Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is a beloved creature feature that changed suspense forever. However, that change was far from planned.
In 1975, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws became a hit summer blockbuster while simultaneously having its viewers think twice about stepping foot into the ocean. The story about a man-eating great white shark carries a degree of realism that, even today, makes it a suspenseful experience to watch. However, the techniques that brought that suspense to life weren’t planned; they were improvised thanks to a faulty shark.
When Jaws began filming, many of the scenes used for Amity and when Police Chief Martin Brody joined Matt Hooper and Quint on the Orca to catch the shark were filmed on Martha’s Vineyard. Although the location was picturesque for a small town in the throes of shark-induced chaos, the mechanical shark, nicknamed Bruce, wasn’t a fan of the saltwater. While it worked for brief stints during filming, the saltwater corroded the shark, causing its pneumatic hoses to leak. As a result, Bruce was more often found dead in the water than not.