|Directed by||René Cardona Jr.|
|Produced by||Gerald Green|
|Written by||René Cardona Jr.|
|Music by||Basil Poledouris|
|Distributed by||United Film Distribution Company|
Tintorera is a 1977 Mexican-British horror film directed by René Cardona Jr. and starring Susan George, Hugo Stiglitz, Fiona Lewis and Andrés García. It is based on the novel of the same name by oceanographer Ramón Bravo, who studied the species of shark known as 'tintorera' (a 19ft shark) and discovered the sleeping sharks of Isla Mujeres. The film, along with many monster movies of the 1970s and 1980s, is very similar to Jaws. It is also known by the alternative title Tintorera: Killer Shark.
Steven (Hugo Stiglitz) a U.S.-born Mexican businessman, arrives in a Mexican resort village on a yacht anchored off shore. One of the local fishermen and the caretaker of the yacht, Colorado (Roberto Guzmán) takes Steven with him when he goes to haul in the sharks he's caught - and he's annoyed to find that another shark has taken a huge bite out of one of them.
Steven then sets his sights on Patricia (Fiona Lewis), an Englishwoman on vacation. They have a whirlwind romance but break up when Steven can't decide if he's in love with her. Steven is extremely jealous, however, when she begins a relationship with Miguel (Andrés García) a womanising swimming instructor at the nearby resort hotel. While Steven stews on the yacht, Patricia and Miguel have sex. Then she goes skinny-dipping in the ocean and is eaten by a large, apparently emphysemic,19-foot-long (5.8 m) tiger shark.
The next day, Steven confronts Miguel in the hotel bar. Miguel tells Steven that Patricia was in love with Steven but she must have returned to England. Neither man ever learns of her true fate. Miguel introduces Steven to two sisters, American college students Kelly and Cynthia Madison (Jennifer Ashley and Laura Lyons). They go on a double date and, at the sisters' suggestion, swim to the yacht for some skinny-dipping. The shark's heavy, labored breathing can clearly be heard but they make it to the boat safely. Kelly and Cynthia then hop back and forth between Miguel's and Steven's beds. They all swim back to shore the next morning and the submerged tiger shark again chooses not to bother them. When Miguel and Steven start a shark hunting business, Miguel tells Steven that if a tiger shark ever appears, they must immediately get out of the water.
One night, Miguel and Steven meet Gabriella (Susan George) a young English tourist. Miguel and Steven take Gabriella shark hunting with them. She's appalled by what they do, but admits her feelings for them have become powerful. The three of them decide to have a triangular relationship; she'll be sexually involved with both of them, but they won't fall in love with her or she with them. They tour the local Mayan archaeological sites together, then retire to the yacht for sex. The next time they go shark hunting, a shark appears and rips Miguel in half.
Gabriella is so upset that she decides to return to England. Steven, meanwhile, vows revenge on the shark, enlisting the local coastguard and fishermen in a campaign to kill the tiger shark and seemingly every other shark in the area. "I hate the bastards", Steven tells the troubled Colonado, who in turn assures him that so many sharks have been killed, the tiger shark must have been one of them. Meanwhile, unbeknown to Steven or Colonado, the tiger shark attacks another small fishing boat and eats two fishermen.
Steven goes to a nighttime beach party with Kelly, Cynthia and two other American women (Priscilla Barnes and Pamela Garner) after the party ends, Kelly and Cynthia suggests more skinny-dipping. This time, the tiger shark attacks, ripping Cynthia from Steven's arms as he tries to make out with her in the water, as well as injuring the other two women, both of whom safely make it ashore. Steven vows to kill the shark himself.
That evening, Steven lures the shark with a devilfish he's speared for the occasion, and when he hears the shark's rasping approach he shoots it with a speargun with an explosive charge. The shark rips off Steven's arm but it's finally destroyed by the explosive. Steven awakens in a hospital room, minus his right arm, thinking happy thoughts about his ménage à trois with Gabriella and Miguel.
- Susan George as Gabriella
- Hugo Stiglitz as Steven
- Fiona Lewis as Patricia
- Andrés García as Miguel
- Jennifer Ashley as Kelly Madison
- Eleazar García as Crique (as Eleazar Garcia 'Chelelo')
- Roberto 'Flaco' Guzmán as Colonado (as Roberto 'Flaco' Guzman)
- Laura Lyons as Cynthia Madison
- Carlos East as Mr. Madison (as Charles East)
- Priscilla Barnes as girl from bar #1
- Pamela Garner as girl from bar #2 (as Pamela Gardner)
- Erika Carlsson as Anita (as Erika Carlson)
- Manuel Alvarado as naval officer
- Alejandro Ciangherotti as fisherman #1 (as Alexander Chianguerotti)
Priscilla Barnes, unknown at the time, appears towards the end of the film as a party girl who encounters the shark during night swimming.
The shark in the film was a Tiger shark. Locations were filmed at Isla Mujeres, a resort island near Cancún. All the underwater scenes were filmed with live sharks using the submarine expertise of Ramón Bravo.
Due to the censorship imposed by the Mexican government at the time, there were two versions of the film prepared - the so-called uncut version, with plenty of explicit nudity, for foreign markets, and a cut version for domestic (Mexican) exhibition. It's now possible to find both versions on DVD.
The original English dub in theatres and on video featured the voices of Susan George and Fiona Lewis, who played the two British tourists in the film. However, this dub was later lost and a new one was created with American voice actresses, which is the one used on the DVD.
Some international release dates:
- March 31, 1977: Mexico City premiere (¡Tintorera!)
- April 7, 1977: Mexico (¡Tintorera!)
- August 10, 1977: Sweden (Tigerhajarna - havets marodörer)
- August 25, 1977: Italy (Tintorera: Lo squalo che uccide)
- September 16, 1977: Germany (Tintorera! Meeresungeheuer greifen an)
- October 30, 1977: United Kingdom general release (Tintorera) [in a double-bill with Communion, UK title of Alice, Sweet Alice]
- June 7, 1978: United States (Tintorera: Killer Shark)
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- Theaters Phoenix - Tintorera - Starts Today The Arizona Republic. June 7, 1978, page 57.