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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tintorera: Killer Shark (1977)

Where do I even begin with this film? Italian films from this era usually aren’t very good by most people’s standards but this one is in a whole other league. I’ll admit, the first time I watched this movie I hated it for about a half an hour before it started to grow on me, even when it started to get really weird.

Here’s a rundown of the plot. The movie is set on an unnamed Cancun-ish Mexican island in the Caribbean and a rich guy named Steven comes and stays on a fancy party yacht. He takes up spear fishing and goes out with one of the locals to fish for sharks. He meets Gabriella, they have sex and hang out, he starts to get feelings for her so she leaves him and hooks up with the island’s playboy, Miguel. They have sex, she changes her mind and goes for a morning swim to clear her head when she gets horribly devoured by Tintorera, a large tiger shark. Later, Steven confronts Miguel about her whereabouts. Neither knows where she is and they end up becoming bros. They go to parties, pick up chicks and have crazy group sex on Steven’s boat. Aside from the occasional boobage there’s not really any graphic sex scenes.

Blah blah blah boring stuff. Steven and Miguel start a shark hunting business and eventually meet up with this chick named Patricia. They go to the yacht and have a threesome. They come to an agreement to share each other or something weird. Polyandry is what it’s called. Gross! I could never have someone’s sloppy seconds. Anyway, the next time they all go shark hunting Tintorera appears and eats Miguel. Steven is depressed and Patricia goes back home. Steven vows revenge and leads a hunt to kill all the sharks in the area but Tintorera eats some fishermen because he’s a big balla like that.

Steven goes to a beach party and picks up a bunch of people to go have wild “feel better” sex on his boat and they’re like, “Hey! I know there’s a man-eating shark around here but let’s swim to the boat anyway!” So guess who shows up? Tintorera! This is the scene that totally makes the movie worth sitting through. Tintorera, like a dark, avenging angel, comes to punish these young people for their promiscuous and impure ways. It’s a total bloodbath and I was enraptured but the gory special effects. I’m also really freaked out by the thought of being eaten alive so I couldn’t help but groan a few times as I saw hot women get torn apart. Steven goes to kill the shark himself and after getting his arm chomped off, manages to slay the shark. The movie ends with him in a hospital bed thinking about Miguel and Gabriella.

This movie uses real sharks and depicts actual spear fishing. Animals are actually killed on camera so that might turn off a lot of people. Keep in mind though; this movie is almost 35 years old. I thought the whole we’re gonna share a woman thing was kind of gross but that’s just me. After a while though I warmed up to the characters and I thought the whole “eternal tropical vacation” lifestyle the film tried to depict was cool and I really did feel bad for Steven during the montage at the end. The recurring theme in the film is that there is no happiness forever.

Now, as a fan of Italian cinema, I’m inclined to give Tintorera a C+ for being slow and having a retarded story. The main thing I didn’t like was that the film was maybe only 20% about the shark. I think I'm also going to have nightmares after seeing Steven butt naked and wearing only an apron. But on the other hand I’m inclined to give it a B- for effort, the shark effects, and the setting. You can see it for yourself on Netflix here. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Let me know!

Travel in China,

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