Steven Spielberg’s JAWS is not only a classic that spawned countless rip-offs, but it also has one of the most iconic movie poster designs of all time. The visual of a peaceful female swimmer just moments away from being devoured by a giant shark has been burned into audience’s heads for years.
The recent trend of Japanese sharksploitation releases has not only stolen the classic movie title, but has also taken the aquatic horror genre to the next level with some fantastic and frightening artwork. Let’s take a look at the best cover art of the bunch!
DOUBLE HEAD JAWS aka 2-HEADED SHARK ATTACK
A fantastic throwback to the classic JAWS 2 water skier poster, this time around two female water skiers are about to be swallowed by this duel headed monstrosity. An effective sharksploitation poster for the Monster Energy Drink generation.
TRIPLE HEAD JAWS aka 3-HEADED SHARK ATTACK
For such a silly premise, the artwork for TRIPLE HEAD JAWS is phenomenal. It’s way more suspenseful and effective than the U.S. poster release. There’s a great use of visual storytelling here with the three-headed shark taking out two victims and the look of impending doom on the third soon-to-be fatality.
FLYING JAWS aka SWAMP SHARK
FLYING JAWS is an interesting alternate title for this SyFy Channel production since the two best death scenes occur when the shark goes airborne. FLYING JAWS is somewhat of a misleading poster. It doesn’t include the distinguished green and scaly SWAMP SHARK from the film. But besides that, the poster is really epic and awesome. The scale of the shark and the wake of destruction heading towards the boat evoke pure dread.
LOST JAWS aka RAIDERS OF THE LOST SHARK
Unlike the other films on this list, LOST JAWS uses the same poster art as the U.S. release, only the title has been changed. There is a great mix of the old school thrills of a 1980’s adventure film with the rising threat of the sharkspoitation genre. Unfortunately, the film itself doesn’t come close to the expectations the poster evokes. But it is refreshing to see girls fighting back at the terrifying behemoth rather than them becoming the next meal.
JAWS ATTACK 2 aka DEVIL FISH
JAWS ATTACK 2 is the oldest film on the list as you can tell by the VHS cover. Its brilliant imagery of the Helen Hunt look-a-like rushing to shore moments before she’s eaten. And it’s really frightening! The orange dusk setting is very atmospheric and adds a great sense of loneliness and dismay.
JAWS IN JAPAN aka PSYCHO SHARK
JAWS IN JAPAN is the only film on this list shot in Japan. An unknowing bikini-clad girl relaxing on a raft while a larger than life aquatic threat rises up from the depths beneath her. Strangely enough, usually the shark on the poster is somewhat accurate to the giant one in the film. I wouldn’t advise seeking JAWS IN JAPAN out. This film has a running time of 70 minutes, but nothing happens in the first 60. However the payoff at the end could be one of the most bizarre endings I’ve seen in this genre.
JAWS RETURN aka JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK
The first thing that comes to my mind when I see this poster is the DEEP BLUE SEA. You can easily see the inspiration of losing Saffron Burrows and replacing her with the bikini girl. Funny enough the recent SHARKANSAS WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE uses a similar shark and swaps out our Jersey girl with five strapped female convicts.
JAWS IN TSUNAMI aka MALIBU SHARK ATTACK
At first I thought this was the poster for the sharks in the supermarket epic BAIT. In actuality it’s MALIBU SHARK ATTACK. I guess I was thrown off because the tsunami in MALIBU SHARK ATTACK brings an angry school of goblin sharks, which is missing from the poster. This image of a shark swimming through an aquatic wasteland is most definitely the weakest poster art on the list.
The mid-air attack of a Great White shark is a terrifying and dramatic sight to behold. With the crescent shape looming above and the giant mouth of a prehistoric shark gaping to gulp its human prey adds another dimension of terror.
It is typical to view sharks attacking from above the surface or perhaps rising from the depths, but here’s an underwater example of faceless terror. SHARK SWARM serves up a single female victim presented on a bikini platter for hundreds of sharks to devour as an afternoon snack!