“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…”
2020 marks the 45th anniversary for JAWS, Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking 1975 motion picture. It’s one of my all-time favorite films; Top 10 list good. On its surface, the story of JAWS is simple, the movie revolving around an unimaginable, unseen horror that we have no control over. It is a contrived plot point that’s been done to death by a gazillion schlocky monster movies in the past and by a bazillion imitators ever since.
However, what made JAWS a cut above the rest, aside from a better B-movie budget, was its incredible build-up in tension and the movie’s stellar cast of characters. With John Williams’ unforgettable score substituting for the shark off-screen, viewers were left with nothing but an amazing, well-acted movie. Quint and his “Indianapolis Speech” is one of the greatest scenes ever filmed. Even when the shark finally made its long-awaited debut at the end, the payoff was well worth the wait; the climatic battle between man and shark now legendary in the annals of pop culture history.
“This shark, swallow ya whole.”
With JAWS being one of my favorite movies, it is only unstandable that I’d want to have some JAWS collectibles in my life. Alas, JAWS collectibles have been few and far between. So imagine my surprise in 2001 when McFarlane Toys announced a deluxe boxed set featuring the epic showdown in the movie! Part of their Movie Maniacs line that was taking the toy world by storm at the time, this Series 4 diorama faithfully captured the fateful moment where Quint violently met his maker in the mouth of a man-eating great white shark. It was as brutal as it was unexpected.
“Smile you son-of-a…”
However, with the release of Todd McFarlane and Clive Barker’s Tortured Souls action figures earlier that summer, the bloody man-chomping October 2001 debut of the JAWS Deluxe Boxed Set came as no real surprise to collectors. How do you top figures of flayed, chained and leather lovin’ hell spawn? Simply put, you can’t (Tortured Souls is a Figure Flashback for another day).
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
Violence aside, what threw collectors really off guard with this release was its scale. Movie Maniacs collectors were accustomed to 6-inch poseable action figures, not a scaled static diorama. This was something new for McFarlane Toys. Measuring over 17 inches long and nearly 6 inches wide, this plastic replica of the sinking ship Orca confused collectors at the time.
Sure, the mini figure of Quint that could be posed whole or split in half (!) spilling out his inards was a nice McFarlane touch, but how exactly were collectors to display this with Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees?
“$10,000 for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.”
Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t recall the JAWS Deluxe Boxed Set flying off the shelves. Or perhaps I’m mistaken and it sold like hot cakes – my madcap McFarlane figure collecting memories blurring together? Either way, this diorama respects a very premium price on the secondary market today; a mint-in-box JAWS Boxed Set setting ya back at least $500.
“Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain.”
I pretend that there are no sequels to Steven Spielberg’s JAWS. I wish I never watched Jaws 2 and Jaws 3D, and in fact, I refuse to watch Jaws: The Revenge to this very day. JAWS on its own is a perfect piece of filmmaking that should have never been tainted with far inferior, money-grabbing predecessors. That said, I am thankful for the original JAWS movie collectibles that have swam their way into my collection. In addition to McFarlane’s JAWS Deluxe Boxed Set, I’m proud to own their JAWS 3D Movie Poster (a totally underrated series), Funko’s JAWS ReAction figure (SDCC bloody edition, baby!), as well as the epitome of JAWS collectibles in my collection, Sideshow’s amazing Bruce the Shark Maquette.
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