It's basically just a huge freaking shark. Carcharodon megalodon (Now possibly Carcharocles megalodon - see the other wiki for details) lived from 25 to 1.5 million years ago, was at least 15m long at the very minimum and almost certainly grew up to 18 metres, weighed 75 tons (making it the largest undisputed apex predator of all time), and was an apex predator that reigned for 20 million years (20 times longer than most others), specialized in killing whales, and went extinct due to the closing of the Central American Seaway, the migratory, breeding and hunting grounds of it and its prey. However in low grade schlock movies it will be uncovered after being frozen in ice and go on a superhunting rampage, tracking down our intrepid heroes all over the world before eating Boeing 747's in a single bite while flying. The appeal is simple. Being prehistoric it is a bit like a dinosaur, and Jurassic Park was cool. It's a shark, and Jaws is not only cool but the Trope Codifier for creature attack movies. It was the biggest of its kind (Up to Eleven and the biggest and most successful apex predator ever), just like Steven Spielberg's Oscar cabinet. Evidently, this generation is the one who became film directors because of Steven Spielberg. Sub-Trope of both Threatening Shark and Sea Monster. Compare Kraken and Leviathan; Giant Squid. Probably deserves honorary mention among Stock Dinosaurs, though nobody would mistake it for one. Note that "megalodon" is the animal's specific epithet, not the generic name, so it should not be capitalized.
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Anime and Manga
- In The Swarm of War, the new Overmind make a swimming Zerg unit which is one of these. It is even called the Carcharlisk.
- Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus
- Shark Attack 3: Megalodon.
- Megalodon: A 2002 shark film about oil drillers near Greenland who uncover a huge deposit of surviving prehistoric animals (including the megalodon) which goes on a killing spree and even crashes an airborne helicopter from deep below the surface which singlehandedly ruins everyone's day. At the end of it all one of the characters makes a Heroic Sacrifice and the survivors get away...until ANOTHER one pops out.
- In Shark Hunter, the main character is orphaned as a kid by a megalodon. As an adult, he joins a team going into a trench to figure out the fate of an underwater research station. Of course, it was destroyed by a megalodon, which ends up assaulting the sub and causing general death and destruction.
- Megalodon by Robin Brown came out in 1981, before the prehistoric megashark became a household name (resulting in the novel being republished under the uninspiring name of Shark) and is still one of the better efforts. The idea of megalodon being a shallow water predator is lampshaded, with the book detailing how they've evolved to survive in a deep-sea trench — basically they've become bottom-feeders scavenging off waste floating down from above, with eyes so adapted to the darkness that the megalodon can't go anywhere near the surface without intense pain. Unfortunately the US Navy is sending down submarines to survey the trench with intent to mine its rich load of gold and uranium, at the same time that the megalodon family gives birth to a more hungry and aggressive offspring.
- Steve Alten writes a lot of books with these; his novel Meg was about a megalodon that makes it to the surface after surviving down in the Mariana Trench. Hilarity Ensues.
- Extinct by Charles Wilson (one which was almost made into a TV miniseries)
- The Shark Wars series by EJ Altbacker stars a megalodon named Gray.
Live Action TV
- A megalodon features in two episodes of the Walking with Dinosaurs spin off Sea Monsters.
- Megalodon gets its own episode in the National Geographic Channel series Prehistoric Predators.
- The titular shark was featured in Discovery Channel's Shark Week mockumentary Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, a Spiritual Successor to Mermaids The Body Found, which itself featured a Megalodon.
- The History Channel series, Jurassic Fight Club, featured the Megalodon in an episode called Deep Sea Killers. It portrayed a deadly battle between Megalodon and Brygmophyseter, a prehistoric whale.
- Mastodon's second album, Leviathan, particularly the song "Megalodon".
- "Megladon (sic) Jaw" by underground Seattle rapper P-Wrecks.
- In Chaosium's Stormbringer supplement Demon Magic, the adventure "Sorcerer's Isle" had a megalodon that could sink ships by biting through their hulls and a giant whale-like demon named Lvthn.
- Megalodons appear in White Wolf's Scion as part of the monstrous fauna the Drowned Road, Titan of Water, controls.
- Hollow Earth Expedition. One of the most dangerous predators in the seas of the Hollow Earth is the megalodon, a shark that's more than 100 feet long and weighs more than 50 tons. They feed on whales and plesiosaurs, but avoid attacking the kraken.
- In First Edition Dungeons & Dragons megalodons are up to 50 feet long and can swallow smaller creatures whole. As was often the case in D&D, swallowed creatures could cut their way out.
- The patron deity of the sahuagin race manifests as a megalodon.
- In Shadowrun, a type of giant regenerating Awakened shark is commonly called "megalodon" for its resemblance to the extinct species, although its scientific name differs.
- Scribblenauts has a megalodon as one of its summonable creatures.
- The Ocean Hunter uses Megalodon as its version of Leviathan, the boss of the second stage.
- Champions Online features a giant mutated shark named Megalodon. It was planed to be a boss, but has not been implemented as one so far.
- Battlefield 4 : In the Naval Strike DLC map, Nansha Strike, if you position at least ten players around the floating buoy in Conquest Large and wait a few second, a Megalodon will jump out of the water and return to the depths, killing everything in its way.
- You can catch one in Final Fantasy XIV. But not as a trainable monster or anything - it's a fish and you catch one with a fishing rod. You can even turn it into a display piece for your house, and it's a great conversation starter for company-mates and visitors!
- Depth lets you play as a megalodon against a team of divers in a 5v1 game mode called Megalodon Hunt.
- Schlock Mercenary mentions out of hand that megalodons were genetically recreated sometime between the 21st and 31st centuries, then hunted back to extinction. Then, real-time years later some mad scientist on a resort planet clones a bunch of different species of sea predator, including a megalodon that eats two of the Toughs on vacation (fortunately the second one was wearing his armor).
- The Real Ghostbusters episode, Play Them Ragtime Boos, features a scene where the group are transported back in time to the Cenozoic Era in the middle of the ocean, where a hungry megalodon eyes them for lunch. Said megalodon actually looks more like a mosasaur.