The Beast and Jaws...


TONMO Supporter
Mar 15, 2003
I was talking to some other artists last week at a meeting, and we brought up the subject of the horrible film based on B's book :"the Beast" (which was equally awful)...and how misinformation makes up such a large part of today's society...
Needless to say, the novel "Jaws" came up, and was roundly blasted by everyone but me...I defended the work by saying that it was based on current info for the time, and was still a good read.
Yes, there was a lot of bad info, as well as sensationalism...but still readable, right?
I've read both and I think for sheer baaaad biological info the Beast took the cake! Yes readable (but bear in mind I read almost anything, including cereal packets :biggrin2: )

The movie (mini series in NZ) was appalling......I mean really....... hooks........submersible munching.....porpoising..........and mummy coming looking for junior???

The family just about had to sit on a little bit vocal :biggrin2: :oops:

If there's anything bad I found about The Beast miniseries it's the fact that it's impossible to rent it in it's full miniseries length, it's always diced up into about an hour and a half on tape, as for the film itself, I feel it had sort of an Ed Wood quality to it, it was a comedy.
The Beast and Jaws...

:evil: I partly disagree. The film was awful indeed... and 'awful' is very likely a quite weak word. But the novel was not that bad.
First because, just as 'Jaws', it was written by Peter Benchley, and Benchley is a real and good writer. Second because, at the time 'The Beast' was published (1991), there were even more things than now which were totally ignored about Architeuthis.
So I guess 'The Beast' has to be judged in the same context as 'Jaws' : considering what was known about white shark in 1972, 'Jaws' was not badly documented. Considering what was known about giant squid in 1991, the same can more or less be said about 'The Beast'.
Furthermore, Benchley openly admitted, because there was so little knowledge about Architeuthis at this time, he felt free to imagine a lot : more or less everything could possibly have been true!
On my opinion, the biggest criticism to be made to 'The Beast' is that it was mainly a rewriting of 'Jaws' where the 30-ft white shark is simply replaced by a 100-ft squid... :wink:
Re: The Beast and Jaws...

Whitey said:
:evil: I partly disagree. The film was awful indeed... and 'awful' is very likely a quite weak word. But the novel was not that bad.

I completely agree, Whitey. I laughed out loud when reading 'The Beast', partly because it was such a short book, partly because I think the print font was something like 20, and partly because of all the factual errors. Nevertheless I did have a chuckle. The movie was shocking!!

I liken it to the prostitution of Richard Bach's 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull'. The book was ... well .... fantastic, as most of them are, particularly 'Illusions' (though I got a little bored with the recurring theme in subsequent novels - he should have stopped with Illusions); the movie ... well, very sad indeed, verging on absolutely shocking - it's only redeeming feature being the soundtrack ... and we all know who wrote and sang that!

I sure hope Richard doesn't read this; forgive me for I shall burn in he** - but it really would be hard to beat Illusions.
Granted, Steve... and by the way, I was wrong about the size of 'Jaws' white shark (in fact, it was a mistyping) : it was 'only' 20-ft long. :?
Which made it 'believable' (if for sure VERY big!), contrary to the female of the sequel (not written by Benchley), supposed to be a 25-footer!
But I know a guy in South Africa who's got a stunning skill for evaluating sizes and distances, and who swears he's seen one day a 30ft white shark, so why not? :heee:
I re-read Jaws last night , and it is true that most of the information is really off, but the book is more about the people of the small town, and in that vein, it succeeds quite well. The characterization is really well done, and you actually care what happens to them...something Beast lacked...and you are right, B is just a bad rewrite.
Of course the combined lore of the giant squid and the general public's lack of knowlege about these animals was too much of a temptation of old Benchley BUT that's not to say that there isn't a good horror/thriller to be found in the cephlapod world.
I think the Humboldt squid would have been a much better choice as a central "monster". And there would really be no reason to embellish these guys either. They really have devoured people!
Like piranha with tenticles!

"Those squid...swallow you whole. A little shaking, a little tenderizing, and down you go.
I value my neck more than three hundred bucks, chief. I'll find the squid for three...but I'll catch them and kill them for ten. I don't want no mates, there are too many teuthologists on this island. Ten thousand buck for me and myself. For that you get the mantle, the tenticles, the whole damn thing..."

By the way -In all seriousness, I think that the film, "Jaws" is one of the best films ever made. If you remember it as a silly rubber shark movie then you need to revisit it - Spielberg's directing, the top acting talent and a great script more than make up for the mechanical shark (or you can watch it at preformed in 30 seconds by bunnies)
Re: The Beast and Jaws...

Steve O'Shea said:
- it's only redeeming feature being the soundtrack ... and we all know who wrote and sang that!

I dunno..............who? :twisted:

cbarela said:
Like piranha with tenticles!

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Did you see the even more awful movie about the genetically (?) altered piranhas raised in cold water that escaped and ate their way down river to the sea + then it turned out they were tolerant of saltwater, so our hero (forgotten who exactly) had to swim underwater (why exactly?? I don't know) to release 1000's of litres of toxic waste which killed the super piranhas (or did it? :twisted: )

Now don't get too down on the piranha movies!!!
Tad of geeky movie trivia here- The Piranha movies are chock-a-block with early talent:
"Piranha" was directed by Joe Dante, who went on to direct The Howling, Gremlins 1 & 2, and Twilight Zone the Movie and the script was written by John Sayles who went on to write/direct Sunshine State, Lone Star & The Secret of Roan Inish. The special effects were handled by a bunch of kids who went on to work on a little trilogy called Star Wars and then on to stuff like Jurassic Park, Total Recall, Se7en, etc.

The sequal "Piranha 2: The Spawning" was directed by James Cameron, who went on to do a bunch of films that I'm sure no one has seen: Terminator, Terminator 2, Aliens, The Abyss and Titanic.

Um...I've got to put my Yoda pajammas on and go to bed now...

PS - I'm telling you - The Killer Humboldt Squid movie....Million dollar idea for the taking right there...
"all I asked for was some sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads."
"No, but we do have mutated sea bass."

I can see the Humbolt we just need a working title...
you have to make sure to have some more cliche type things in the movie like the cocky diver scuba diving alone, the fisherman who likes to drink while of to sea at night, etc

title hmmmm.....

The Bloody Beaks of Baja?
Hey wait a minute...I drink when I am fishing ! Uh oh, does that mean I am setting myself up for a horror plot????

Like your title...may be too long though...might have to with just :

Yep, "Beast" (the novel) was very silly, the eponymous squiddie having more in common with a mutant Messie than with Archie. The mini-series was simply terrible. The grief stricken mama squid recovering the body of her "child" was a real howler.

Vis "Jaws," it is rather interesting how some of the behavior Benchley imagined for his shark has been observed in the intervening years. Cousteau et al ridiculed the notion of a white shark regularly sticking its head clear of the water, never mind a mature white shark breaching and landing on a boat. The "look-see" behavior is now known as repetitive aerial gaping and has been observed with frequency off the Farallon Islands and elsewhere. The breach behavior, meanwhile, has been made famous by the white sharks off South Africa, where anecdote tells of at least one (accidental) flop into a boat. "Beast" was crap, but "Jaws" was, in some respects, ahead of the curve.

Again, I'd just like to say that yes, The Beast was crap, but I thought it was hilarious, as for the Humboldt flick, Baja would make a good title, a vaguely mysterious title saying very little, but a cup the size of the ttle as written on the movie poster would be much deeper than the movie's plot a true future classic.
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