Piranha - 21st October 2010

Joe Dante's semi-Jaws rip off for Roger Corman's legendary low rent but high fun studio is not unlike the fish equivalent of Kingdom of the Spiders and for those who have read my review of that below I won't repeat the point too much but basically this is a film that when the fish turn up and start attacking people it frolics on at a mean old pace and is several large industrial drums worth of pure fun with great, obviously cheap but perfectly acceptable effects and solid set pieces. 
It suffers, like Kingdom of the Spiders, with a bit of a slow and, at times, silly build up but its ace up its sleeve is its sense of humour. Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Burbs, Innerspace) is a film maker with a knowledge of cinema past and a great, cheeky and sometimes black sense of humour. It is this willingness to go a bit ridiculous and have fun with the cliches of the monster picture genre that saves Piranha from becoming a) just another rip off and b) a bad B movie.

It is helped in this endeavour by the glorious over acting of its cast. From Invasion of the Body Snatcher's extraordinarily hammy Kevin McCarthy to comedy camp leader Paul Bartel but the extra special mention has to go to the outrageously bat shit crazy and almost demonic eye rolling performance of Barbara Steele who steals the show "ahem! pardon the pun" by being an actress who seems to use the "I'm acting in another movie, altogether more gothic and mysterious, all by myself" method of screen performing. It's like watching a local amateur dramatics player from your aunts tea-party production of the life and times of Edgar Allen Poe wander aimlessly onto the set of a fun little monster movie and far from destroying it, actually giving you something to guffaw over till your trousers burst. Sheer, unbridled genius. 
This comes as no surprise when you IMDB her back catalogue. Barbara Steele is the gothic scream queen to rival all others.

The film plays out much as you would suspect from the title and the poster and is filled with lots of highly gory and unnerving effects in a series of more and more gruesome set pieces. The finale, where the main character appears to hold his breath for over three minutes and continues to carry out his objective despite lacking oxygen and being nibbled to death by hungry fish defies all realms of logic but that's a small price to pay for a film where the whole thing is filmed nicely, edited well and a simply joyous viewing for all the right reasons.
The only other thing I'd like to mention about it is the wonderfully old fashioned stop motion animation creature in the science lab near the beginning of the movie is a fantastic touch, never repeated or explained in the film but obviously and desperately needs its own spinoff!

7.5 out of 10 fish finger sandwiches
Points from the Misses 7 out of 10 fish finger sandwiches

Horror Movie Marathon - Day One - 23rd October 2010

Kingdom of the Spiders - 17th October 2010