Category Archives: Videos

SHARK VS ZOMBIE: Ramón Bravo, the Man Behind the Stunt

This piece originally appeared on iHorror.com

Even if you’ve never actually seen Lucio Fulci’s 1979 Video Nasty Zombi 2 (aka Zombie), odds are pretty good that you’re at least familiar with one of its most talked about scenes, wherein an underwater zombie fights and bites an actual shark. This single scene was the main reason I sought the movie out many years ago, and I’m sure that’s the case for a lot of horror fans.

The story goes: Lucio Fulci actually wasn’t too keen on having a zombie versus shark scene, but producer Ugo Tucci insisted after having seen Tintorera: Killer Shark a few years earlier. Tintorera was one of the many cheapo sharksploitation movies that popped up in the wake (sorry) of Jaws. It was a Mexican production, directed by René Cardona Jr., based on the synonymous novel by Ramón Bravo.

Bravo was, in real life, a shark trainer and underwater photographer and filmmaker. His interest in all things aquatic started early, with Bravo competing in the 1948 Olympics – swimming, naturally – when he was just 23-years-old. From there, he developed an interest in underwater photography, with a specific focus on sharks. He gained some notoriety for the discovery and photography of “sleeping sharks” in the Caribbean. Bravo would eventually serve as Jacques Cousteau’s dive guide, assisting exploration of these caves of sleeping sharks. He would later write a series of ocean and shark-related novels, and would shoot the underwater footage for many water-related films from director René Cardona Jr.

But back to Zombi 2: Fulci, finding the idea of an underwater battle between fish and ghoul too silly, refused to shoot the scene, so a second unit stepped in to get the footage. Long before CGI was available and working on an extremely low-budget (less than $240K), the only option the filmmakers were left with was to film the scene using a real, live tiger shark – a breed known as “the most dangerous shark species”, due to its high number of fatal attacks.

According to lore, the production planned to hire René Cardona Jr. to act as the zombie who fights the shark. However, Cardona Jr. was unavailable on the day of the shoot, so Ramón Bravo – the shark’s trainer – stepped in to play the role of the zombie. Bravo was able to accomplish the death-defying stunt by feeding the shark prior to filming, as to satiate the gilled beast’s bloodlust. Bravo also doped the shark up with a dose of tranquilizers, just to be safe.

The end result is jaw-dropping to say the least. (Jaws-dropping? Sorry again.) A real human – dressed as a zombie – wrestling a real shark, deep underwater is just something movies don’t dare to pull off these days. The battle – which culminates with the shark ripping the zombie’s arm off – is easily one of the most iconic scenes in all of horror history.

Sadly, Ramón passed away in 1998, and – unbelievably – his performance in Zombi 2 went uncredited. However, I wanted to shine a spotlight on the man who helped create such an awesome and memorable scene, and say Bravo.

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Bub Discovers New Music!

One of the great things about 80s horror flicks (versus today’s pedigree) is they didn’t take themselves so seriously. They weren’t afraid to inject lots of humor right alongside the buckets of blood. Everything from Evil Dead to Creepshow, A Nightmare on Elm Street to The Lost Boys, there was an art to the balance of humor and horror – something that is most certainly lost on 99.98% of today’s spook movies.

George A. Romero was no stranger to having fun in his movies, especially them zombie ones that made him so famous. Hell, Dawn of the Dead (1978) has a pie fight! By his third zombie film, Day of the Dead (1985), the slapstick got toned down a bit but there was still lots to smirk at – one of the main ones being the childlike “Bub”, a zombie who we see being ‘taught’ by Dr. Logan. Bub is iconic, as are his interactions with Dr. “Frankenstein” Logan, so I thought I would take a familiar scene and update it a bit – contemporize it for the year it was released, 1985.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter as an 80s Sitcom!

tumblr_mpmy1hTXD11srsy9vo1_500Y’know if you study that above gif closely, it’s almost as if Jason is giving little Tommy Jarvis a big hug.

Perhaps it’s this demented way of thinking that made me realize when you remove all the murders from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, it actually looks like some cheesy 80s sitcom. So, I did just that!

I finished by slapping some nondescipt 80s keyboard music behind it, and boom: no longer an 80s horror movie, but an 80s sitcom about a loving family with a big cast of characters and that wacky neighbor Jason who always seems to barge in at the wrong time.

So enjoy. Y’know, now that I’m thinking about it, those wacky teens from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 would make for a great Just the Ten of Us-style show. Hmm…

Crispin Glover’s Friday the 13th 4 Dance!

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There’s a well-known scene in Friday the 13th 4: The Final Chapter, which sees Crispin Glover at a party, asking a girl to dance. But instead of dancing, he just flails about wildly in start/stop herky-jerky motions.

The song used in the scene was “Love is a Lie” by the group Lion. However, the word is that they were actually dancing to “Back in Black” by AC/DC on set, and had to dub the aforementioned song in afterwards.

So I went back and added AC/DC’s “Back in Black” to the scene just to see what it would look like – and if it would help Glover’s dance moves make any more sense.

I think Crispin was marching to the beat of his own drum on this one.