Directed by Joe Dante
Screenplay by John Sayles
Starring Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies,
Dick Miller, Barbara Steele and Kevin McCarthy
Running time 94 minutes
Released August 3, 1978
The warm weather is quickly approaching, and it will soon be time to don our suits and hit the lakes for a refreshing swim, so I thought what better time to revisit a Roger Corman classic. I admit I watch this movie at least once a year, I cant help myself its just good ol' fun! Piranha came out on the heels of Jaws, billed as a parody. I believe its safe to say it far exceeded expectations pulling in $10 million internationally in box office sales! In fact it did so well, a sequel to the film was made Piranha 2: The Spawning, with remakes in 1995, 2010 and a sequel to the 2010 remake in 2012. So it seems to have become quite a franchise over the years, and it all started with this original $770,000 budgeted bit of campiness.The enormous success helped pave the way for other great eco themed B films of the era, most of which are go to films for me on rainy days with the family!
We start off with young lovers, taking a dip by moonlight. Oh no where did they go, has peril befallen our young couple?! With our lovers now missing, the not so bright but determined investigator Maggie (Heather Menzies) is sent to find the missing teens. A city girl out in the country, in way over her head stumbles upon a mysterious government installation.Shes accompanied by local good guy, gone alcoholic, who begrudgingly helps her every step of the way. Together they take on military science gone wrong. Are Maggie and her companions going to solve the mystery in time or will the townspeople find that they're nothing more than fish food??
Piranha is a great example of what we expect from Corman. Fun campy, slightly unbelievable, with just enough reality to let us get sucked into his alternative universe. His films rarely, if ever disappoint. Yes its a bit dated, but it is also a happy walk down memory lane. This is a fantastic pick for a Saturday afternoon at home with the family, something you can share with your kids, without too much worry. So pop the corn, grab the candy, and settle in for this classic cult flick!