— Shark attacks have been a staple of nightmares around the world since 1975, when “Jaws” first arrived in theaters. From their big-screen presence (“Shark Night 3D” opens Sept. 2) to TV (is there anything better than “Shark Week” on Discovery?), we have an unlimited capacity to watch sharks devour everything in their path.
Why have sharks have become the creature of choice for scary movies?
None of the other sea creatures got the terrorizing soundtrack that the title shark did in "Jaws." Is there anyone among us who, stepping into the cold ocean water or standing at the rail of a perfectly safe boat, hasn’t heard the John Williams theme music running through his or her head? A bigger boat may be nice, but a comfy towel, a big beach umbrella and a trashy novel seems like a much safer option.
Many of us love the ocean, but it’s not our home. The farther we go from shore, the more we’re dealing with sea creatures on their own turf. We may hold fantasies that we can outrun or outsmart a bear, but a shark in water? Forget it. We’re human sushi.
The best horror films have a tinge of it-could-happen-to-you that makes everything especially terrifying. You don’t see many news stories about giant squids or piranha, but there is enough hype about real-life shark attacks every summer to give us that extra twinge of fear.
It’s a scientific fact that sharks have approximately one million teeth and jaws that open wide enough to swallow an entire beach house. Or at least, it looks that way when they open their mouths.
TV shows have gotten ratings for years by taunting sharks. They throw blood in the water to attract them, and then send humans down in a protective cage, tantalizingly out of reach. Is it any wonder that they want revenge any chance they can get it?