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De Keuze van Koolhoven: Night of the Jaws Rip-Offs

In De Keuze van Koolhoven, filmmaker and full-blooded cinephile Martin Koolhoven (Winter in Wartime, Brimstone) talks about everything that makes film worthwhile, especially the rich history of the genre film, one of his great favourites. This month Koolhoven considers the often scorned genre of the knock-off, especially the Jaws rip-offs. On Michael Anderson’s mano a mano confrontation with a vindictive orca and a school of extremely bloodthirsty piranhas, directed by no other than Joe Dante.

poster De Keuze van Koolhoven

Dipping into the waves was out forever, or so it seemed after the premiere of Jaws (1975). Spielberg”s nail-biting thriller about the combat between a badass white shark end the sheriff of a pleasant seaside resort on America”s East Coast fast became the all-time classic about our human fear of underwater predators.

With so much genuine appreciation, it”s hardly surprising that the first spoofs and rip-offs soon appeared. Marin Koolhoven champions the cause of filmmakers who ride on the popularity of their predecessors” work, shines a light on the work of Joe Dante (Gremlins, Gremlins 2, TV series Splatters) and shares some hilarious clips from films that have turned into a genre of their own: the Jaws rip-offs.


Orca (Michael Anderson, US 1977, 92”)

Captain Nolan accidentally kills a pregnant killer whale, after which all hell breaks loose. Her grieving partner is out for revenge and goes after the villains. A Dino De Laurentiis production with a remarkable star cast: no other than Charlotte Rampling, Bo Derek and Robert Carradine join Nolan on board the ship. The script was produced by Sergio Donati, co-screenwriter of Once Upon a Time in the West.

Piranha (Joe Dante, US 1978, 94')

A school of piranhas escapes from a pond by accident and spreads throughout the state of Florida at a murderous rate. Complete panic breaks out in every holiday resort when the deadly fish sink their teeth into the flesh of unsuspecting holidaymakers. Director Joe Dante produced a humorous version of the Jaws theme: his piranhas symbolise the rapacious mentality of some holiday resorts. Pino Donaggio wrote the macabre score.


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