these low budget flicks they rely on cheap CGI which is often off-putting and is more laughable than scary. The practical effects in 2-Headed Shark Attack really elevate it beyond other sharksploitation movies and it’s no wonder it had so many sequels. 2-Headed Shark Attack is streaming free on Amazon Prime and Tubi, go check it out.
3-Headed Shark Attack
I can just imagine the board meeting when they decided to make this sequel, discussion had to go something like this:
“Ok people, 2-Headed Shark Attack was a success and the sequel has the green light! How can we improve?”
“Great idea Jim, what else?”
“What if we got Danny Trejo and a bunch of pro-wrestlers to be the cast?”
“You know Cynthia, that’s just fantastic! Your input is greatly appreciated in these meetings. Now, what about the story?”
Now I cannot reveal my sources, but my sister’s brother’s uncle’s cousin knows a guy who used to work with a guy who told me that he knows someone who was there that said not even the crickets had any input.
Let me be nice, there are teens having a beach party who are attacked, a research lab under the sea, which is attacked and a group of environmental activists who are also attacked by the 3-Headed Shark. That’s about it. There is a separated couple who have some bit of character development and by the end of the movie they get back together but that’s about it in terms of story. The shark gets decapitated by Danny Trejo but the shark grows three more heads and then eats him. There is a shoddy attempt at science to explain that the shark is somehow attracted to ocean pollution. Finally, in the climax of the film, WWE Superstar RVD (aka Mr. Monday Night) sacrifices himself to the 3-headed shark who then proceeds to bite off all 3 of its own heads killing itself.
Like most second entries in franchises, this one didn’t meet expectations set out by the original and was essentially a flop. I think far too often film makers think in terms of what can we do to be bigger and better instead of how we can make a good sequel. Bigger, better, stronger, faster sometimes leads to campier, cheesier and more absurd. The great thing about Asylum and their movies is that no matter what, they have more money to make more movies since the budgets are so low.
5-Headed Shark Attack
You may be asking, what ever happened to a 4 headed shark? Why skip right to 5? Well when this movie starts out the shark only has four heads and throughout the film the shark grows a fifth head, on its tail. That’s right, the fifth head is the tail with teeth, and eyes. Now you would think that this would inhibit the shark’s swimming, but it doesn’t. The shark chases down and kills whales, it knocks over boats, it swims so fast that it propels itself out of the water flying through the air chewing off people’s heads and finally, uses its heads as feet to walk up on shore and hunt people down.
This entry really goes back to the roots of the franchise, super beautiful people stuck on a boat being hunted by a mutant shark. The movie opens with the 4-Headed Shark eating four bikini models at the same time, we then cut to a research ship with a group of scientists, who I am convinced are the same actors as the bikini models, who are studying sharks or something in the ocean. Again, this one doesn’t have much of a story. There are people on a boat, a mutant shark is in the water and the shark eats the people. Simple, easy, uncomplicated.
For this movie they went full CGI on the shark and it looks great! The filmmakers know it’s great too, because a large portion of this movie is just shots of the shark swimming around, eating orcas and its tail morphing into the fifth head. This film was made after the Sharknado craze and its influence is clear as this one is a bit absurd, especially with the morphing shark tail and the shark using its heads to walk on land. 5-Headed Shark Attack is one of the better entries in the series and a return to form for the series, at this point it could have stopped at a wonderful trilogy but leave it to Asylum to keep it going. This one is also on Prime, go check it out!
6-Headed Shark Attack
Just when you think that maybe 5 heads were a bit too much, Asylum went ahead and added a 6th head and not in some bullshit way with a head on the tail. Six whole fully formed shark heads in the spot where a head should be. To me, this is the superior of all the multi-headed shark movies. The story, yes one exists, the anatomically correct shark, the absurd over the top scenes, all of it.
The story follows a group of dysfunctional couples on an island retreat hoping to heal their relationships with the help of a love guru, who happens to be on the outs with his wife. While the couples do weird relationship building activities they are suddenly attacked by the dreaded 6-Headed Shark who now has improved ability to walk on land using its heads as feet. Much like other entries in the series a storm rolls in and there is a boat that they need to get to so the can save themselves but what sets this movie apart from the others is the cast.
In 2-Headed Shark Attack the actors were just a group of random victims, interchangeable and irrelevant. 3-Headed had unique characters like Danny Trejo and RVD but no one you’re emotionally invested in and in 5-Headed Shark the main actors are indistinguishable from the extras eaten in the opening sequence. But 6-Headed Shark had characters that you care about, you root for Mary to leave her bummy husband Duke for the love guru William. You look forward to the shark eating the promiscuous Daphne and the moment where the Norwegian hipster couple sacrifices themselves to the shark to save one another will almost bring a tear to your eye. Almost. This one is also streaming on Amazon Prime.
All in all, the Multi-Headed Shark Attack Franchise is a fantastic series which is certainly worth watching. The all have a few spooky moments that will make you jump, decent effects that don’t pull you out of the movie completely, cringey acting throughout and plot holes galore which will make you chuckle. The horror connoisseur may turn up their nose and scoff at these seemingly cheap, campy movies but you shouldn’t. Watching these movies supports independent filmmaking Asylum and their head David Michael Latt is a modern-day Roger Corman, producing tons of films and giving opportunities to up and coming actors, directors and crew. There are plenty of low budget movies that become classics, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Manos and Rawhead Rex and if we as viewers disregard these films because they are cheap, poorly made or absurd we may miss out on the next cult classic.
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