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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: House Shark

August 29, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
House Shark

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #474: House Shark

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that never wants to see a shark up close, ever, even in an aquarium (it’s just not worth the risk. You’re there, watching the shark swim around, and then the glass breaks, water and whatnot go everywhere, and you end up as shark food when the damn shark ends up swallowing you whole in the chaos. Hey, it may be a ridiculous fear but you can’t prove to me that it would never happen. Bad shit like that happens all of the time), The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number four hundred and seventy-four, I take a look at the insane low budget horror comedy House Shark, which hit home video in late July, 2018 (and right now you can buy it at your local Walmart).

House Shark

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House Shark, written and directed by Ron Bonk, is an imperfect yet highly entertaining mega low budget horror comedy that doesn’t really need to be almost two hours long. Had the movie been shorter, faster, a little more focused, House Shark would be a modern classic. As it stands now, House Shark is a damn good movie that needs shortening.

The movie stars Trey Harrison as Frank, a divorced former sheriff trying to co-raise his son Theo (Nathan Bonk) with his ex-wife Lady Bird (Melissa LaMartina). When we first meet Frank he’s getting ready to go out on a date for the first time in a long time with a woman named Eleanor (Jennie Russo) and Theo has a babysitter, a young woman named Betsy (Samantha Varga). Frank’s date is a disaster (the woman is, shall we say, less than appealing), but his date pales in comparison to what happens to poor Betsy. See, while going to the bathroom, just sitting alone on the toilet (she’s naked for some reason), she’s attacked through the plumbing by a shark. Frank tries to save Betsy and pull her off the toilet, but the shark’s grip is too tight and the killer fish ends up pulling Betsy into the plumbing and eats her in hilariously gross fashion. This incident, as you’d expect it would, freaks Frank out. As a result, Frank decides to abandon his house and live in a tent in the backyard. The shark can’t get you if you’re outside in the backyard.

Time passes, and as Frank and Theo live in the tent, the local real estate company run by Ronald Reagan (Edward Mastin) tries to get Frank to sell the house. Frank refuses. So Reagan sends in George (Brett Janeski) to get potential people interested in the house. While all of that is going on, Frank starts to research house sharks. How often do sharks take over houses and kill people? Frank’s public library research yields the name of a “house shark expert,” a man named Zachary (Michael Merchant). Frank then contacts Zachary to see if he will come out to his house and help. And while all of that is going on, Lady Bird becomes seriously concerned about Frank’s mental state and what living in a tent in the backyard is doing to Theo. Frank tries to make Lady Bird see that living in the house is a bad idea, that the house shark is real, and that the only way they can go back to living in the house is to get rid of the shark. It’s at this point that Theo ends up going to live with Lady Bird on a more permanent basis, as Frank has work to do.

And while all of that is going on, George’s new potential house buyers end up getting attacked and eaten by the house shark. Why the hell wouldn’t anyone listen? Well, Reagan won’t let a little thing like a dead couple eaten by a goddamn shark keep him from selling Frank’s house, so Reagan brings in the mysterious real estate investigator Darth Squanto (the great Wayne W. Johnson) to get a grip on the situation. Squanto has powers similar to the Force and seems like a formidable foe for the house shark. Unfortunately for Reagan and Squanto, poor Squanto is no match for the shark and is eaten within seconds of entering the house. What the hell are they all going to do?

So then some stuff happens, Zachary finally shows up to examine Frank’s house, and an old, sort of badass real estate agent named Abraham (Wes Reid) shows up to do battle with the shark. Can the three men team up and kill the shark?

The whole thing kind of sounds like Jaws, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s not a carbon copy of Jaws, but it’s definitely a full on, full throated homage to that killer shark movie. The characters even mention Jaws at one point. After about the halfway point the movie sort of puts some of that direct Jaws homage stuff to the background and goes off on its own path, most of which is just insane. I won’t spoil the big twists that occur towards the end of the movie concerning what the hell is actually going on, but I can say, without fear of contradiction, that you won’t see any of it coming. Any of it. I’m not entirely sure that the ending makes sense, but the ending is off the wall, too, and kind of brilliant in its own way. And you won’t see it coming, either.

When it comes to the house shark creature itself, it’s basically a man in a shark suit with a gigantic shark head and mouth. The getup does look a bit ridiculous on its own, but when the shark starts eating people it isn’t so ridiculous anymore. When the shark eats poor Darth Squanto, all bets are off. This shit is real and someone better come up with a plan pretty damn quick.

The dialogue among the characters isn’t as dense and uniformly over the top as it was in Bonk’s previous movie, the badass awesome She Kills. There are multiple moments of bizarre dialogue and monologue, especially by Wes Reid’s Abraham, but it isn’t like that for everyone. In fact, Frank is about as level headed as a character can get in this kind of situation, and his dialogue, while funny at times, isn’t insane. Zachary’s sort of German/Austrian accent is so out of place and ridiculous that it works brilliantly. It makes no sense but, at the same time, it does make sense.

Now, as I said at the beginning, House Shark is way too long. I’m assuming that length is, in its own way, an homage to Jaws, as that movie is slightly over two hours. House Shark shouldn’t be that long. I’m not sure what should be cut from its present form, but the movie would benefit greatly by getting to the house shark battle sooner. The movie could also use a little more gore and general nastiness to make things more interesting. I was expecting a higher body count. At the same time, the movie’s length is what it is. It’s not like what Bonk and company put into the movie is awful or bad or anything. I just wish that some of what we do get is leaner, faster, quicker. As I said, the movie is imperfect, and that’s okay. House Shark is still incredibly entertaining.

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Trey Harrison does a great job as Frank. He’s a dedicated family man who is also dealing with some bizarre fucking shit and he manages to keep himself together most of the time. Frank has his moments, sure, where he just wants to go batshit on everyone and everything around him (he wants to destroy his own house), but, again, he keeps himself in check most of the time. He has to, he’s a father, he has responsibilities.

Michael Merchant does a fine job as Zachary, the house shark expert. When you first see him and hear his high pitched German/Austrian accent you expect him to be completely off the wall. Amazingly, he isn’t. Yes, he’s wacked as hell, but he’s also kind of restrained, too. You just don’t expect to see that from a man wearing a sort of lederhosen thing and being a house shark expert. I think you’ll be surprised at how his character turns out.

As for Wes Reid as Abraham, Jesus Christ, that due is wacked as hell. As soon as you see him and his thick, gray beard and ill-fitting suit and as soon as you hear him say something the shit is on. I didn’t understand half of what he said, but then that’s how he’s supposed to be. His history with the house shark is scary (the damn thing ripped him apart at one point, or so he claims). The man has serious problems.

Wayne W. Johnson is hilarious as Darth Squanto. Johnson is physically intimidating and has that badass aura about him, which makes him perfect for the Darth Vader like Squanto character. And Johnson gives it his all right up until he’s eaten whole by the house shark. And that’s too bad because I bet the Darth Squanto could have its own spin-off movie and it would work. I mean, Squanto has weird beard powers, similar to a Jedi, why couldn’t he somehow overcome the fact that he gets eaten by a shark and return to the land of the living? Why couldn’t his remains sort of reform themselves from the house shark shark poop? It’s the movies, man, anything can happen.

Brett Janeski does a great job as George, a real estate agent who is clearly in over his head when the house shark reveals itself and George understands that the whole thing is real. He deals with it all exactly how I would deal with it. Edward Mastin is sort of the ultimate douchebag as Ronald Reagan the head real estate guy. He’s a total jerk and evil to the core (look at his goddamn Ulysses S. Grant statue. Only an evil man would have that in his office) and I think you’ll love what happens to him. I won’t spoil it for you, but I don’t think it’s wrong to say that he has serious delusions of grandeur. The movie could have used more of Melissa LaMartina’s Lady Bird character. She grounds the movie with her performance and manages to endure one of the weirdest kisses in recent movie history.

And then there’s Samantha Varga as Betsy the babysitter. Poor Betsy ends up being the house shark’s first victim and suffers one of the most bizarre deaths in all of movies. I mean, she gets sucked into a toilet and eaten by a goddamn shark that kills people through plumbing. That’s just insane. And why the hell is she naked on the toilet? Did she plan on taking a shower after going through the bathroom? Did she think she had diarrhea and didn’t want to get said diarrhea on her clothes? Is she just one of those quirky people that likes to sit on the toilet naked? Just what the hell is going on here? Whatever is going on here, you sure as hell will remember her. No doubt.

House Shark is a damn good low budget horror comedy. It could use some cutting and a faster pace, but it’s never not entertaining, and that’s ultimately what makes it so good. It’s not perfect, it’s not the classic that it wants to be (at least not yet it isn’t. Perhaps time will change my perception of the movie’s length at some point and it will be a full on classic in a few years) but it’s still awesome in its own way. If you’re in the mood for an ambitious, funny, low budget Jaws homage, check out House Shark. It’s definitely worth tracking down and seeing, if you’re into that kind of thing.

See House Shark. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 6

Explosions: A few.

Nudity?: Yes.

Doobage: A sheriff’s badge, a bad date, an apple, TV watching, nudity, goo, a full on toilet attack with blood and gore everywhere, a shark fin, backyard sleeping, outside defecation with toilet paper on a branch, baked beans in a tin can on the grill, serious boogers, a hilarious monologue about a real boner, face slapping, public library hooey, ass grabbing, off screen dog eating, a bunch of kids on bikes, testicle punching, multiple house shark attacks, maniacal laughing, talk of how vending machines kill people, urination, throwing boiling water on people who are asleep, attempted face touching, some hilarious mild homophobia, a bizarre kiss, a gross as fuck toilet, a laser gun, more urination, urinating on a man’s face, a house shark decoy costume, an armed shark, a hilarious bit where we find out a guy that looks like he’s tied to a chair isn’t tied to a chair, dog cage hooey, a full on plumbing attack, attempted bat attack, attempted grenade attack, exploding hot water tank, a fake skeleton, a furniture disguise, shitting in a bucket, attempted biting, a bit where a potential house shark victim fights from within the house shark, exploding house shark, exploding house, body parts everywhere, and a big surprise.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: The village of Liverpool, a woman reading Moby Dick, Night of Something Strange on the TV, a real estate sign, brushing teeth while using a hose outside, multiple Jaws homages, brief social media interludes, “house shark view,” an Emanuel Lewis reference, using the Force, talking with your mouth full, talk of Jaws, Michael Merchant saying “How you say?,” face touching, a squatter, an underwater sequence that is obviously not underwater, being able to see the strings, a “training like the mantis” montage, Ron Bonk’s name in the credits multiple times, and a big surprise.

Best lines: “Dad, doesn’t the guy usually pick up the girl? Welcome to the 21st century, son,” “Wow, let a little kid spook you much, Betsy?,” “What the hell, kid? Can’t you see I’m going through hell here?,” “You’re a dork, Dad,” “You didn’t see what I saw, Lady Bird,” “Are you a killer, George?,” “A house shark? Is this a joke, Frank?,” “John, stop, I don’t want anyone catching us with your fingers up my butt,” “Shark! House shark!,” “Did anyone see my gun?,” “Native American? What can you do?,” “Let’s kill us some mother truckin’ house shark!,” “Still the wise ass, I see,” “You’ve gotten fat. Water weight!,” “You must be that hooker I ordered,” “Why would an anus be on his finger?,” “Bar wench? You motherfuckers, I’ll give you bar wench,” “Why don’t we call him House Jaws? Ixnay on the Awsjay,” “What a dumb bitch,” “This would be so much better if I could just blow my head off right now,” “What the fuck? You just gave me the golden shower!,” “That was no house shark!,” “Who in the Sam hell drew a penis on me?,” “I am not wearing a woman’s costume!,” “Yeah. America!,” “I am not letting a house shark have sex with me!,” “You have a ray gun?,” “You know, maybe we should just let the house shark eat us,” “There’s a problem! What? I’m sober!,” “He’s gonna kill us!,” “I’m sorry, it’s hard to find inside your tiny flat ass,” “Smile you son-of-a-biscuit!,” and “Dammit, my fake beard fell off again. What?”

Rating: 8.0/10.0

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Things to Watch Out For This Week

UpgradeDVD

Upgrade: This sci-fi action flick from Leigh Whannell made a bit of a splash earlier this year when it theatres, garnering rave reviews for its gore scenes and whatnot. I’m not sure how big of a release it actually got (I’m not sure it even played where I live. If it did, I missed it), but then this movie looks more like one of those movies that finds its audience on TV and home video. The fine folks at Blumhouse made it and released it, so you know that it will at least be watchable. Anyone out there see this? Is it as good as the reviews claim?

ShadowbuilderMVD

Shadowbuilder: Also known as Bram Stoker’s Shadow Builder, this horror flick has Michael Rooker and Tony Todd in it and is about a demon that is trying to end the world or some bullshit like that. I rented this from a Blockbuster back in the day, but outside of a few scenes where Rooker’s badass priest character wields dueling handguns for some reason, I don’t remember a damn thing about it. However, this new home video release comes to us from the MVD Rewind Collection people, so you know you’re getting a worthwhile Blu-ray. And with this release, it’s a good reason to check it out again. Anyone remember this movie?

DeepRising

Deep Rising: Stephen Sommers directed this action horror flick that, holy hooey, is now twenty years old. Treat Williams stars alongside Famke Janssen and Kevin J. O’Connor and a bunch of weird beard tentacle monsters inside a ship. I had to watch this movie twice before I liked it, but even then I didn’t love it. It was just okay. However, the fine folks at Kino Lorber are releasing this Blu-ray as part of its Studio Classics line and it’s chock full of special features (a commentary, cast interviews, and some behind-the-scenes stuff from ILM). That’s reason enough to want to get it. And much like Shadowbuilder, this home video release gives everyone a reason to check it out again.

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Brainscan: Shout! Factory’s Scream Factory line is releasing this classic mid-1990’s horror flick on Blu-ray, with all sorts of special features on it. Directed by John Flynn (he also directed Out for Justice and Rolling Thunder), Brainscan is a movie about a video game that ends up killing people somehow. Edward Furlong stars in it alongside Frank Langella (yes, that Frank Langella) and T. Ryder Smith, who plays the flick’s bad guy the Trickster. This movie wasn’t a hit when it came out, but I seem to remember plenty of shit in Fangoria about it. I saw this on TV at some point in the 1990’s but, much like Shadowbuilder, I don’t remember much about it. But, just like the other titles listed this week, you just know that it’s going to be a killer home video release so it’ll be worth picking up. And, again, it will be nice to see this again.

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Did you check out Cult TV?

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The 1970’s TV thriller Kolchak: The Night Stalker is first up! Check out what I think about the show with the links below!

Issue #1
Issue #2
Episode 3

#4… coming soon! It really is!

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B-Movie News

Leatherface

A Texas Chain Saw Massacre TV show is apparently in the works: Bloody Disgusting reported last week that Legendary Pictures is in the running to obtain the rights to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre franchise and that the company wants to make both more Chain Saw movies and a possible TV series. There’s also speculation in the article that a possible Freddy vs. Jason vs. Leatherface movie could eventually happen as all three characters will be within the same company umbrella by 2019 (maybe). The big hooha team up movie might be cool and all, but, when it comes to a Chain Saw TV show, is that really something the world needs?

No, it isn’t. The world does not need a Texas Chain Saw Massacre TV show. What the hell is it going to be about? A direct rehash of the original movie but stretched out over ten episodes? That sounds just awful. I know that TV shows and long form storytelling are still the “cool” thing, but I don’t want to see a Leatherface TV show. I don’t want to “explore” his or the Sawyer family’s background. In fact, unless someone intends to completely reimagine the franchise and just use the title, I think it’s high time that Leatherface and company be left alone. We’ve had eight movies now, and only two of them were any good, and there’s just no reason to keep the franchise going. And, yes, I know that’s weird coming from me, the guy who says that franchises should keep churning out movies as long as people still want to see them, but, again, unless this is a complete reinvention, this just shouldn’t happen at all.

And I also want to say that Leatherface is not a slasher killer in the same way that Jason and Freddy are. In fact, Leatherface isn’t a slasher at all. He’s the muscle in a gang. If someone wanted to make a movie simply about him, Leatherface would have to become smarter and learn to kill people with other items beyond chainsaws and hammers.

So, I don’t want this to happen. It all sounds like an incredibly bad idea. It’s time to leave the Saw alone and move on. Who else is with me on this? Anyone?

JohnnyGruesomeNasty

Johnny Gruesome coming this October!: We finally have a release date for the horror flick Johnny Gruesome, directed by Gregory Lamberson and based on his novel of the same name. The movie, which stars Anthony De La Torre as the title character, along with Byron Brown II and Michael DeLorenzo, will be getting a Video on Demand release on October 16th, 2018 via the fine folks at Uncork’d Entertainment and will then hit DVD on January 1st, 2019. How is that for a Happy freaking New Year? And you’ve got to see what I assume is going to be the DVD cover over at Bloody Disgusting. Is that image awesome or what?

So mark your calendars for October 16th and or January 1st when you can see Johnny Grissom become Johnny Gruesome. And check out the new trailer below.

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Who is the Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!

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Next Issue: Cyborg September begins with The Six Million Dollar Man!

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Interviews

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Paul Mormando
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Don “The Dragon” Wilson
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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

House Shark

Trey Harrison– Frank
Michael Merchant– Zachary
Wes Reid– Abraham
Wayne W. Johnson– Darth Squanto
Nathan Bonk– Theo
Melissa LaMartina– Lady Bird
Brett Janeski– George
Edward Mastin– Ronald Reagan
Samantha Varga– Betsy
Jennie Russo– Eleanor
(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Ron Bonk
Screenplay by Ron Bonk

Distributed by SRS Cinema and Hurricane Bridge Entertainment

Not Rated
Runtime– 112 minutes

Buy it here or here

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