Produced by Roger Corman and directed by Declan O’Brien, the 2010 horror B-movie Sharktopus is every bit as ridiculous as it sounds. The screenplay by Mike MacLean does the job of merging a shark with an octopus for despicable purposes, while the cinematography of Santiago Navarrete navigates the bevy of beach beauties.
Some monster movie watchers may find similarities between Sharktopus and Lamberto Bava’s 1984 film Monster Shark, which featured a mutated octopus/Dunkleosteus amalgam that crunched on swimmers and tourists somewhere in Florida.
In the case of Sharktopus, the United States Navy has commissioned a group known as Blue Water (get it?) to create a shark/octopus hybrid for use as some sort of military weapon. Dr. Nathan Sands oversees the program, while his daughter Nicole (Sara Malakul Lane) wrote the program for the creature.
One day, the Sharktopus gets loose from its technological fetters and heads toward Mexico. It rampages through swimmers, tourists and bungee-jumpers. Nicole and Nathan hire a mercenary (Kerem Bürsin) to track the monster, while reporter Stacy Everheart (Liv Boughn) is trying to hunt down the big story.
The good news is that Sharktopus doesn’t take a minute of itself seriously. That leads to some hysterical death scenes, like when two guys are sitting on a scaffold considering different ways to die right before the octopus part of the shark does the dirty work.
The Sharktopus itself makes for a hilarious conception. It looks a little like a shark with a tentacle sarong and can apparently use said appendages to climb up on land a little in case it feels like swiping a car or something. O’Brien makes no bones about pushing the creature to its limits.
Of course, the CGI isn’t the greatest and most of the aforementioned sequences are obscured by slipshod editing and weird positioning. Water splashes just the right way to make sure the kills aren’t fully seen and blood sploshes in all the right places to avoid any serious harm to the made-for-TV psyche.
Roberts is the big name on the ticket and he puts in the sort of performance seen from campy 1950s villains. Corman pops by as a shady old dude on the beach. He gets to pinch a gold doubloon after the death of a prototypical blonde, which sassily delineates the basic feature of Sharktopus and other movies like it.
There is also the host of some sort of pirate radio station (Ralph Garman) and his sexy assistant Stephie (Stacy Hennessy). Stephie breaks the news of the Sharktopus by saying it’s “armed and dangerous,” uncorking one of the flick’s many enthusiastic puns.
Sharktopus works because it’s self-aware enough to float some seriously silly jokes. It’s a slice of B-movie trash, but it’s watchable and sunlit enough to pull through its 90-minute runtime without much damage. If only the same could be said for those poor, poor bungee jumpers.