Written by / 4/25/2022 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , ,

WILLIAN GREFÉ TURNS 'STANLEY' INTO 'MAKO: JAWS OF DEATH'

Year: 1976
Someone already pointed out that MAKO: THE JAWS OF DEATH is a hybrid of JAWS and a cult classic about a young man with a twisted connection to rats, WILLARD. But this film's director William Grefé's STANLEY, about a slightly older fella hooked on snakes, already borrowed from the WILLARD template, making JAWS OF DEATH a clone of a clone of a clone...

As Richard Jaekel, no stranger to creepy roles despite or even accentuated by his blond-haired, man-next-door look, goes back and forth from the seaside town to the sea itself, where the opening credits of a diver swimming smoothly beside a killer shark proves the introductory scrawl, about how the underwater crew risked their lives in making this motion picture, wasn't just for show: the first two minutes alone defines exploitation cinema at its finest, and riskiest...

Credit sequence for MAKO THE JAWS OF DEATH
But for the fictional story, time moves rather slow like in these kind of shoddy, super low budget films, especially conversations between Jaekel and the sexy tavern-swimming dame he saves from being raped by two town bullies...

Seedy shark-hunters played by cult actors Harold 'Odd Job' Sakata ala GOLDFINGER and John Davis Chandler, who looks like Jaekel's brother from another father... Peter Lorre. And Jennifer Bishop's Karen isn't very wise when Jaekel shows-off two pet sharks he feeds from an estuary below his island shack's floorboard. She actually calls him crazy, right then and there. No other ingenue in a killer fish flick has ever asked for it so much... but that's only the beginning of her extremely predictable/inevitable fate...

Shark falls for a line in Mako: The Jaws of Death
Meanwhile, her boss and boyfriend, and the film's primary exploiter, Buffy Dee as Barney, is the real target: he owns the club where both the girl and Jaekel's trained shark will swim behind glass for the patrons (throwing in a little KING KONG and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG influence)...

Going back to WILLARD, Barney's the Ernest Borgnine character here (who played Bruce Davison's bitter boss), only Jaekel works for no one but himself. And again like STANLEY, practically note-for-note, the girl erotically "dances" with the main character's beloved pet... that he unwittingly sold for that reason, while not realizing the otherwise docile predator would be unfairly harmed: plus there's a trusted doctor that winds up a backstabber, and he also doesn't live very long...

Jennifer Bishop buys the tank in Mako Jaws of Death RATES: ***
But the best, most original scene occurs in the beginning where a fishing charter boat thinks they caught a prized Mako, and in fact, for a few minutes, they have: until ascending angel Jaekel moves in wielding severe yet entertaining ultra-violence... but perhaps too soon...

More similar creative body count moments distributed evenly throughout would've made this a lot more fun for the drive-in audience it seems intentionally made for/catered to.  Instead there's a lot of waiting between preachy talk about protecting sharks from evil humans. It's always more fun when the psychotic lead isn't so idealistic and self-righteous; like SILENT RUNNING, he kills for supposedly forgivable reasons. But for shark cinema enthusiasts, MAKO, definitely more well filmed than well put-together, is something to admire, at least once.
Amazon Prime picture art for MAKO JAWS OF DEATH aka Mako, die Bestie
Jennifer Bishop in MAKO: THE JAWS OF DEATH Mako: Lo squalo della morte
Richard Jaeckel in MAKO: THE JAWS OF DEATH aka THE JAWS OF DEATH with Jennifer Bishop
Richard Jaeckel in MAKO: THE JAWS OF DEATH Mako, el tiburón de la muerte
Richard Jaekel downs beer in MAKO: THE JAWS OF DEATH aka Sti folia tou dolofonou karharia
Richard Jaekel in MAKO JAWS OF DEATH aka KILLER JAWS tapping for...
The trained killer Mako Shark from MAKO JAWS OF DEATH aka Mako, der Killerhai
Harold Sakata and John Davis Chandler working odd jobs in MAKO JAWS OF DEATH
Chief bad guy promotor Buffy Dee with Richard Jaekel in MAKO JAWS OF DEATH
Jennifer Bishop and Richard Jaekel in MAKO JAWS OF DEATH aka Mako, o Tubarão Assassino
 John Davis Chandler getting stinking in MAKO JAWS OF DEATH with Harold 'Odd Job' Sakata
A shark and Richard Jaekel in MAKO: THE JAWS OF DEATH aka Denizin Disleri
Richard Jaekel at this movie's version of Skull Island in MAKO JAWS OF DEATH
"I think it's a MAKO: JAWS OF DEATH..." "It's a Tiger... or... Hammerhead Shark..." "A Whaaaaaaaat?"
A cute looking shark in MAKO JAWS OF DEATH aka Mako, el tiburón de la muerte aka Denizin Disleri
Intrepid Underwater Sequences from MAKO THE JAWS OF DEATH
Intrepid Underwater Sequences from MAKO THE JAWS OF DEATH
Intrepid Underwater Sequences from MAKO THE JAWS OF DEATH
Intrepid Underwater Sequences from MAKO THE JAWS OF DEATH
Harold Sakata does an odd job of killing sharks unfairly in MAKO JAWS OF DEATH
Peter Lorre-looking John Davis Chandler in MAKO THE JAWS OF DEATH
Flipper actor Luke Halpin as Officer Two in MAKO with Richard O'Barry
Flipper actor Luke Halpin as Officer Two in MAKO THE JAWS OF DEATH
Here are the guys and one girl who swam with sharks for MAKO THE JAWS OF DEATH
The shark tooth made especially for the movie in MAKO THE JAWS OF DEATH
Mako: JAWS OF DEATH


 


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