Schlocktoberfest III – Day 14: Piranha


Piranha (1978)


*Spoilers Throughout*

Piranha-posterWhat’s It About:
 Killer piranhas. Actually piranhas are already killers so I should clarify. Genetically engineered Piranha swarm a small lake-side town and devour anyone in its waters. Not like Jaws at all!

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • It’s alright to rip off a very popular movie, in fact in Hollywood it’s a given to capitalize on the newest fad or innovation but showing the Jaws video game during the opening credits is downright bold. However, this is Piranha, a more or less spoof on Jaws and director Joe Dante eventually becomes close with Spielberg so it really doesn’t bother me.
  • I’m a tad confused at the clay-mation creature in the research facility. I thought this was a film about piranhas. [And you never see this creature ever again nor is it mentioned ever. I think it was maybe supposed to be a plot-point about how Hoak is engineering various creatures but this plot was cut from the piranha movie. But then why is this shot of the creature walking on the desk still here? It also could’ve easily been cut. Very strange.]
  • Why are they on a self-made raft of logs tied together. Grogan is even pushing it like Huckleberry Finn with a long stick.
  • Piran-YAH! They are pronouncing it piran-YAH!
  • Get a shovel? Shouldn’t you call the police or at the very least a coroner? People can’t simply bury dead bodies willy-nilly.
  • I totally get this is a spoof so nitpicking is moot but if a swarm of killer fish are biting your hand or arm what’s stopping you from lifting your limb out of the water? Are the piran-yah strong enough to pull a grown man down? Doubt it.
  • The idea that the government funded a program to genetically engineer piran-yah to be able to live in cold water so they can eat Viet Cong soldiers is a pretty decent idea.
  • How exactly was Haok going to save that kid floating on the upturned boat by swimming to him? What a dumb idea.
  • They probably could’ve walked the riverside faster than pushing this stupid log raft.
  • How do you stop piran-yah? It’s called fishing.
  • “Lost River Lake?” Is that near Great Archipelago Pond?
  • So the military comes to investigate Grogan’s story about the Piran-yah but are highly skeptical? If they are reluctant to believe his story than why come to the lake?
  • Dick Miller is having a grand opening ceremony with some kid cutting the ribbon but she’s using some huge cardboard scissor about the same size as her. She can’t because its fucking cardboard and Miller says “nice try kid.” Before ripping it himself. Well maybe if you have the girl a real pair of scissors she’d be able to cut a ribbon ya jerk.
Next time just get a real pair of scissors stupid!

Next time just get a real pair of scissors stupid!

  • Paul Bartel is the best uptight, hard-on, douche camp supervisor ever portrayed in film. He is literally terrorizing these kids.
  • Grogan is driving a police car with squad lights and instead of flashing his lights to make an RV pull over when its driving too slow, he passes it on the left and nearly kills him and Christine with a head-on collision.
  • Why does Paul Bartel have a starter pistol for a kids water tube race? Seems extravagant no?
  • Christine calls an operator for the number for Dick Miller’s water park and the operator doesn’t know it. Christine then says that the operator should look in the phone book. It would be hysterical if the operator said “Why don’t you look in the phone book?” But regardless, since the water park JUST opened moments earlier that it wouldn’t be in the already published phone book anyway.
  • Nice call out to Atlantic City, NJ! Woo-Hoo!!
  • Their grand plan is too pollute the piran-yah to death? First that would ultimately kill all marine life and destroying the ecosystem. And two, that sounds like it would take years if not decades to kill the piranha completely. Can’t they just set a trap and blow them up or gather them all up in a huge tuna net somehow? Like put a few steaks in the water or something.

Is It Actually Scary: Some of the kills are done very decently. However, the sound of the swarming piranha is a high pitched, bee-like sound and I feel takes away from the fright.

Though his mind is not for rent, Don't put him down as arrogant, His reserve, a quiet defense, Riding out the day's events, THE RIVER!!!

Though his mind is not for rent, Don’t put him down as arrogant,
His reserve, a quiet defense, Riding out the day’s events,

How Much Gore: A whole lotta blood! Not too many memorable kills though.

Best Scene: The finale is worth mentioning since almost all of the victims of the piranha attack are kids on rubber tubes and rafts.

Worst Scene: I don’t quite understand why the scientist, Hoak jumps off the safety of the raft to swim over to the kid who’s somewhat safely on the capsized boat. How was he going to save this kid from a swarm of deadly piranha? He not only put himself in harms way but more or less attracted the swarm over to the kid. If he patiently waited until they rowed over to the kid then they could’ve saved him in a better fashion. Dope!

Mister, you didn't quite think this rescue through did you?

Mister, you didn’t quite think this rescue through did you?

Any Nudity: The beginning scene had skinny dippers.

Overall: I don’t know why I held off seeing this classic until now. I’ve seen most of the other Joe Dante pictures and thoroughly enjoy them and this one is no exception. It was fun to watch and laugh at. I don’t think it ranks as well as Gremlins or The Howling or even Explorers but it wasn’t too shabby of a horror flick. Highly recommended.

HEY! What about me?!

HEY! What about me?!

Score: 7 Cardboard Scissors (out of 10)

8 thoughts on “Schlocktoberfest III – Day 14: Piranha

  1. Haha, I saw this with my mom several months ago one Sunday afternoon. We laughed our heads off for most of it. It was so stupid and silly. Even the piranhas in Brazil (where I was born and raised) were laughing their heads off. LOL Even THEY have standards. 😛


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