Sharks of the Corn is the latest film, and first feature in four years, from SOV horror pioneer Tim Ritter whose career goes back to Day of the Reaper in 1984. His 1986 film Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness spawned a franchise that’s on its fifth film. More recently he’s been contributing segments to anthology films such as Hi-Death and Zombarella’s House of Whorrors.
Susan (Rebecca Rinehart, Faces of the Dead, Natasha Nighty’s Boudoir of Blood) has hooked up with Gary (Jason Boyd), the rather drunk King of Druid Hill’s annual corn festival. She’s running through the cornfields leaving a trail of clothes for him to follow when a great white swims up and attacks her. But that’s not the only problem facing the townsfolk. Shark-obsessed serial killer Teddy Bo Lucas (Steve Guynn, The Goocher, Hooker With A Hacksaw) has been killing women with a set of shark jaws and burying their remains in the cornfields.
One of those women was the sister of Chief Vera Scheider (Shannon Stockin, Leah Smock, the Legend Awakens). Lucas agrees to lead her to her sister’s grave. He reveals that he’s part of a shark worshipping cult intent on world domination on the way to the field. Can unlikely hero Jonathan Gottlieb (Ford Windstar) and rogue CIA agent Benchley (Casey Miracle, Queen of the Cursed World) save us?
Sharks of the Corn is a comedy of the intentionally cheesy variety. One of those where you’re supposed to find the horrible CGI and dismembered mannequin passed off as dead bodies funny. This was doubly disappointing for me, given Ritter’s filmography I expected this to have some good gore if nothing else.
Plot-wise, Sharks of the Corn is all over the place. Serial killers, cults, sharks, gangsters, Bigfoot and anything else that crossed Ritter’s mind ends up on the screen. There are jokes about workplace sexual harassment, defunding the police, protests, real estate deals, fake news/media manipulation. Its frequent attempts to satirize current social issues feel forced and even less funny than most of the film’s other material, and that’s saying a lot.
The film does take several cues from Jaws in its basic structure, and it is at its best when sticking to parodying shark films and horror in general. Unfortunately, Sharks of the Corn rarely stays in the genre for long before going off on another tangent. The idea of Children of the Corn crossed with Jaws had plenty of potential for laughs, and Sharks of the Corn would have been much better off if it had stayed on target.
And, just to make matters worse, Sharks of the Corn runs a very long hour and forty-five minutes. Even when it hits the mark, this kind of comedy needs a short running time to avoid wearing itself out. The film’s executive producer, SRS Cinema boss Ron Bonk, should know that too. He wrote and directed House Shark, a similarly styled comedy with an indoor shark. That ran just under two hours, had a better script, cast and effects but still ran out of steam before the end.
As Chad Ferrin found out with Exorcism at 60,000 Feet, being able to make a good horror film doesn’t mean you can make a good horror-comedy. And with Sharks of the Corn Tim Ritter has now found it out as well. Ferrin bounced back with The Deep Ones, let’s hope Ritter has something equally impressive up his sleeve.