Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, Dragon Wasps, Mega Piranha, Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent, Sand Sharks (all of which this brave and dedicated site has reviewed, just click the links and see!); the list of B-movie, ‘made for TV’ and ‘straight to DVD’ horror creature features can all be blamed on him.
As the brilliant Corman’s World documentary explains, the movie mogul / madman who has produced over 400 pictures was one of the first and most successful people to make low budget, quick to make movies that were horror, action and anything else he believed would make him a bit of easy cash.
Making his name with his Edgar Allan Poe cycle, released between 1959 and 1964, he gave many famous actors and directors their first breaks. This includes Jack Nicholson, who starred in his 1960 version The Little Shop of Horrors, which was allegedly filmed in two days and one night.
This ‘shoot em’ fast and shoot em’ cheap’ mentality coupled with today’s reduction in special effects and a growth in cult movie lovers and horror aficionado’s has born us into a new age of giant monster movies. These films usual involve some semi-famous or down-on-their-luck actor, a bunch of bad CG effects and gore, an absurd mash-up title and (most annoyingly of all) a tongue in cheek attitude that sets out from the start to defeat any criticism by declaring as loudly as possible “I’m supposed to be terrible, that’s the point!”
Not one to be left out, Corman, seeing the opportunity to cash-in, has made a whole slate of these films including Dinoshark, Dinocroc vs. Supergator, Sharktopus and now Piranahconda.
The Piranhaconda in question, as you can probably guess is part piranha and part anaconda and all ridiculous. Hidden in Hawaii the giant killer has remained unknown, that is until Tarantino favorite and Big Brother contestant (ergo both semi-famous and down on his luck) Michael Madsen (playing Professor Lovegrove) turns up and steals one of its eggs. This forces the creature to reap revenge on any and every human in a bikini it comes across.
Meanwhile, unknowingly on the other side of the island a film crew is making a terrible slasher movie sequel (see its all post modern and ironic so it’s okay that its crap). It’s not long until the crew gets tangled up in Prof. Lovegrove’s monster mistake as they’re eaten up one by one while also running into some gun toting, amped up kidnappers along the way.
The plot is as silly as it sounds and the script purely serves as some words to string together the various action and horror set ups that are thrown in along the way. Cast-wise the actors do their best with Terri Ivens, Rib Hillis and Shandi Finnessey doing a pretty fine job of keeping a straight face as they run, gun and get gunged.
The star power is provided by Madsen who is as always brilliant, playing the same character that he always plays – barely breaking a sweat between scenes. There’s also the model and ex-wife of Rod Stewart Rachel Hunter who is idiotically miscast as the evil wife of the muscle bound, gurning, big baddie.
As always with these movies, it’s almost too easy to hate on Piranhaconda, which is not to say it’s a well made movie – because it isn’t. It’s just like a crap plastic toy from a pound shop or a prize won at a fairground run by strange looking gypsies. It’s quite fun in a big, dumb, cheap sort of way.
As mentioned, the cast are actually not too bad. This, added to the reasonable effects and excellent surf rock theme song mean that the movie is quite entertaining.
If you like giant crazy, creature features that are light on plot and heavy on stupidity, then you are in for a treat.
If not then blame Roger Corman.