With Shark Week fast approaching (insert ominous John Williams score here), you may be on the hunt for some fictional, Andy Samberg-free viewing material to supplement the Discovery Channel’s mostly educational programming. While Steven Spielberg’s 1975 don’t-go-in-the-water classic “Jaws” is always fun to rewatch, why not expand your horizons and scare (or laugh) yourself silly with a few other fishy horror flicks?

Below are 10 movies, ranging from super-realistic to super-ridiculous (mostly the latter), where a majority of the on-screen scares come from mechanical, computer-generated, or live sharks (and from Deborah Gibson’s acting skills). And while sharks, particularly great whites, make for fabulous B-movie monsters, remember that real sharks are vulnerable, deeply misunderstood creatures that are more threatened by humans than threatening to them. So after you've enjoyed the hilariously bad special effects, take a moment to learn about shark conservation and education efforts from groups like Bite-Back, the Monterey Bay Aquarium the Shark Research Institute. 

"Cyclone" (1978)

"The Violent Storm Was Only the Beginning ... The Sharks Would Be the Merciless End!"

Feeding grounds: The Caribbean

Live bait: Carroll Baker, Arthur Kennedy, Lionel Stander

Species: A“Jaw”-droppingly bad 1970s survival film from Mexican exploitation maestro Rene Cardona Jr. starring thumb-sucking sexpot Carroll Baker and a bunch of marauding tiger sharks.

Take a bite here.


"Jaws 3-D" (1983)

"The third dimension is terror"

Feeding grounds: SeaWorld in Florida

Live bait: Bess Armstrong, Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett Jr., Leah Thompson

Species: Dorsal-finned terror gets the 3-D treatment in this much-maligned and (unintentionally) hilarious sequel to Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic, starring the inimitable Louis Gossett Jr. and a great white mama on a rampage.

Take a bite here.


"Deep Blue Sea" (1999)

"Bigger. Smarter. Faster. Meaner."

Feeding grounds: Aquatica, a fictional research station

Live bait: Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane, LL Cool J, Samuel L. Jackson

Species: In action guru Renny Harlin’s big-budget B-movie, super smart, super mean genetically engineered mako sharks won’t let anything — even the cure to Alzheimer’s disease and LL Cool J — stand in the way of feeding time.

Take a bite here.

"Open Water" (2003)

"Don’t get left behind"

Feeding grounds: The Bahamas

Live bait: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis

Species: “The Blair Witch Project” meets “Jaws” in this soggy, stressful and partially true tale of a bickering yuppie couple who, while awaiting rescue after being stranded during a scuba excursion, become déjeuners for a gang of peckish great whites.

Take a bite here.

"Red Water" (2003)

"Fear strikes where you least expect it"

Feeding grounds: The Mississippi River in Louisiana

Live bait: Kristy Swanson, Lou Diamond Phillips, Coolio

Species: Exploding oil platforms, greedy gangsters, scuba-diving ecologists and a people-eating bull shark with a $10,000 bounty on its head make for one heck of a made-for-TBS movie.

Take a bite here.

"12 Days of Terror" (2005)

"Based on the terrifying true events that inspired Jaws"

Feeding grounds: The New Jersey Shore

Live bait: Colin Egglesfield, Mark Dexter, John Rhys-Davies

Species: A man-devouring monster terrorizes the Jersey Shore — no, we’re talking about a great white, not Jwow — in this period piece (vintage “bathing costumes” galore!) shark attack flick set during the summer of 1916.

Take a bite here.

"Sharks in Venice" (2008)

"Italians make the best food"

Feeding grounds: Venice, Italy

Live bait: Stephen Baldwin, Vanessa Johansson

Species: Yes, someone actually financed a film in which a Baldwin brother (the evangelical Christian one who appeared on “Celebrity Big Brother” and alongside Pauly Shore in “Bio-Dome”) is pitted against a gondola-chomping great white causing mayhem in Venice’s famed Great Canal.

Take a bite here.


"Shark Swarm" (2008)

"Fear travels in packs"

Feeding grounds: Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Live bait: Darryl Hanna, Armand Assante, F. Murray Abraham, John Schneider

Species: Darryl Hanna shows up to collect a paycheck and flip a table, Teresa-Giudice style, in this SyFy fable about super-aggressive sharks (of all species) driven mad by toxic dumping and real estate development.

Take a bite here.


"Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus" (2009)

"Nowhere is safe."

Feeding grounds: The California coast

Live bait: Deborah Gibson, Lorenzo Lamas, Vic Chao

Species: If you ever wondered what happened to ‘80s teen songstress Deborah “Debbie” Gibson, you can find her acting in films like “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid” and this Z-grade gem that includes a scene in which a gigantic shark leaps out of the sea to take down a commercial aircraft.

Take a bite here.


"Shark Night 3D" (2011)

"Terror runs deep"

Feeding grounds: A freshwater lake in Louisiana

Live bait: Sarah Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Katharine McPhee, Chris Zylka

Species: From the director of “Snakes on a Plane” and “Final Destination 2” is this upcoming PG-13-rated thriller that concerns a group of attractive college kids with knacks for screaming, disrobing and thrashing about in unexpectedly shark-infested waters.

Take a bite here.

Also on MNN: How and where sharks attack