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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Piranha (1978)

Sometimes I just crave a Roger Corman cheesefest.  Piranha fits the bill quite nicely!  Corman knew how to make a wide array of films from the inexcusably horrible Creature From the Haunted Sea (1961) to the brilliant Mask of the Red Death (1964).  Piranha falls somewhere between these two extremes.  After the success of Jaws (1975) and The Deep (1977), filmmakers continued to look for water terrors that would lure people into the movie theaters.  Corman, quite aware of what he was making, set out to spoof them a bit and the results are quite delicious!

The story begins in a summer resort town that, conveniently also has an abandoned US Army test site where the uber-hungry piranhas were created.  Naturally, they get loose and things go downhill from there.  Director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace) knows how to shoot action with a lot of heart and Piranha has it.  Each scenario is achingly predictable but also enjoyable to watch as the next group of victims is lined up for the attack.  The sound and look of the piranhas is intentionally bad, adding to the fun of it all.  There is nothing surprising that happens in Piranha.  All the predictable stereotypes are there.  Who could ask for anything more?

Well, the film also has a cameo role by Italian scream queen Barbara Steele [The Pit and the Pendulum, Black Sunday ] as a scientist.  It just adds to the fun.  Bradford Dillman channels a bad Charlton Heston in the lead character, Paul Grogan, and Heather Menzes-Urich is prefect as his perky blond sidekick Maggie.

If you watch Piranha expecting Jaws, you will likely be disappointed.  If you’re looking for a tongue-in-cheek good time, then you just might fall in love with it.  MANY sequels and remakes were made but I think the original is still the best.

Sometimes bad is good and Roger Corman knows how to serve it up like no one else!

RATING: Good. [Impossible to rate]

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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