‘Cocaine Shark’ is Happening (sort of), and It Already Premiered in Japan

No, it’s not a sequel to Cocaine Bear, but it does look really goofy.

Cocaine Shark might not have much (or anything) to do with cocaine, but it does have a shark-like monster in it.

For better or worse, it looks like “animal attack” movies are back. Well, they’re back for now at least. Cocaine Bear (2023) has already made over $50 million worldwide, and the low-budget film industry is responding. We already told you about Attack of the Meth Gator coming soon. But now, get ready for Cocaine Shark with this trailer:

You probably noticed that “cocaine” is in the title, but it’s not mentioned by the characters or narrator in the trailer. That’s because it appears as if the movie was made as something else, then retitled Cocaine Shark. Why do we think so? Just take a look at the movie’s synopsis.

The crab shark swims underwater in Cocaine Shark (2023).
The shark effects look like a combination of stop-motion, puppetry, and digital.

A mafia drug lord has unleashed a new, highly addictive stimulant on the streets called HT25, derived from sharks held captive in a secret lab, and which causes monstrous side effects. After an explosion and leak at the lab, an army of mutated, bloodthirsty sharks and other creatures are set loose on the world as a small band of people try to stop the carnage.

Cocaine Shark synopsis via IMDB

On top of that, a trip down the Cocaine Shark rabbit hole reveals that the movie already had its premiere screening, but under a different title. A tweet from the Japanese “B-Grade to Z-Grade” distribution company Comma Vision shows information for a screening of a movie titled Kanizame Shakurabu that took place in Tokyo on January 29, 2023. The artwork for the film shows the same shark monster seen in the trailer for Cocaine Shark, and a tweet from @Munenori20, the person responsible for translating Kanizame into Japanese, confirms the movie’s director as Mark Polonia. Same diretor, same movie.

Kanizame Shakurabu is available on DVD in Japan.
Kanizame Shakurabu is already available for preorder in Japan on Amazon.co.jp (in English with Japanese subtitles).

The Japanese title sheds a bit more light on what Cocaine Shark actually is. The first word of the title, Kanizame, is actually two words. “Kani” means “crab,” and “same” (or in this case “zame”) means “shark.” So, “crab shark,” not “cocaine shark.” It’s a sci-fi, mutated-monster-shark movie rather than a drug-animal-attack movie, but it still looks fun.

A mutated monster in Cocaine Shark (2023).
There are other monsters in Cocaine Shark as well (like whatever this is), but the crab-shark is probably the main focus.

The second word of the Japanese title, Shakurabu, is a portmanteau of “shaku” and “kurabu.” These are Japanese pronunciations of English words “shark” and “crab,” so, Shakurabu is Shark-Crab. Machine translations may translate this to “shark club” or “shark love” because they all sound the same in Japanese when combined like this. And really, those titles are great as well.

Mark Polonia acrylic stand available to purchase in Japan.
An acrylic stand of filmmaker Mark Polonia (based on his appearance in Shark Encounters of the Third Kind) is available to purchase in the online Japanese shop for Comma Vision (though you may need a proxy shipper outside of Japan).

Even if the movie isn’t really about a shark eating loads of cocaine and going on a drug-fueled rampage, it still looks like schlocky mockbuster fun. Plus, the rebranding as “Cocaine Shark” is a wise move. For one thing, drug+animal movies are a hot topic on social media thanks to Cocaine Bear. But more specifically, Elizabeth Banks, the director of Cocaine Bear, recently mentioned that she’d be interested in directing a movie titled Cocaine Shark in the wake of news reports of over three tons of cocaine discovered floating in the Pacific Ocean near New Zealand. To be clear though, Elizabeth Banks is not involved in the Cocaine Shark movie we’re talking about here.

the crab shark from Cocaine Shark (2023).
The creature effects are top tier.

Cocaine Shark is directed by Mark Polonia and is distributed by Wild Eye Releasing. Polonia is something of a low-budget shark movie auteur. A quick perusal of his IMDB directing credits shows multiple shark movies including Sharkenstein (2016), Land Shark (2017), Shark Encounters of the Third Kind (2020), Noah’s Shark (2021), Sharkula (2022), Doll Shark (2022), and others. In 2023 alone Polonia has at least two shark movies coming out: Cocaine Shark and Jurassic Shark 3: Seavenge. The man knows his shark movies.

Jurassic Shark 3 & Cocaine Shark (2023).
Mark Polonia’s movies tend to use many of the same actors, and in the cases of Jurassic Shark 3 (left) and Cocaine Shark (right), props like this captain’s hat (and the boat) are reused.

Cocaine Shark is scheduled for an official release in North America on DVD and streaming on July 7, 2023. We also discovered that Vudu has had Cocaine Shark available for rent and purchase since May 15th! Check our New/Upcoming Horror Movies tracker for a direct link to watch on Vudu.

Also, Mark Polonia has plenty of other shark movies to keep you occupied. Why not start with Virus Shark on Tubi and go from there? And for more shark movies, check out our list of the Best Shark Attack Movies.

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.