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  Piranhaconda How the hell did they mate?
Year: 2011
Director: Jim Wynorski
Stars: Michael Madsen, Rachel Hunter, Shandi Finnessey, Terri Ivens, Rib Hillis, Angie Savage, Chris De Christopher, Kurt Yaeger, Michael Swan, Christina De Rosa, Noah Blake, Erika Jordan, Jenny Lin, Cindy Lucas, Jed Rowan
Genre: Horror, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Deep in the jungle on Hawaii, rogue scientist Professor Lovegrove (Michael Madsen) happens across an enormous egg belonging to the terrifying hybrid monster known as Piranhaconda. Whilst eluding the beast, Lovegrove is caught and held for ransom by an armed gang led by the ruthless Pike (Michael Swan) and his right hand woman, Talia (Rachel Hunter). These same criminals kidnap a low-budget film crew shooting a slasher movie on the island, including gutsy script girl Rose (Terri Ivens), sexy starlet Kimmy (Shandi Finnessey) and portly director Milo (Chris De Christopher), although brave stuntman Jack (Rib Hillis) manages to escape into the jungle along with pyrotechnics expert Gunner (Kurt Yaeger). While they set out to rescue their friends, the deadly Piranhaconda embarks on a ravenous rampage in search of its stolen egg.

In retrospect the most influential Roger Corman B-movie of the Seventies was Piranha (1978). Almost every direct-to-video exploitation film made over the past ten years has been cast in a similar mould: a self-parodic cash-in on a mainstream hit. The irony being that Piranhaconda finds Corman cashing-in on the big budget remake of his own movie. In the DTV tradition of Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009) and the Corman productions Sharktopus (2010) and Dinocroc vs. Supergator (2010), Piranhaconda is yet another low-budget hybrid monster mash looking to hide its shortcomings behind a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of its own crassness.

It adheres to the formula Corman patented back in the Seventies but which has not aged well in the new millennium. The inclusion of the low-budget film crew among the cast comedic characters of allows for a weak satire of the exploitation film biz, taking its cue from the vastly superior Hollywood Boulevard (1976), but screenwriter Mike MacLean, who wrote Corman’s two previous ventures in this genre, clearly considers his characters little more than photogenic monster bait. Subplots are introduced that go nowhere fast, including the trio of lady scientists in search of a rare flower with mystical healing properties, and the film dispenses with gimmick guest star Rachel Hunter (former swimsuit model and wife of Rod Stewart) as if almost embarrassed by her pointless presence.

Almost all the characters, including surprisingly surly and charmless heroine Rose, are drawn as self-serving monster chow while the take-no-prisoners finale will leave you wondering why you wasted your time. Veteran schlockmeister Jim Wynorski understands the demands of his DTV audience and ensures the action is livelier and the bikini girls prettier than past examples of the genre. Former Miss USA Shandi Finnessey exhibits an engaging comic talent as clueless scream queen Kimmy, although the depiction of her character suggests the filmmakers may love ogling shapely starlets but harbour nothing but contempt for them as people. In the sort of role John Carradine would have played thirty years prior, Michael Madsen mumbles his way through another quick pay cheque (and, one imagines, free holiday in Hawaii) looking thoroughly bored. On the plus side, the cod surf-rock theme song composed and performed by Jasmin Poncelet is kind of fun.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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