classified 15

Reframing Film


Sat 27 July 18:30, 18:40

20th Century Flicks Videodrome and 20th Century Flicks Kino

Joe Dante
Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies-Urich, Kevin McCarthy
105 mins, 1978, Japan, USA
Primary language
"Like all the best exploitation flicks, Piranha is driven by a ruthless desire to entertain and, in this non-pretentious ambition, it succeeds magnificently" - Kim Newman, Empire Magazine

Following the phenomenal impact of surprise summer hit Jaws (1975) a series of B-movies quickly attempted to exploit and cash in on audience appetites for aquatic shocks. One of the finest was Piranha, from the legendary producer Roger Corman’s New World Studios, which Spielberg himself described as “the best of the Jaws Ripoffs”.

A couple (Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies-Urich) in search of two missing teenagers unwittingly free a somewhat warped military scientist’s (Kevin McCarthy) mutant fish near a summer camp and resort lake.

The directorial debut of Joe Dante adapted from a script by John Sayles, Piranha combines crisp action with razor-sharp satire delivering all the visceral shocks, thrills and spills of the new genre, whilst layering in a critique of America’s involvement in Vietnam - the mutant piranha were genetically engineered to be released in the rivers there.

With an introduction by Timon Singh (Forbidden World Film Festival, Bristol Bad Film Club).

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