Piranha title

AKA: "The Spawning", "Piranha 2 : The Spawning"

Tag line : They bred the ultimate killing machine, now you're not safe out of the water...

Piranha 2 : Flying KillersThis sort-of follow-up to the original "Piranha" takes place on a Caribbean island resort, where a bunch of mysterious deaths and disappearances have recently occurred. It begins when a couple go missing whilst out for a late night boat ride. Then, a diver on a scuba expedition disappears,  only to be found all chewed up and horribly mutilated.

A nurse in the local morgue is later attacked, then a couple of bikini models are killed whilst on their yacht, by strange flying creatures that dive out of the water. Yes it seems that some military scientists have been crossing piranha with flying fish and catfish for use as biological weapons, as they can fly out of the water and attack on land. (yes its as bad as it sounds), and a ship containing several barrels of these piranha eggs has sunk just off the coast of the island resort.

Now the eggs have hatched and the carnivorous killer fish are on the rampage, attacking the  tourists and locals on the holiday island, which is going to be bad news for the tourist trade, unless the local Police Chief (played by genre regular Lance Henricksen) can find a way of stopping them.

Shot in Jamaica by an Italian crew, the film has gained a lot of infamy over the years for not only being incredibly bad, but for marking the directorial debut of James Cameron (of "Terminator" and more recently "Avatar" fame), who was hired by the producers after being impressed with his work on "Galaxy of Terror" (only to get fired part way through production)

Whilst the original film had been somewhat inspired by "Jaws", this film seemed to borrow even more heavily from that film, even going so far as to include a Chief Brody type character in the form of Lance Henricksen, though why an American would be the police chief on a Caribbean island is anybody's guess.

Whereas the original contained a lot of dark humour, this film, for the most part, is played as a straight horror film, but is so ridiculous you can't take it seriously and end up laughing anyway. The scene where the tourists at the hotel go down to the beach for the annual catfish catching competition chanting "We want fish", before getting attacked by flying piranha, had me in hysterics. Which is not helped by the scenes where the wires on them are clearly visible.

But anyway, don't be put off by the films shortcomings, if you enjoyed the original you should get an equally enjoyable kick out of this one, albeit for the wrong reasons and in the words of James Cameron himself, this is "the best flying piranha movie ever made"!

Overall marks : 6/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines, "The Terror Is Back....But This Time It Flies!", "A new breed of terror!", "It all started just as a vacation", "Guess whose coming to dinner?".

  • The film marked James Cameron's directorial debut, however he was actually fired part way through production as producer Ovidio G. Assonitis, who directed the remainder of the film himself, felt he was taking the film way over budget.

  • Roger Corman, who co-produced the first film, apparently wanted to make a sequel himself, however the rights to the name "Piranha" were held by fellow executive producers Chako van Leeuwen and Jeff Schechtman, who decided to go with Italian producer Ovidio G Ossantis to finance and produce the sequel, as he had a distribution deal with Warner Bros.

  • Working with a mixture of American, Jamaican and Italian cast and crew members produced a lot of interesting language barrier problems. The Italian crew didn't understand James Cameron's instructions, but as they were experienced technicians, managed to get the general idea of what he wanted them to do, whilst the Jamaican cast members couldn't understand producer Ovidio G Ossantis directions in pigeon English.

  • The directors job was originally offered to former Roger Corman employee Miller Drake, but was fired from the job before filming began following a dispute with the producers over delays in getting the production started. He actually went onto work with James Cameron on several of his later films.

  • Producer Ovidio G. Assonitis also directed the video nasty title "Madhouse".

  • Apparently Lance Henricken's original police costume wasn't very  convincing and didn't even fit properly, but as the films budget wouldn't stretch to buying a proper one, they ended up buying a waiters shirt and trousers from a guy working in a nearby coffee shop and tailoring it to look like a police uniform.

  • An early draft of the script had Kevin McCarthy and Barbara Steele's characters from the previous film returning, but this idea was dropped.

  • Rob Bottin, who worked on the first film, was originally brought in to do the special effects, but left when production stalled. Italian special effects maestro Gianetto DeRossi, ("Zombie Flesh Eaters", "Cannibal Apocalypse") was subsequently brought in to handle the effects work.

  • The scenes in the morgue were filmed in an actual working morgue, which proved problematic for some of the more squeemish cast and crew members as they were surrounded by dead bodies.

  • Lance Henricksen went on to star in James Camerons' subsequent films "Terminator" and "Aliens".

  • There is a widely held rumour that after filming had wrapped, James Cameron was breaking into the studios at night to re-cut the film how he wanted, though he got found out and the producer re-instated his original edits. Cameron has formally denied doing this in subsequent interviews, BUT has hinted that he actually might have.

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