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Tintorera: Killer Shark – 4

Director – René Cardona Jr.

Cast – Hugo Stiglitz, Andrés García, Susan George, Fiona Lewis, Eleazar García, Roberto Guzman

Release Year – 1977

Reviewed by John of the Dead

The killer animal sub-genre is one of my favorites in the horror genre, and despite coming across mostly bad reviews for this low-budget late-70s piece I immediately acted on my chance to watch it in hopes of finding more enjoyment than expected – but that was of course not the case here. While Tintorera: Killer Shark employs some of the usual enjoyable tactics seen in 70s Italian killer animal films (this film is not Italian but UK/Mexican) this experience is far from the one that it claims to be and it shows with the strong lack of horror.

Two Mexican shark hunters flirt with death and a beautiful English woman when they come across the foreign beauty as well as a hardened tiger shark responsible for the deaths of several tourists in their budding vacation town.

From the get-go I was really thinking that I was going to enjoy this. It had that usual exploitation feel associated with most flicks involving actor Hugo Stiglitz (Nightmare City), and for the most part there was a decent amount of exploitation thrown about in small bits. While the title is the Mexican term for “Tiger Shark” we get very little tiger shark action as the storyline mostly focuses on Steven and Miguel as they frolic about town wining and dining beautiful women and hunting sharks for fun. We get a few occasions where this tiger shark munches on someone or steals a fisherman’s catch, but they were few and far between and did little to up the little enjoyment I had for this effort. Writer Rene Cardona Jr. did little to make the most of this adaptation of Ramon Bravo’s novel (in regards to horror), however budgetary restrictions may have been at play as well.

Cardona Jr. also served as the film’s director, and for the most part his direction was much better than his writing. The underwater visuals provided were fun and of course included the actual killing of fish and sharks, however the most captivating underwater sequences were taken from stock films (another common tactic in exploitation films). We do get some good gore here and there and the kill sequences were enjoyable, but they were sadly not enough to save this film from the boredom provided by its story. In addition to the gore we are also given good performances from all involved as Cardona Jr. executed his actors very well and with sweet visuals that put us into the look and feel of the vacation town – of course this film was no vacation for me and anyone seeking good horror.

Overall, Tintorera: Killer Shark is an experience I really wanted to enjoy but sadly let me down on numerous levels mostly in relation to the lack of horror. We get good horror when we get it, but because we are rarely get any this is a film you should most likely avoid.

Rating: 4/10

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