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Nightmare Fuel / Jaws

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The film:

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mv5bmjaymja0nzmynv5bml5banbnxkftztcwmjmxmtkznq_v1_sy1000_cr0014991000_al_9.jpg
This is the movie that made you deathly afraid to go out in the water.

"Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’... ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then.... ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and... they rip you to pieces."
Quint
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Jaws is a movie about a shark stalking its prey, devouring them piece by piece, with nary a noise nor expression. You bet your ass it has its scary moments.


  • The iconic tune of whenever the shark appears is unnerving in itself. The happy jingle about half way in doesn't help.
  • The famous poster of the menacing shark heading towards the unsuspecting victim is very chilling.
  • Just think about the fact that this film alone is responsible for making people afraid of going into the sea because of what could be lurking below the surface. People were even afraid to go into swimming pools. It's considered one of the scariest horror films ever for a good reason.
  • The opening scene of the film where the girl in the water is killed. You never see the shark — only its perspective and her reaction, while hearing the amazing score by John Williams. Hearing her scream, struggle to breathe, and try to seek refuge on the buoy makes you imagine what the shark is doing to her under the surface. Bravo named it the scariest scene in film history for a reason.
    • What makes it even worse is, as she's screaming for help, the guy she was going to go skinny dipping with is falling asleep on the shore and completely unaware of what's happening to her. Granted, there's not a whole lot he could have done, but it's still horrible.
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    • Listen carefully during the attack, and you can hear Chrissie screaming "Oh, it hurts!" and quoting part of the Lord's Prayer, and then her final words being a screamed "GOD, PLEASE, HELP!", with her being dragged under the water for good before she can even finish the "HELP!"
    • The actress Susan Backlinie is so convincing in playing the horrible pain that a rumor persists that we’re actually seeing her ribs get broken by the harness used to drag her around. Even if it’s likely not true — she insists it isn't — the fact that it’s so believable is a real testament to the scene’s power.
    • The complete silence that sets in once she's pulled under for the last time. Where one second earlier there was a human begging not to die, there is now... nothing. No trace, no echo, no bloodstains, nothing, just the Atlantic ocean rolling on.
      • The contrast between the instantly peaceful ocean and what is surely happening to her under the surface is chilling to think about.
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    • While it lacks the suspense factor of the film by virtue of its medium, the attack is quite frightening in the original novel, too, though for different reasons. Particularly, with the benefit of not having to watch a special effects budget, Benchley gets quite gruesome with Chrissie's death scene. The other attacks by the shark are also described pretty graphically, especially Alex Kintner's, but none are quite as effective as Chrissie's.
  • The bit where the two fishermen try to catch the shark. The dock they're on collapses, dragging one of the men out to sea. As he shakes himself loose and begins to swim back to shore, the piece of dock that the shark is still attached to stops and turns around and begins pursuing him. What makes this moment so terrifying is that at this point, we get a Theme Music Power-Up. Only his friend's constant encouragement of "Take my word for it, don't look back! Swim, Charlie, swim!" saves his life. Then the music intensifies into a fast beat as if the shark is accelerating after Charlie and getting closer. Even as Charlie reaches the dock he can't find purchase on the slippery surface as the dock comes in fast towards him as he screams "I can't get up! I can't get up! Help me! Help me!" Had the other fisherman not pulled him out he would have seen the shark lunge forward and devour him. You can almost sense the shark's disappointment that his prey has eluded him. There is also some Black Comedy as once ashore Charlie groans "Can we go home now?"
  • It's a short moment, but as the two fishermen are trying to catch the shark, Brody is flipping through a book about sharks. The first couple of pictures aren't too bad, showing mostly just shots of sharks swimming or sharks that were caught, but the last few photos are real pictures of shark attack victims, including a lingering shot of a man with a chunk of flesh the size of a basketball ripped out of his side, with his hip protruding from the gaping hole of where the rest of him used to be, and a man (possibly a corpse) who is missing almost all of the flesh of his leg from the knee up.
  • When Pippet the dog disappears, with the very strong implication that he's become shark food. It can be very unpleasant for people who really like dogs. It doesn't help that right after the above happens, there's the attack on Alex Kintner. There's perhaps the most distressing thing about the implied death of the dog. NO-ONE NOTICED. As horrible a thought as it might sound (especially to pet lovers), if someone had actually sighted that the dog had been taken by the shark, it would have given them some warning. And young Alex might have been spared his fate as a result. But no. A silent predator sneaks in, takes someone's cherished pet, and then takes someone's son. What's even more horrifying about the scene is that it's the horror version of the Shell Game; the audience is too busy trying to pick out Bruce's next victim that they lost track of the dog in the process.
  • The second major attack from the titular shark. A peaceful day, everyone's minding their own business, shouts of joy drowning each other out. Then, slowly, we focus on Brody's dawning horror, as we cut between him and a lone child, panicking beyond belief, bobbing up and down in the water IN A GEYSER OF HIS OWN BLOOD. IN A PG MOVIE. Then, the blissful calm turns to wary alarm as everyone on the shore starts rising up, murmuring in wonder and confusion. Then, all of a sudden, the child's screams stop, and we see a woman, Mrs. Kintner the child's mother, asking "Alex?" warily before it cuts from her to an image of a torn flotation device, surrounded by tomato-red water before fading to black.
    • When Alex is going down, he's still gagging and screaming, while the water around him turns red. That seven-year-old boy's death was excruciating.
  • The search for Ben Gardner aboard his boat is one of the most frightening jump scares ever put to film. When Hooper goes into the ocean to investigate the hull of Gardner's seemingly abandoned boat, he discovers a shark tooth embedded in one of the holes of the boat. When he takes a closer look into the hole, the severed head of Gardner (missing an eye) suddenly shows up with a terrifying shriek, scaring both Hooper and the audience. Steven Spielberg reshot that scene during post-production to make it into a Jump Scare because he wanted to add "one last scream" into the film. And it was definitely effective!
  • The Fourth Of July Attack
    • Brody tells Michael that he can go on his sailboat, but go to the pond and not the open water. He reasons that if the shark reappears, it won't go into a small estuary. Then an artist screams, "SHARK! SHARK! SHARK IN THE POND!" Brody is prepared to investigate halfheartedly if it's another hoax, before his wife reminds him, "Michael's in the pond." Those words strike instant fear in him; Brody's power-walk becomes a full-on sprint and he screams if someone has a gun. He nearly sees his son eaten alive.
    • Credit to the parents, they do what they can to rescue their kids, and a Heroic Bystander group. There is also a group of people frozen in fear, watching as the telltale fin slices through the water, and shouting.
    • The scene where the shark attacks one of the victims riding a paddle-boat followed by the sight of the poor man's severed leg drifting in the ocean. He's screaming at the top of his lungs before going eerily silent. Even worse, said boater was warning Michael and his friends to get out of the water, asking if they were okay when Michael was having trouble tying knots.
      • This particular attack has an extra element that makes it terrifying; it's the first time in the movie we get to see an actual shot of the shark's head, and it is massive. It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot, but the sight of those massive jaws just leisurely opening as it comes in on its side, angling to sink its teeth into the victim, is terrifying foreshadowing of the infamous chumming scene and Quint's death in one simple shot.
    • Michael goes into shock, and he's barely conscious when his friends drag him onto the beach. His mother cries over him, fearing that he's dead. Brody reassures her that he'll be fine, but there's a cut to him in the hospital with his parents promising him all the ice cream he wants. He doesn't have a physical scratch on him, but the trauma was very strong.
  • Sharks, on the whole, are misunderstood and nonviolent creatures. However, Jaws was based on one very atypical shark in real-life that brutally killed four people over the course of five days. So, a creature whose species isn't normally given to murder goes on a killing spree... wait, doesn't that make it even WORSE?
  • During the hunt for the shark they periodically manage to harpoon floating barrels to the beast to track it and keep it from diving. Quint insists no shark, no matter how big, can possibly dive once it has three barrels attached. The shark dives. This is NOT any ordinary shark.
  • The scene where a disgruntled Brody dumps chum in the water and the shark makes a sudden appearance. They definitely should've gotten a bigger boat... This moment is even more powerful by the soundtrack — or lack thereof. All throughout the movie John Williams has been training you that Shark = Music and that No Music = No Shark. Every attack, we get Williams leaning hard on the string section and fake out moments like the boys with the cardboard fin are scoreless. So later in the movie, it's been a while without an attack, the audience has gotten relaxed, Brody is throwing out chum and suddenly BAM! SHARK! Our first good look at the beast, and there was no "okay, here comes the monster" music. It completely catches the audience off guard, creating one of the most memorable moments in the movie, and it's all because the soundtrack sucker-punched you.
  • Quint describing the Indianapolis disaster. Because that really happened. Sure, some of the finer details are wrong, but potentially hundreds of people really were Eaten Alive. One of the most chilling scenes and it doesn't involve any action at all. After he told his bone-chilling story, you can hear a haunting sound. Quint explains it's just a whale, but it's still creepy.
    • In a bit of Five-Second Foreshadowing is Hooper's reaction to learning that Quint's arm scar is of a removed Indianapolis tattoo. Hooper, who had been drinking and is in a very jovial mood after swapping scar stories, immediately stops laughing and is Suddenly Sober. Clearly aware of what happened to the ship, for the rest of the story he keeps quiet and stares at Quint with a look of respect and awe.
  • The scene in which the shark begins ramming the side of the Orca was distinctly frightening.
  • The scene where Hooper is in the cage, watching the shark slowly inch closer and closer. It passes the cage, seeming not to care. Hooper readies his spear. The shark slams onto the cage from the back, just behind Hooper. The worst part is that, when the shark keeps lunging towards Hooper, you honestly can't tell if it's a real shark or Bruce.
  • Quint slowly being killed by the shark is both nauseating and horrifying. The experienced shark-hunter slowly slides down the length of his boat, incapable of preventing his descent. We see the shark's teeth biting right into his stomach and all the blood comes out painting the water red. In the last moment you can also hear his spine breaking. His screams of agony add to the horror.
  • Everything after Quint's death, imagine being alone on the mast of a sinking boat, and knowing the only thing saving you from being devoured alive is a one in a million shot. And unlike the previous attacks where the shark leaves you alone for awhile, the shark rams through the side of the sinking boat at Brody very unexpectedly.
  • A Deleted Scene makes the estuary attack even worse, where the shark goes after Michael whilst it has the first boater in its jaws, and at first Michael ends up in the boater's grip. The boater is thrashing while bleeding from the mouth, and Michael can't move at all, all while it seems like the shark is trying to find a way to fit Michael in its mouth, too. In the end, either the boater dies and his grip slackens, or he uses the last of his strength to push Michael away to safety before being dragged underwater and ripped to pieces. You can see why it was cut, with the production crew saying it was too horrifying to use, including the stuntman involved.
  • The attack on Alex Kintner was originally going to be even more gruesome and terrifying. Originally, it was planned that the shark would rise from the depths and gobble up Alex in plain sight. It was scrapped for being too graphic, and the film went with a Nothing Is Scarier approach where the attack isn't clearly shown. However, the scene was filmed at some point, and there's a truly creepy picture showing what it would have looked like.

The ride:

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jaws_the_ride.jpg
Sick burn!

  • At the beginning of the ride, it is revealed that the shark has returned, as it sinks and eats the passengers of another boat. You get to hear the not-so pleasant sound of that boat's skipper begging for help and then screaming over the radio transmission.
  • There's also a scene where the boat enters a dark boathouse, which suddenly begins to crumble apart due to the shark attempting to break in. It succeeds, pops out of the water, and lunges right at you. All in the dark.
    • Additionally, upon entering the boathouse, you are first treated to the sight of some gory pieces of flesh from another shark lying on the floor.
  • After the boathouse, the shark lunges right out again to the left of the boat, creating a rather effective jump scare. In the original version of the ride, it actually bit into the boat and dragged it a couple of feet before the skipper eventually regained control.
  • The ride's gruesome ending where the shark accidentally bites a power line, electrocuting and then completely frying it. You even see its roasted remains, until it reveals that it's actually still alive when it makes one final lunge towards the boat before being killed by the blast of the skipper's grenade launcher.
    • The ride's original ending was arguably even more graphic. The skipper would shoot a grenade right into the shark's mouth. The shark would then go back underwater, only to explode mere seconds later, leaving behind a pool of blood and pieces of skin and flesh.
  • In a meta example, after Amity was replaced by Diagon Alley, the creative team saved one full size Bruce and had him buried beneath the London fountain. So in a way, he'll always be there, lurking out of sight, just below the surface of the water...
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