Welcome to Jaws Week! When it was announced that Steven Spielberg's Jaws was arriving on Blu-ray, we thought it'd be perfect to dedicate an entire week to the movie that created the summer blockbuster. Every day this week we'll be posting an assortment of really fun features tied to the film, its production, its legacy, its fans, its merchandise and so much more.
We're devoting an entire week to Jaws, the movie monster who made millions of people afraid to go in the ocean, but he's far from the only aquatic terror to sniff blood in the water. Given some of the wild battles we've seen play out in films like the classic Godzilla vs. King Kong and the so-bad-it's-almost-good Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, we wondered which of Hollywood's sea monsters would provide the toughest matchup for the the iconic great white.
With that in mind, here are 10 creatures we'd like to see Jaws battle, with some thoughts on how the matchup might occur, and who would be the likely victor.
Sharktopus (Sharktopus, 2010)
Half-shark, half-octopus, the monster in this film produced by Roger Corman is all awesome, and could give Jaws a tough time if they ever bumped fins (or in Sharktopus' case, tentacles). The scenario that brings these two creatures together is easy enough to set up, given that they're both oceanic predators with a thirst for blood (overlapping feeding grounds, perhaps), but one has to wonder whether Sharktopus' extra appendages will be enough to match the brute strength and cunning of the more experienced predator, Jaws.
Likely Winner: Jaws. The tentacles make Sharktopus the initial favorite, but that advantage could easily be turned to Jaws' favor, as the multitude of arms just gives the great white shark more to bite, thrash, and eventually, chew up into a truly impressive assortment of sushi. Still, this one is likely to be a hard-fought battle, so it could go either way in the end.
Flying Piranhas (Piranha II: The Spawning, 1981)
The flutter of wings and the screams of beachgoers heralded the directorial debut of James Cameron in this sequel to 1978's Piranha, and the second film upped the ante by giving the ravenous little buggers wings. The meeting of these two monsters -- well, one big monster and a bunch of little, flying monsters -- is easy enough to arrange, given that the Piranha movies ignore the fishes' freshwater habitat and have them swimming in (and flying over) the ocean. It's a classic battle of the one versus the many, and the piranhas' wings won't give them much of an advantage in the water.
Likely Winner: Jaws takes this one due to his ability to leap out of the water and consume about a dozen piranha in one monstrous gulp. Sure, the flying piranha will have an advantage on land, but once they return to the water, Jaws will make a dinner out of these appetizer-size predators. He might lose a few chunks of flesh, sure, but we're talking about a shark who shrugs off a harpoon and several pounds of explosives.
The Kraken (Clash of the Titans, 1981)
For the sake of this list, let's go with the 1981 version of this massive monster from the depths -- if only because we like that one better than the 2010 computer-generated version. This is a tough matchup for Jaws, as the Kraken has the size advantage and the whole "I can only be stopped by gazing at Medusa's severed head" thing. Just in case Jaws did anger the Greek gods by trying to snack on Zeus while he was pretending to be a bird of some sort (since this happens from time to time in Greek mythology) or busting a whole in one of Poseidon's underwater temples, he'd have a rough time when the big guys decided to go all "Release the Kraken!" on him.
Likely Winner: Jaws might be able to take a few big chunks out of the Kraken while using the big bad monster's size against him, but in the end, it's hard to imagine a shark -- no matter how big, fast, or smart -- taking down the scourge of Poseidon's kingdom.
The Crocodile (Lake Placid, 1999)
Giant, man-eating crocodile vs. giant, man-eating shark has all the makings of a classic Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman bout. This is where it's at, folks -- two titans going tooth to tooth, and the water running red with their blood. When it comes to aquatic monsters, this is the pretty much the Godzilla vs. King Kong of brawls, and given both creatures' fondness for grabbing a snack at the public beach, this one's an easy setup. (Okay, there's the whole saltwater vs. freshwater thing, but when have we paid any attention to that?)
Likely Winner: I was going to call this one a tie, but just like the aforementioned Godzilla vs. King Kong, a draw goes to the reigning champion, and in this case, that's Jaws. The shark has the franchise and box-office advantage, so it's easy to guess how the tides will shift in this one. I'm not sure how or why Jaws will win, but this matchup is clearly above my pay grade, and will likely go to the monster who has more to lose. Still, I'd like to think the fight will go on for a while until both monsters simply give each other a nod of respect and move along.
Godzilla (Godzilla, 1954)
He did most of his damage on land, but make no mistake, the sea has always been Godzilla's home. In many of the Godzilla movies, either the monster he's attacking or Godzilla himself is urged into battle as a response to a greater threat. In this case, let's pretend that Godzilla has been unintentionally woken from his slumber yet again, and in order to slow down his journey toward the nearest city, the government somehow sends Jaws after him -- a "lesser of two evils" approach, perhaps. Does the giant shark stand a chance?
Likely Winner: Yeah, this one's almost certainly going to the big guy with the atomic breath, and I'm actually a little excited about the prospect of seeing Godzilla body-slam Jaws at some point during the brawl. Sure, Jaws has an advantage in the water, but Godzilla knows judo. Advantage: Godzilla.
Piranhaconda (Piranhaconda, 2011)
This one's part piranha and part anaconda, but it's 100-percent deadly… if you're a dimwitted henchman or screaming girl in a bikini, that is. Let's just assume that Jaws and Piranhaconda (I love writing and saying that name, by the way) end up brawling when one takes a bite out of the other's offspring. It doesn't matter which one did the biting, folks -- just go with me here. This leads to Jaws and Piranhaconda (love it!) brawling in the depths like a couple of, well… vicious, man-eating monsters.
Likely Winner: I'm actually going to give this one to Piranhaconda, because he's uniquely suited toward biting into his prey and then wrapping it up, constrictor-style. Jaws simply doesn't have the agility to match up with Piranhaconda, and the latter's set of teeth certainly doesn't leave much room for mistakes in this brawl. If Jaws can get a good bite in, he has a chance, but Piranhaconda just might be a Jaws killer.
Giant Squid (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1954)
All tentacles and teeth, the creature from this 1954 Walt Disney classic almost sank the most advanced submarine in the world, and nearly took out Spartacus himself, Kirk Douglas. That's no small accomplishment, so a battle between the giant squid and Jaws seems like a no-brainer. Heck, if you're feeling brave, throw in Captain Nemo and the Nautilus and blow everyone's mind.
Likely Winner: Jaws probably has this one wrapped up, as he's got the mobility in the water and the ability to slice right through the squid's tentacles with a well-aimed bite. Still, both Jaws and the Giant Squid were once defeated by a crafty boat full of sailors, so there's reason to believe this one could be a closer contest than it seems.
Super-Smart Sharks (Deep Blue Sea, 1999)
Okay, it's shark vs. shark in this one, but wait… these are super-smart sharks. This one boils down to a battle of brains vs. brawn, with the genetically modified sharks of the 1999 film squaring off against juggernaut-like Jaws in a no-holds-barred battle for oceanic supremacy.
Likely Winner: Even if this were judged by which monster had the greatest kill scene, this would be a close one -- both films have their share of "oh my god did that just happen" deaths. I'm going to surprise some people and go with the Deep Blue Sea sharks for the win, as their mix of cunning and intelligent hunting make for a great challenge to the old brute, but I'm not ruling out a final "I'll be back" moment for Jaws, who shows everyone why he's franchise material just as everything seems to be wrapping up.
Zombies (Zombie, 1979)
What, you thought zombies were only dangerous on the land? Clearly you missed the classic scene from this Italian horror movie in which a zombie tries to snack on a shark. And hey, in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world, why wouldn't the zombies eventually make their way to the water looking for flesh to munch? This has all the makings of an epic crossover, people.
Likely Winner: I'm going to go with Jaws on this one, as he has the size, speed, agility, teeth and brain advantage over his zombie opponents, but with enough zombies in the water, the odds could fall another way. Of course, there's also the danger of Jaws becoming Zombie Jaws, which is another film entirely!
The Loch Ness Monster (Incident at Loch Ness, 2004)
You don't get to see much of ol' Nessie in Zak Penn and Werner Herzog's Incident at Loch Ness, but it's one of the only major films to feature the modern mythological creature in a non-cuddly role. Popular culture has the Loch Ness Monster pegged as a kind-hearted creature who just wants to be left alone, but what if that's not the case? What if this relic of a bygone era finds herself threatened by none other than Jaws himself? If these monsters wore gloves, this is the part when they'd come off.
Likely Winner: Sure, Nessie has the size advantage and is probably a dinosaur, so she has that going for her too, for what it's worth. But Jaws is a highly trained killer, people -- and given the challenge of bringing Nessie down, there's a good chance he'd make sure the monster of Loch Ness really did become extinct.
Honorable Mention: The Gill Man (Creature from the Black Lagoon, 1954)
Okay, he's technically from a lagoon, not the ocean, but whatever -- who wouldn't want to see this brawl happen? One of the last Universal Studios monsters to make his big-screen debut, the Gill Man is an enigma wrapped in a riddle, encased in an awesome rubber suit. No one knows much about this monster except that he looks pretty fantastic when he surfaces from the murky depths, which makes it that much easier to set up a confrontation between him and Jaws.
Likely Winner: Jaws seems like the easy pick here, but just for nostalgia's sake, let's go with Gill Man. Maybe beneath all those scales is the mind of a keen strategist, able to outsmart the ocean's fiercest predator and set himself up for a month's worth of shark-fin soup. I want to believe in you, Gill Man.