Selacophobia is the fear of sharks; it is usually generalized, and it affects many people.
Our relationship with these ancient predators is actually long and complex: sharks are venerated as gods in some cultures, while in others they embody the terror of the sea.
Cinema has certainly contributed in a decisive way to create and fuel the terror feeling toward these animals, since the first movie about sharks in 1936 entitled White shark, in which the protagonist makes fun of local environmentalists who beg him not to kill any animals. .
It follows in 1956 The Sharkfighters by Jerry Hopper, which tells the true story of the sinking of the American cruiser USS Indianapolis, during the Second World War, after which the sailors tried to save themselves by jumping into the sea and they were attacked by sharks.
From them on, the sharks have been the protagonists of some B movies until, in 1975, Bruce, the Spielberg shark, arrived. The movie “The Jaws” was the box office smash. Considered a masterpiece and certainly the best movie about sharks, it was never equalled, despite numerous attempts at imitation; The Italian film Great White, for example, released in 1981, was played only a month, because Universal won the plagiarism suit and the film had to be withdrawn from theatres.
Spielberg’s movie was based on a novel by Peter Benchley, who, after realizing the damage it had caused, pledged for the rest of his life to disseminate about sharks, in order to try to change the general negative perception, which he had helped to create.
Over the years, numerous more or less appreciable movies about sharks have been made and, looking at some titles, it is easy to realize that they have been presenting these animals in a terrifying way:
Cruel jaws- Mako-the shark of death, Shark night-the lake of terror, Shark swam-. Attacking sharks, Sharknado, etc
Among the lattes sharks genre movies it is to be remembered the Meg (2018), which grossed $ 500 million at the box office and narrates the attack of a giant prehistoric shark on a submarine.
But the real life is very different from movies one: sharks must be afraid of us and not vice versa. Around 100 million of sharks are caught in the world every year and many species are at risk of extinction, while fatal attacks on humans can be counted on the tip of one hand. Sharks are essential for maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems and their disappearance can cause serious and not always predictable consequences.