“There’s something in the water at Lost River Lake. Something you can’t see…something you can’t feel…until it’s too late!” Hey! That sounds like a great place to put a kids’ camp and an Aquarena vacation resort! Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they maneuver their log raft through the perilous waters inhabited by Piranha!
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 95 – Piranha (1978)
When flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort’s rivers, the guests become their next meal.
- Director: Joe Dante
- Writers: John Sayles (screenplay); Richard Robinson (story), John Sayles (story)
- Featured Cast:
- Bradford Dillman as Paul Grogan
- Heather Menzies-Urich as Maggie McKeown
- Kevin McCarthy as Dr. Robert Hoak
- Keenan Wynn as Jack
- Barbara Steele as Dr. Mengers
- Dick Miller as Buck Gardner
- Belinda Balaski as Betsy
- Bruce Gordon as Colonel Waxman
- Paul Bartel as Mr. Dumont
- Melody Thomas Scott as Laura Dickinson
- Barry Brown as Trooper
- Shannon Collins as Suzie Grogan
- Shawn Nelson as Whitney
- Richard Deacon as Earl Lyon
- John Sayles as Sentry
Piranha sailed unabashedly in the wake of the success of Jaws (1975), mimicking its story structure and several of its scenes. Joe Dante was glad to have the chance to direct his first feature and did his best to satisfy producer Rober Corman’s repeated demands for, “More blood! More blood!”
It’s no surprise that Bill brings up the stop motion animated critter, assuming any coherent plot involvement and follow through was lost in budget cuts. Doc digs the after kill practical effects created by Rob Bottin in his first credited effort and recounts the two scenes that scared him the most in his youth. Chad professes his infatuation for water-creature-based horror movies and relates an experience from his youth that might explain his feelings. He also loves Dick Miller’s portrayal of a Texan shouting, “Schmuck!” Jeff points out the score by Pino Donaggio, whose first film credit is for Don’t Look Now (1973) and who later became a favorite of Brian de Palma. He also extolls the virtues of the Scream Factory Blu-ray and its extras. In case you’re interested, Scream Factory is releasing a Limited Edition Steelbook with new content on June 11, 2019.
Your Grue Crew highly recommend this Roger Corman – Joe Dante collaboration. Though it’s relatively low budget, Piranha is a funfilled gorefest. If for no other reason, tune in to hear Doc practice his piranha sound effect throughout the podcast.
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