Tintorera (1977) [REVIEW] | Sleaze Sharks

When talking about Jaws rip-offs made soon after the success of Spielberg’s movie, one that doesn’t get mentioned that often is Tintorera, also known as Tintorera – Tiger Shark, and i wonder why not, i genuinely do, because while the italian Jaws rip-offs were so brazen to the point of actual lawsuit happening, this is from mexican exploitation shlockmeister Rene Cardona Jr.

You know, the guy better known for incredibly shitty and sleazy exploitation titles like Guyana – Cult Of The Damned, the film about the Jonestown’s Guyana massacre-ritual mass suicide, actually the first film ever to be based on the events, because taste was always out of the question, and he wanted to come first in to profit off a recent tragedy. Personally, i think i will always bring with me Night Of The Thousand Cats as the perfect example of his brand of shlock, non-existent budget and random animal cruelty. And in that one he doesn’t even kill a cat, but he does kill real sharks (yes, plural) in Tintorera, and would later film a dog being killed in Cyclone (1978).

Thankfully in that movie it’s clearly staged… i think, but since it’s Rene Cardona Jr. i just had to triple check, and even if common sense suggests he couldn’t get away with killing a dog, i’m still kinda unsure because they later show something that they clearly skinned and gutted. Just a warning, since i don’t know when or if i’ll ever get around to review that, for various reasons.

“ALL animals were harmed during the making of this film”

The underwater fishing scenes in Tintorera are real though, this movie is obviously too cheap to actually use fake sharks or even stock footage, so the sharks, barracuda, rays and turtles being killed are really being killed, it’s real animal cruelty, so if you wanna skip for that, i fully understand you, this movie isn’t worth suffering through any of this to begin with. Even the animal kills removed.

While it belongs to the conversation on Jaws rip-off, since it was marketed as such and was also based on a book, Tintorera isn’t really about sharks attacking a coast or specifically preying on people, there’s no “Major profit uber alles” equivalent. There are shark hunters, and they are searching for a shark.

A tiger shark (because “tintorera” is mexican for that) instead of a great white, as the animal…… is terrorizing the Mexican Coast.

So, yeah, this is a Jaws rip-off, i don’t care what some reviews say on IMDB, this is clearly made to cash-in the Jaws lime light. But i also see why people don’t exactly consider it a “proper” rip-off, as in Rene Cardona Jr. clearly couldn’t afford a lot of fx for the shark attacks, but then again, you don’t need many special effects if you don’t fake the animal cruelty and film almost 2 hours of people fucking. Or not, depending on what cut you’re watching, with the UK cut slimming the movie to 89 minutes, the USA cut to 85, and there’s a mexican cut version that scrubs the sex scenes.

I choose the 2 hours versione because i am a fuckin masochist. Doesn’t help that the unrated version i found didn’t have english subs for the many parts where they don’t speak english, but fortunately i was able to kinda get the dialogues in spanish (at least i think it’s spanish) since it’s a latin tongue like italian, at the very least i got the gist of the dialogues. Most of the times, anyway.

Don’t worry though, even without the sex scenes there’s plenty of filler and the usual “bumbling” about direction which really doesn’t make much clear from the get go… not because it’s hard to understand, but due to the movie not really explaining shit, just randomly introducing characters that might or might not be important to the plot, but worry not, you’ll see their cheeks caressed by the breeze regardless, even whey don’t go swimming naked at night. In shark infested waters.

It’s this dude (pretty much “best fuckboy”) having an affair with someone’s wife a protagonist? Are these random american girls important, or are just unlucky to have hitched a ride from farmers than first molest, then outright rape them on top of a truck full of oranges… until they themselves just randomly decide to go along with it? And later to tell all about to Hugo Stigliz.

Of course.

I do love how Stigliz character in the movie doesn’t really know how he ended up there, but wakes up in a hospital so exposition can fill him in. XD And you still don’t know what exactly is he doing, even 20 minutes in, because this movie prioretizes ogling at ladies in bikini and bad romance drama (even more because characters just show up in the movie without actual introductions or purpose) before any shred of plot dares to surface from the ocean of padding this film swims in.

This really isn’t the kind of movie for people that want fast moving plots, as Tintorera just LOVES to bum about and waste time with filler, often sleazy, the plot or any kind of actual narrative can wait, and it will. Boy it will. At least the music selection is nice, but make no mistake, this is an endurance test, a snoozefest of boring proportions, and since it’s a Rene Cardona Jr. flick, of course we have Hugo Stigliz and Andres Garcia in the cast, alongside Susan George, but the characters are so vapid, uninteresting and utterly despicable. At the least the ones you’re clearly supposed to care for, honestly Stigliz’s cabin boy is far more entertaining to watch and acts better than him.

The only relatable character is the random lady they take shark hunting with them, and only because she finds it insane that people do that for a living, not due to them slaughtering real sharks.

The underwater cinematography is alright, but still doesn’t fix how interminable AND boring Tintorera is, and of course when things finally happen, they’re so badly filmed, like, sure, the naked lady who was already swimming fast in open water somehow get teleported back to a place very close to the beach so Rene Cardona Jr. can spray fake blood in the water and have a real shark chomp on a mannequin head with a wig.

And this, almost 40 minutes in, it’s the only thing that electrocutes the writer’ balls into actually having some kind of plot: a shark killed Hugo Stigliz’s love interest, so, with the help of local ladies man, the beast must die.

Also because it could happen to other people. I guess. No much empathy to go around in Tintorera.

And by “40 minutes in” i actually mean 1 and 10 minutes into the movie, they notice the woman missing when it happens, but don’t even bother to investigate (and as a result never find out what happened to her), despite knowing full well what man eating creatures lie in those water. After all, we can’t have too much actual stuff happen in sequence, takes the boredom out of the experience. We can have a fairly unsatisfying, vague and randomly “emotional” crap ending, that we can have.

Seriously, i understand sleaze sells, i do, but why the fuck make it 2 hours?

Is this a tax scam?

This is one of those case were i would direct you to the cut version instead of the uncut one, like for Night Of The Thousand Cats, if you really want to add any of Rene Cardona Jr. movies to your list of “crap i watched”. I’m not saying the cut versions are necessarily better, i’m saying they’re bound to be less worse and easier to sit through and digest out of your anal fin, as Sharko repetedly taught us.

Unless your idea of a movie about the “great white” is of untanned human ass.

If nothing else, Tintorera comes off as an untentionally pro-animal rights movie, you definitely root for the “villain animal” here, i never felt so bad for real sharks in any other movie like this.

Once again, i renow my sincere “fuck you” to the late Rene Cardona Jr, not so much for the crap movie but due to the combination of it being awful, boring AND filled to brim with utterly tasteless shit. Granted, it gave people like me plenty to talk about, so thanks for that… but even for this purpose we could EASILY have done without the heap of gratuitous animal cruelty. Or without Tintorera, period.

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