Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Dick Miller
Director: Joe Dante
Genres: Comedy, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Roger Corman produced this shameless Jaws rip-off at the height of the "nature gone wild" boom of American cinema and struck B-movie gold. Scripted by John Sayles and directed by Joe Dante, this tongue-in-cheek thriller ... more »
Member Movie Reviews
Lory R. (melikedvd) from RICHMOND, CA
Reviewed on 10/3/2017...
I'm writing this review because there seems to be a misunderstanding about this film. It's one of the rare cases where the full frame edition is truer to the original film then the widescreen edition. That's because Joe Dante himself has stated that the film was not shot widescreen. That means they have to cut off some of the top and bottom image to release it in a widescreen edition. The earlier full screen special edition actually is closer to how it was shot and originally shown.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jefferson N. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA
Reviewed on 12/8/2011...
Piranha is a wacky film about the government being up to dirty tricks again and training aggressive, biogenetically engineered piranha fish to attack waterways in Viet Nam. The war ends before they can sic their little monsters on the Viet Cong, so they just leave them in the care of a mad scientist in the mountains of North America. Everything is fine up until a couple of teenagers go skinny dipping in the piranhas' tank and get eaten. A plucky female private detective from the city goes to the mountains in search of the kids and enlists the aid of a drunken mountain man who can't go two breaths without a drink. They come upon the lab and accidently unleash the beasties on the river...and a resort park. As often happens, the government doesn't want the secret to get out, so instead of warning the populace, they try to keep it quiet. As does the resort owner. And, of course, on opening day, guess who shows up to crash the party? This is, of course, riding on the coattails of the Jaws movies. But, I would hazard to say, it's better than any of those except for the original. Joe Dante uses Roger Corman's tricks of keeping the story moving with crazy, original characters and not showing us a whole lot of the piranha until the end. When they do show up, they actually look pretty good for B-Movie creatures. At least they're not cheap, computer-animated monsters. There is blood and there are half-naked, nubile swimmers. And crazy explosions. Everything you would expect from a movie produced by Roger Corman. If you're a Corman fan and you haven't seen this...Get off your butt and watch it!!!
We're gonna need a bigger boat....Blu Ray Review
Jamison Ballard | 09/07/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"OK a little Roger Corman history lesson. Take an "A" movie like Alien, Creature form the Black Lagoon, Jaws.....and make a "B" grade ripoff of their success. What you get is GENIUS.
Piranha is a Jaws ripoff, but it is a blast to watch. I will save you the synopsis since our first reviewer does a fine job in that and give you the cliff note version.
Army testing area sign says "Keep Out" which means please come in. MIA after entering, but soon people come looking for them. Don't push that button!!!! Piranha now have been let into the river. Fishermen, Kids Camp and teens hanging out on the beach are all on the menu. There you go that's it, but the ride to get there is great, so many great one liners. "B" movie lover this is a 5 star must see.
Alright now sizing up the blu ray. I have owned the original DVD release and let me tell you this is a HUGE upgrade. Piranha now is widescreen and fills the entire screen. The picture has never looked so good. I was amazed at how cleaned up this '78 flick looked. The sound is both clear and loud, while never being plagued by sounding computer enhanced. Overall, a must own for fans and a must see for "B" movie lovers. Highly recommended."
"Look! Up in the Sky! It's Superman!"
Andrew Estes | Maine | 08/30/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Part parody, part homage, the Roger Corman-produced "Pirahna" pays cheesy tribute to Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" with its tongue planted firmly in cheek. The film has become the stuff legends are made of. Not only did it launch the career of a noteworthy director (as did its sequel) but it also spawned two separate remakes, with the latest being what looks like this summer's biggest guilty pleasure film. But before all that was the little film that could, an unlikely b-movie underdog that does its job surprisingly well. Because of this movie, you will believe that fish on sticks can be threatening.
Before he would go on to become a big name in the horror genre in the 1980's, director Joe Dante ("The Howling" and "Gremlins") let loose on this shoe-string budget b-flick. Although the film has little style, it gets by with a strong sense of humor and its oddball assortment of characters. Heather Menzies plays Maggie, a video game obsessed insurance investigator who is thrust into the arms of Bob Vila look-alike Paul (Bradford Dillman) -- a bitter drunk with a dry sense of humor -- when she sets to the wilderness in search of a missing couple. The two inadvertently stumble upon a military experiment, letting loose a school of blood-thirsty fish into the local lake where a delicious feast of fat tourists and innocent children awaits them.
Although sorely dated, "Piranha" is not without its charm. A young Rob Bottin provides some surprisingly decent special effects and make-up, while Dante keeps the pace of the film moving effectively, especially in its ridiculous final act, which just so happens to feature an explosion so random it probably keeps Michael Bay up at night in fits of jealous rage. Seeking a silly yet solid horror spoof? You just can't go wrong taking a midnight swim with "Piranha"."
Brian Harris | United States | 09/30/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Dante's Piranha is a delightfully dated, blackly comedic endeavor spilling over with floating bits of flesh and surprisingly stacked-in-the-back seventies beauties. The stunning locations, numerous cult cinema personalities and highly effective special effects lend this Corman exploitationer an air of originality most Jaws rip-off cinema lacks and, make no mistake folks, this is indeed Jaws rip-off cinema. It's fairly obvious that Dante and crew embrace that fact and run with it when the arcade game `Shark Jaws' and Melville's Moby-Dick make appearances in the film.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Piranha is a classic horror film but it does deserve a place of admiration alongside the watery terrors of Jaws, Orca and Tentacles. Wow did I just mention Assonitis' Tentacles in the same sentence as Spielberg's Jaws? The cult cinema gods must be smiling down on me now, no?
Shout! Factory are scoring big this year with their Corman line, it shows that they were listening to fans and collectors worldwide. Releasing Piranha '78 is a damn good business move, especially with Piranha 3D makes huge waves (pun intended) in theaters right now. True to the spirit of this film, Shout! Factory are exploiting that fact with a fabulous special edition overflowing with extras including a new widescreen transfer (still a bit rough though), commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers, trailer w/ commentary, a still gallery, additional scenes from the TV version and some TV/radio spots!
Piranha is occasionally incompetent but still flat-out entertaining and there's more than enough goodies to keep you busy for multiple viewings."