The haunting score of Jaws- the killer that no one sees coming- will forever taunt my mind and it is nearly impossible to believe that the film is celebrating its 39th anniversary today.
Interestingly enough, not a whole lot of fans realize that Jaws was actually based on a novel written by Peter Benchley. The book was an inspiration on real life attacks that had occurred on the Jersey Shore back in the early 1900’s. The book was published in 1974 and became an instant success; remaining on the best seller list for almost 44 weeks.
Benchley co-wrote the script that was eventually directed by mega mind Steven Spielberg, with Carl Gottlieb. Benchley made a cameo appearance as a news reporter on the beach. Jaws became the first film to gross over $100 million and eventually grossed nearly $500 million worldwide.
Jaws is so much more than a cheesy looking shark that catapults out of nowhere. The premise about the movie, in my eyes, was never to showcase a great white killer, but rather speculate in our minds what could be lurking in the waters below us. It is the unseen, the unknown element that truly horrifies us and Jaws is perfect at obtaining this element. The infamous score adds on to this fear because as soon as you hear it, you automatically identify a horrifying component of the undetectable, and this is why the movie is still loved to date.
Perhaps the most chilling aspect is that the shark itself didn’t even make its first debut until 81 minutes into the movie. Keeping the actual image of the shark off screen was absolutely genius. It truly was worth the wait when the gigantic beast emerged itself from the water and we got to see indeed how phenomenal this shark really was.
As a child, I couldn’t even so much get into a swimming pool without the fear that Bruce would be lurking below, consuming me for lunch. Sounds pretty ridiculous, but it was ridiculously true. Jaws has made people across America fear oceans, rivers and any medium of water imaginable.
Next time you get into the open water, hum the haunting tune in your head.
I am sure all is well and clear below.
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