Roger Corman Justifies Sharktopus' Awesome Existence With "Logic"

Illustration for article titled Roger Corman Justifies Sharktopus' Awesome Existence With "Logic"

Sharktopus versus Dinoshark: Who would win? You asked, we answered. We interviewed B-movie legend Roger Corman about his upcoming features Dinoshark and Sharktopus. Find out how big, how long, and how many mouths these beasts have.


We're really excited about your next two TV movies, Sharktopus and Dinoshark, but we're curious. Why did you decide to get back into the monster movies?

Well, it's a variety of reasons. I've done all types of films, but the very first picture I made was called Stalking The Ocean Floor, which was changed to Monster Of The Ocean Floor, because the studio thought the "stalk" was too arty of a title. I made a picture a few years ago called DinoCroc, which I sold to the Syfy Channel, and it got the highest rating of the year. So they asked me to make another one. And I've done three of four of them. And we just finished Dinoshark, which will be on the Syfy Channel on March 13th. And we're working on Sharktopus, which was their idea. The previous ones were my idea, but they came up with the title of Sharktopus. Leaving me with the problem of, "How do I make a picture called Sharktopus?"

So, how do you make a picture called Sharktopus?

I started with this: The first one was DinoCroc and then DinoShark. And you could assume that there was a prehistoric crocodile and prehistoric sharks, so maybe there could have been dinocrocs and dinosharks. But there never was... a half-shark, half-octopus doesn't exist. So I had to come up with some way to justify this.

My theory of this type of picture is, the audience wants to see it, based on the title, or they wouldn't turn on the channel. And they are willing to accept any fantastic premise you give them to get the picture started, provided that it's vaguely believable. But once you've done that, you must be completely logical — you can't cheat them, it must be logical. You must set up, at the beginning, the parameters of what the creature is and what the creature can do. And everything must be logical from there on in.

So I tried to figure out how a Sharktopus could exist, and the first thought of course was — well, maybe I shouldn't say "of course" but at least to me — was that it can't exist naturally. There's no such thing as a half shark, half octopus. So it has to be created by man, it has to be the product of bio-engineering.


So I set up this situation. The Navy is worried, as many people are, by the actions of the Somali pirates. By terrorists who operate out of small boats coming ashore. the Navy can not officially go into those waters. So they commissioned a company I named "Blue Water" [laughs] — a bio-engineering company — to create a half-shark, half-octopus, with implants in its brain, so it can be controlled. And so it can go into those waters with the Somali pirates operating in small boats, and with its tentacles grab those boats, turn it over, and then the shark would eat the pirates. That's the premise. From there on in, I have to say, what can a Sharktopus do, and be as logical as I can, figuring the audience will accept that frankly fantastic premise, which almost sounds logical. We all know it's not truly logical, but it's logical enough to get the story started.

And timely.

It is timely. I try to make these things as contemporary, and work with the environment and the customs and the times.


So, how many mouths does Sharktopus have, we heard more than one?

It has two. It has the shark's mouth at the front. An octopus, we did a little research on this, has of course the long tentacles. The tentacles grabs whatever it's after. It has a beak-like mouth, the tentacles bring the small creature, or in this case a large creature, to the beak like mouth, and it feeds itself that way.


How big is it, the Sharktopus?

We've gone round and round on that. We now figure it's about 40 feet long. Which the longest portion are the tentacles. The shark itself would be 10 to 12 feet long. And the tentacles are about 30 feet long.


Are you going to use puppetry or is the monster mostly CG?

The way I work on all of these, with Dinoshark and what we're doing on Sharktopus right now, for the long shots I use CG, but for the close shot — unless you have money like one of our proteges James Cameron has to do everything now with computers — I prefer to work mechanically on the close shots. We built the jaws of the shark, so that in a close shot, if the shark is biting into a girl's throat, let say, the mechanical jaws grab the girl and we have blood built into the jaws which shoot blood around. So it becomes a more realistic scene. Unless you have the money for extremely expensive computer graphics, you don't get good work in the close-ups, with computers.


So is Dinoshark more believable? What's the twist with this monster?

We tried to find something that is more or less logical, we know we're not totally logical. But it's just something that the audience can accept. What we have here [is that] because of global warming, the glaciers are melting and we have the frozen sperm of a prehistoric shark. As the glacier melts the sperm comes out, wait no it's a fertilized egg, and the Dinoshark grows from that. Whatever works!


How big is the Dinoshark?

That shark is about 20 feet long, it's half the length of the Sharktopus because it's just pure shark.


Who would win in a fight: the Dinoshark or the Sharktopus?

I would think probably the Sharktopus, because the Sharktopus has all the attributes. Nobody has ever asked me that question before. I'm surprised. I put my money on the Sharktopus.


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The navy need a way to stop the pirates without calling too much attention. Brilliant, because who would notice a giantic half shark, half octupus! =)