Sunday, February 26, 2012


Blondie Comics Monthly #39 and Chic Young’s Dagwood Comics #15 are
further evidence of how little I really know about the comic books
published in December, 1951, the month of my birth.  I had assumed
these Harvey Comics titles were reprints from the Blondie newspaper
comic strips.  But the Blondie cover promises “all-new stories” and
the Dagwood cover does the same, adding that “Dagwood is a riot of
fun in his very own comics.”

The Grand Comics Datebase only has the cover for these two issues.
Were they reprints from the newspaper strips and only new to comic
books?  Or were all-new stories created especially for these comic
books?  If anyone can enlighten me on this matter, I would love to
hear from them.  E-mail me whenever you’d like.

Super Shark [Retro Media; $19.99] was one of two shark movies I was
saving for a special occasion.  My lingering bout with some sort of
flu turned out to be that occasion, but I can’t blame my cinematic
selection on illness.  I love cheesy monster movies, especially of
the giant monster variety.  If I were in perfect health, I’d still
watch Super Shark with a smile on my face.

Written and directed by Fred Olen Ray, Super Shark kicks off when
illegal oil drilling methods at sea trigger an earthquake which, in
turn, releases an enormous prehistoric shark that can use its fins
to walk on land.  It’s super-strong, impervious to bullets and can
leap high enough to bring down a fighter plane, albeit a low-flying
fighter plane.

Ray has been making low-to-medium-budget films since the 1980s or
so.  Super Shark shows his ability to make the most of a smallish
budget.  There’s no mistaking the film for a Hollywood extravaganza
or anything, but it’s a fun 86 minutes of man versus shark with a
touch of social commentary.  It makes me want to see if my library
system has any other Ray films available.

With the exception of John Schneider and Jimmie JJ Walker, the cast
does a decent job with some players rising above and beyond.  Sarah
Lieving’s fired federal investigator with a grudge against the oil
companies and a flexible view of the law is tough and vulnerable as
she tries to bring down Schneider’s sleazy oil exec.  Tim Abell is
equally good as the divorced and cynical charter boat skipper who
she hires.  I wouldn’t mind seeing their characters in some future
giant monster movie.

Schneider sleepwalks through the movie.  His lack of enthusiasm is
evident in every scene.  Walker is an annoying stereotype, but I’m
not going to be as hard on him.  He didn’t look well in his scenes
and I suspect that affected his performance.

The CGI effects are what they are; we’ve all seen worse.  The fight
between “Super Shark” and a walking tank were the hardest to take.
There are surprises in the movie and an only slightly implausible
ending that still manages to be satisfying. 

The social commentary?  Lieving’s comparing oil companies to sharks
is quick enough to work for me.  Schneider’s quoting of Sarah Palin
- “Drill, baby, drill!” - is too much.

Super Shark gave me what I asked for: an hour-and-a-half of movie
fun.  I recommend it to fellow devotees of cheesy monster movies.
Because they know where I’m coming from.


I wasn’t expecting as much from 2-Headed Shark Attack [The Asylum
Home Entertainment; $14.95].  Though I’ve enjoyed several of the
low-budget, swiftly-produced monster movies from The Asylum, this
one’s admittedly catchy title was  its strongest element. But, as I always
do with cheesy monster movies, I was open to being entertained.  As
sometimes happens with cheesy monster movies, not even that
modest goal was met.

The basic plot...without explanation, the giant (but not as giant
as Super Shark) two-headed shark makes its appearance and lunches
on several people.  We cut to a ship carrying a teacher and several
students, a “semester at sea” kind of thing.  The monster damages
the ship and the students head to a nearby deserted atoll to await
repairs.  Things get worse.

The creature eats the pilot of the ship when she tries to patch
a hole in the hull.  The students on the atoll experience a quake
caused by the creature busting up the coral reef on which the atoll
sits.  They find a couple small boats and get them running.  Then
it’s just the sharks dining on kids and sailors during trips back
and forth to the boat.  Oh, yeah, the atoll starts sinking, which
means everyone will be on the menu soon.

Four positives.  Brooke Hogan is actually pretty compelling playing
a common sense student who hasn’t been in the water since she was
a kid and came face to face with a shark.  As two of her fellow
students, David Gallegos and Ashley Bissing give good performances.
Fourth and final, the “trapped on a sinking atoll” is a nice scary
twist to the usual shark movie scenarios.

Negatives?  The title monster never looked good.  Not in the CGI
shots and not in the shots when the life-sized rubber heads of the
creature(s) were chewing up victims.  If your title monster looks
dumb, then everything else has to be terrific and almost nothing in
the film was even adequate.

Carmen Electra and Charlie O’Connell, the other two stars billed on
the DVD cover, were so inadequate as to be sleep-inducing.  Electra
did more posing and sunbathing than acting and even managed to make
that uninteresting.  O’Connell acted as if he were on sedatives and
that was even before his character got injured. 

I had more fun doing research for this review than I did watching
the movie.  Did you know that The Asylum has produced 100
movies in just 15 years?  To quote from Wikipedia:

The Asylum work schedule is typically four months from decision to
create a title to finished product, with the script finished within
four to six weeks. Pre-production is afforded only a few weeks,
production is "a couple of weeks. In the case of Mega Piranha, it
took longer because it was shot in Belize. Filming takes an average
of 12 to 15 pages of the script a day.

Then there was this coincidence: 2-Headed Shark Attack was directed
by Christopher Ray, son of Fred Olen Ray.  He also directed Mega
Shark vs Crocosaurus
and Reptisaurus, a 2009 movie said to be based
on the Charlton comic book of the 1960s.  I’ve only seen a preview
of the latter.

2-Headed Shark Attack will almost certainly show up on SyFy sooner
or later and, when it does, all you’ll miss from the version I saw
will be four naked breasts before they get eaten with the fetching
young ladies sporting them.  This being the Internet and all, I’m
sure any one wishing to see naked breasts won’t have too difficult
a time finding them online. 

Even by my “cheesy monster movies” standard, 2-Headed Shark Attack
doesn’t make the grade.  Take a pass on it.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. When I finally get my review of 2-Headed Shark Attack posted on my DVD Late Show site, you'll find that my opinion of the flick is much like yours....

  2. I'm not familiar with the Blondie comics of this era, but 10 years later in the early 60s they opened with a new 10-page story (art by Paul Fung Jr.) and then filled out with "stories" made from comic strips welded together (two Sunday strips with the same theme could be connected to make a four pager, etc.)

  3. Charlie O'Connell should totally make a movie with Frank Stallone and Joe Estevez.

  4. When I went to Wal Mart last year they had a six pack of Sci Fi creature films. One of them was Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus with Lorenzo Lamas. It was very funny. Not reading the credits,as a usually don't with cheesey movies like these, are they made by Fred Olen Ray?

    I also like the cheesey sci fi movies on the sy fy channel. Sy Fy Channel of late has become a joke and a shadow of it's former self. That doesn't prevent them from making the worst movies ever. They need competitor. I go online and watch the worst of them and some of the sci fi series too.

    Stargate Universe, the canceled sequel show, was bad. It didn't live up to the promise of it's former shows. It tried to be Battlestar Galactica (the new SY FY one) too much.

    Again, I do like cheesey sy fy so at one point, I will check it out.