What If? Stories are short stories set in film worlds you know and love.
Growing up I would watch the same movies over and over and would start to create my own stories within them.
I remember watching Jaws and Jaws 2 on repeat. I would finish the tape, press rewind and start all over again. My mum had recorded them off TV as you did back then (she broke up the terror with scooby doo cartoons).
We had an old top loader VCR and the remote plugged into it. I’d back right up, as far as the cord would allow before pressing play just in case the shark came out of the TV and got me - yes, I had an overactive imagination then.
I was deeply afraid but equal parts amazed. From the first POV shot I was mesmerised and couldn’t look away. Chrissie’s death is still one of the most gut wrenching scenes I’ve seen.
On paper, Jaws is ‘a big shark terrorises a small town’, but it’s so much more than that. The story is perfectly paced, no scene is wasted and the script is both expertly crafted and endlessly quotable.
Brody facing down the shark and hoping desperately to blow up the tank as it gets closer is for me the greatest ending. I’ve seen it countless times but I remain engrossed and always elated as Chief Brody says “Smile you son of a bitch!” and BOOM, we can all breathe when the nightmare is over.
I just never tire of watching Jaws - it feels like catching up with old friends or going home. It’s a triumph.
It’s always emulated but you can’t recapture its greatness. I wrote Amity as my homage to a film that birthed my desire to tell stories...and fear of open water.
One of these stories was “Amity”. I was always a fan of Deputy Hendricks, Chief Brody's loveable sidekick and I never trusted that Mayor, so the cogs got turning.
Our What If Jaws story is set in 1980. There have been no more shark attacks since 1978 and all seems well. Hendricks is suspicious though at the number of missing people and “boating accidents” so he digs deeper. What he learns could get him killed. It was never safe in the water!
Amity will be in issue 3 of What If? Stories which we aim to release in October, with your help we can guarantee it.
Having already self-funded issue 1 and 2 cash is a little tight. To help with costs in this book I have launched a kickstarter.
Please support What If Stories (if you can) and share the link with anyone you think might appreciate it.
“As you know, Amity means friendship”
Words by Matt Stapleton
All artwork on Amity is by RhysWootton