Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Monday, August 5, 2013

WHERE'S THE KABOOM? THERE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM!


Piranha (1978)

Let me tell you a little story children. Don't worry, this movie was such a stinker you've got time to listen to my ramblings. My family decided to move what I considered to be 'out in the sticks' to 'the middle of town'. Now this 'middle' was actually on the city limits, but to me it was like getting off a deserted island and living in the city. 

Last days of an icon...
Our house was right across the street from the local drive-in which even had an indoor theater (that has since, sadly, gone the way of most of our iconic figures and been torn down) but at the time I thought was just totally cool.


Ignore the paint job - we thought this was really cool...
Until the first night in the new house came. We moved in the middle of summer, and with no air conditioning or even fans, an open window was my only option to keep from baking in my upstairs bedroom. That week/weekend was the premiere at the drive-in of Piranha. So for four nights, all I heard while trying to go to sleep was a weird what they called 'trilling' noise and screaming. Lots of screaming. 


Remember bringing your sleeping bag and
watching movies under the stars?
So except for getting to watch some movies over and over again it turned out that being right across was not so cool. There was tons of traffic, noisy people, garbage, and of course the big noise from the race after midnight as all the cars fought to get out.


Hmm? Oh yeah, Piranha. A B movie by Roger Corman directed by Joe Dante described (by me) as the poor man's Jaws - others call it a parody. In other words, I don't know what all the screaming was about unless it was all those extras yelling for their paycheck so they could get out of this stinker of a movie. Considering I haven't seen it until now, the buildup was definitely made up by my little young mind, not by this movie.

This movie was so lame, they were using the Vietnam war as the excuse for trying to create killer fish in a project cleverly called Razorteeth. This was 1978 people - Vietnam had been over for the US since 1973... hmm, actually that's not a whole lot of time, I suppose a post-war botched experiment was possible. In fiction.

It all starts with stupid teenagers. It always does. They break into what they think is a great abandoned swimming hole - it is instead the breeding ground of the aforementioned experiment and it doesn't take long for them to die - but nobody misses them for a while.

So an insurance investigator (What happened to the cops?) goes to find them. Gee, when I hear of Amber alerts I don't see insurance companies fighting each other for the chance to play detective. ANYWAY... she finds the typical grizzled loner to be her guide and eventual romantic partner. Maybe. They break into the same place the teenagers did (apparently gates and no trespassing signs don't mean squat) and find a lab and a bunch of mutant... things. And a crazed scientist who doesn't know the meaning of the word quit (he probably doesn't know the meaning of a lot of words) played wonderfully but briefly by Kevin McCarthy. 

After some grisly discoveries (apparently these piranha don't chew their food so well - they leave big scraps) the two discover that they have accidentally let out the piranhas because hey, the movie has to move forward.

So what's the big deal? If they reach the dam and it opens to keep the water levels, uh, level, all the nasties will be free to attack the people who use the river for lots of polluting. Umm, I mean swimming. So the two main characters that won't be dying in this movie (that's the way it usually goes) rescue a young boy whose dad wasn't so lucky and they barely make it to shore, soaking wet, but the leap was a magical one because when they hit the ground they were not only perfectly dry, but their hair was neatly coiffed too.

Why doesn't the army do something? Well, it seems that a Colonel has invested lots of money in a riverside resort-type park, plus there's a summer camp. So they try to keep the two quiet but it kind of gets squashed when the fishies attack their potential paying customers. Rats. I mean piranha.

But the two manage to pollute the water enough to kill the fish (Oh, good strategy - ruin the water for use forever and where is that polluted water going to go?). As a news report is going out that the nasty fishies are dead and never coming back we hear that irritating sound that all fish make NEVER ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD and the ocean where, of course, the pollution AND the still alive piranha are planning their next movie.