If you’re a film geek, there’s no doubt you’re a Jaws fan. On the eve of its 36th anniversary (!), the film still holds up very well today.
Like Star Wars, Jaws also has an enormous fan following that has kept the film alive all these years, and will also prevent it from ever being remade. (Would be the first film geek riot in history.)
Patrick Jankewicz has lost count how many times he’s seen Jaws, and his devotion to Jaws drove him to write Just When You Thought It Was Safe, the book that not only covers the first Jaws movie in depth, but every movie in the Jaws series as well.
Jankiewicz really did his homework for this book, talking to many people involved in the Jaws films who’ve never talked before, and it’s truly a labor of love.
When Jaws first came through, Patrick’s mom decreed he was too young to see it.
“When it came back on one of its many re-releases, I whined till she took my brothers, sister and I,” he recalls today.
”Saw it at The Troy Drive-In, now a Red Roof Inn in Troy Michigan, and it was amazingly scary, despite the tinny speakers, and rive-in projection. My baby brother came along, and Mom would shout at him, ‘This scene is too scary – Cover your eyes NOW!’ Naturally I would unthinkingly cover up too, and then pull ’em down just in time for a glimpse of Ben Gardner’s head. Somehow, she made it even more effective.”
Before writing his Jaws book, Jankiewicz wrote for over 400 articles for publications such as Fangoria, and their late sci-fi counterpart Starlog.
“Through Fangoria, I interviewed a lot of guys who told me they got into directing or special effects because of Jaws, this subculture of guys like Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero, who will watch Jaws anytime it’s on, but there had been a dearth of new material (on the film).”
As to why he decided to cover the entire Jaws series, as well as the spoof sequel that never got made, Jaws 3 People 0, Jankiewicz says, “Jaws 2, Jaws 3-D, and Jaws The Revenge are always treated like the crazy aunts kept up in the attic. I thought it would be fun to unlock the door and meet those aunts.”
As to why he thinks Jaws is still holds up, and fans still love it to this day, “It’s a primal movie that hits us at a primal level,” says Jankiewicz. “Jaws is one of the five most often run movies on basic cable, it’s always on, quite a feat for a 30-something movie.”
Jankiewicz’s Just When You Thought It Was Safe is the book no Jaws fanatic should be without.