Piranha

Piranha

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Director: Joe Dante

Cast: Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy

     
 

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The sophomore effort for director Joe Dante, a future protégé of Steven Spielberg, this low-budget, high-camp horror spoof of Jaws (1977) features several chiller stars of yesteryear. Insurance investigator Maggie McKeown (Heather Menzies) is dispatched to find two missing teenage hikers near Lost River Lake. She hires surly backwoods drunkard Paul GroganSee more details below

Overview

The sophomore effort for director Joe Dante, a future protégé of Steven Spielberg, this low-budget, high-camp horror spoof of Jaws (1977) features several chiller stars of yesteryear. Insurance investigator Maggie McKeown (Heather Menzies) is dispatched to find two missing teenage hikers near Lost River Lake. She hires surly backwoods drunkard Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) to serve as her guide. Searching the area, they find an abandoned military facility. The only resident is Dr. Robert Hoak (Kevin McCarthy), former head of a top-secret project to breed piranha for use in the Vietnam War. The project was closed down years ago, but Hoak has continued raising a deadly strain of the flesh-eating fish. When Hoak is knocked unconscious, Maggie and Paul accidentally release the piranha into a local river, which leads to the lake where a children's summer camp and a newly opened tourist resort will provide plenty of fish food for the hungry predators. Maggie and Paul race to warn the locals, but their pleas fall on skeptical ears, such as those of resort owner Buck Gardner (Dick Miller) -- until the piranha reach the swimmers. Piranha (1978) was co-written by John Sayles, making his motion picture debut.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This Roger Corman-produced cult favorite towers over its competition in the arena of Jaws imitators because it manages to deliver the goods that horror fans expect in effective style while also subtly spoofing the genre. The film benefits from a smart John Sayles script that is populated with appealing, believably quirky characters and overflows with quotable dialogue (the single best line arrives when an assistant tells his resort-owning boss "The piranhas are eating the guests, sir"). Director Joe Dante keeps the action moving at a rapid pace and knocks out a string of impressive set pieces in the process, including a nerve-jangling scene where a group of campers are attacked by the piranha and a suspenseful finale where the hero tries to open an underwater tank of poisonous waste to kill the piranhas before they get to him. Dante also works in plenty of subtle visual humor (for example, a beachgoer reading a copy of Moby Dick) and gets strong performances from his cast, including Bradford Dillman's stoic turn as reluctant hero Grogan and horror film icon Barbara Steele's icy performance as a quietly menacing scientist. All in all, Piranha is an intelligent blend of scares and wit that shows the genre-bending skills Joe Dante would soon develop to perfection on hits like The Howling and Gremlins.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/03/2010
UPC:
0826663116830
Original Release:
1978
Rating:
R
Source:
Shout Factory
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:32:00
Sales rank:
27,846

Special Features

Audio commentary with director Joe Dante and producer Jon Davis; Behind-the-scenes footage; "The Making of Piranha" featurette with new interviews from Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Dick Miller, Belinda Balaski and many more; Bloopers and Outtakes; Piranha trailer with commentary by producer Jon Davison - courtesy of trailers from hell; Stills gallery with photos and posters from around the world; Behind-the-scenes stills gallery featuring photos from Phil Tippett's personal collection ; Additional scenes from the newtork television version; Radio and TV spots; New world trailers

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bradford Dillman Paul Grogan
Heather Menzies Maggie McKeown
Kevin McCarthy Dr. Robert Joak
Keenan Wynn Jack
Dick Miller Buck Gardner
Barbara Steele Dr. Mengers
Bruce Barbour Actor
Paul Bartel Dumont
Barry Brown Trooper
Roger Creed Actor
Richard Deacon Earl
Hill Farnsworth Actor
Eric Henshaw Father in Canoe
Guich Koock Pitchman
Shawn Nelson Whitney
Nick Palmisano Actor
Robyn Ray Actor
Roger Richman David
Bobby Sargent Actor
Bill Smille Jailer
Michael Sullivan Actor
Belinda Balaski Betsy
Shannon Collins Susan
Bruce Gordon Col. Flaxman
Melody Thomas Laura

Technical Credits
Joe Dante Director,Editor
Jon Berg Special Effects
Roger Corman Executive Producer
Jon Davison Producer
Pino Donaggio Score Composer
Mark Goldblatt Editor
Jamie Anderson Cinematographer
Bill Mellin Art Director
Kerry Mellin Art Director
Conrad Palmisano Stunts
Richard Robinson Original Story
William Sandell Production Designer
John Sayles Original Story,Screenwriter
Jeff Schechtman Executive Producer
Chako van Leuwen Producer

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