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Halloween Day By Day: Piranha (1978)

My only real childhood memory of Joe Dante's Piranha is the beautiful and spunky Heather Menzies distracting a soldier by ripping open her shirt and displaying her braless boobs to him.

Hey, I was maybe eight at the time, and boobs were the tits, to coin a phrase. Still are really. Wanna fight about it?

But that scene, which still plays well today (ahem) sums up the film perfectly. This movie is designed to be a non-pretentious schlockfest intent on being as entertaining as possible. Nothing more, nothing less.

And I admire Piranha for it. Much like The Predator did earlier this fall, this movie gives you a grindhouse good time. The kills are bloody and plentiful, its tongue is placed firmly in cheek, and everyone making it seems like they had a lot of un. Piranha is fun, and has fun with itself.

Oh yeah, it also has the balls to put a group of kids at risk from the killer fish. You wouldn't see that today, because everyone would freak out. Back then, we all knew it was bullshit and didn't mind. And we were kids watching it, so it upped the stakes a bit.

I wish more movies were like this. For the most part, one has to go back to the 70s and 80s to find them. This was the drive-in era of cinema, when going to the movies was all about fun. Piranha is a fun film, even on a home-entertainment system. Part of me wishes I could go back in time and catch it at a drive-in, truth be told.

If you are looking for an entertaining way to spend a Friday or Saturday night (or even a Sunday night), and you're tired of all the self-serious stuff flooding cinemas and VOD today, seek out Piranha, crack a beer, and enjoy. It remains a Good to this day.


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