Top Horror Films – #7 – Jaws

1975; directed by Steven Spielberg; screenplay by Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb, from the novel by Peter Benchley

Allen: The birth of the blockbuster film was here, with Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. American film throughout the late 60s and into the 70s was dominated by personal, independent films made by rebellious filmmakers. With Jaws, and subsequently Star Wars, film was brought back to simpler times with good guys being good guys and bad guys being bad guys. The summer blockbuster season as we know it today is directly influenced by this film.

What makes the movie so effective is that we simply do not see the shark until well in to the movie. Instead, we see glimpses of it, like its fin poking itself out of the water. We also see the destruction and mayhem this animal causes as it attacks its victims. It’s almost more terrifying to see a person being dragged underwater without ever seeing what it is that is causing it; we allow our imaginations to fill in the blanks. When the shark does make its appearance, with a great reaction shot by Roy Scheider, the film made its mark on audiences of the time, and into the box office record book.

John: The quintessential “nature gone amok” movie. I still feel that after 35 years this is Spielberg’s best film. When the characters are as interesting as the monster, you know you have a good movie. I actually think part 2 is OK, but 3 and 4 are two of the worst movies ever made.

Team Rankings:
Ed – #2
John – #5
Jeremy – #6
Allen – #8
Spencer – #9
Brandi – #17


Brandi is one of those people who worries about kids these days not appreciating black and white films. She also admires great moments of subtlety, since she has no idea how to be subtle herself.

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