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Horror » » »
Piranha


1978       Directed by Joe Dante

Teaser Storyline for Piranha

A moonlit night in the wilds of Texas. Tired and lost, two teenage backpackers (JANIE SQUIRE, ROGER RICHMAN) come stumbling out of the woods to find an unexpected shelter for the night: an apparently abandoned military research center consisting of several seedy buildings and a concrete pool. The couple's desire to skinny-dip proves their undoing, however. Soon after they hit the water it erupts with flashing frenzy and the two terrified youngsters are sucked screaming beneath the surface. All that remains is a bloody slick in the shimmering water. In a nearby building, a light goes on.

Morning-green woods, clear air and clear, fresh lake water have lured flocks of people to the grand opening of Buck Gardener's (DICK MILLER) Aquarena Springs luxury resort as well as filling the nearby Lost River Summer Camp with hordes of kids eager to frolic in the sparkling, still unpolluted river.

To this idyllic setting comes plucky Maggie McKeown (HEATHER MENZIES), an ambitious young investigator for a missing persons agency

looking for the lost hikers. Her reluctant guide is hard-drinking Paul Grogan (BRADFORD DILLMAN), a reclusive outdoorsman whose recent divorce has left him with a deep distrust of people in general and women in particular. Together they explore the wooded hills until they come upon the army site. Could the couple have drowned in the pool? The discovery of an initialed locket leads Maggie to look for a way to empty the murky pool, but as she throws the drain lever a wild man leaps from the shadows to stop her. In the ensuing brawl the stranger is knocked unconscious. The empty pool, its contents flushed into the river, reveals only a dog skeleton.

It's back to square one for Paul and Maggie, but their assailant needs medical attention and the only authority within miles is the ranger station near the dam. Paul's suspicion that their "prisoner" is indeed responsible for the two hikers' disappearance prompts him to pilot his lashed-log raft down the river to the ranger station.

Floating down the river, Paul, Maggie and the stranger are greeted by a grisly scene. They discover the bloated corpse of Paul's friend Jack (KEENAN WYNN), his lower legs chewed to the bone.

Under Paul's relentless prodding, their attacker spills his strange story. He is Dr. Robert Hoak (KEVIN McCARTHY), a research scientist commissioned by the U.S. Army in 1965 to create a new kind of secret weapon for use against the North Vietnamese: a mutant strain of the underwater man-eater Piranha, able to live in both fresh and salt water environments of any temperature. The project was officially abandoned at war's end, but Hoak continued his experiments in secret until, by sheer number and ferocity, his killer-creations got hopelessly out of hand, breeding uncontrollably. Now hundreds of these deadly carnivores have escaped into the river! Paul and Maggie must reach the dam downriver before the floodgates are opened and the Piranha spill into the lake, by now filled with vacationers. And with Paul's own small daughter Suzy (SHANNON COLLINS) enrolled at the nearby camp, he hasn't a moment to lose.

Before reaching the dam they come upon a boy (JACK PAULESON) stranded atop a sinking canoe, encircled by Piranha.

Just as the boy is about to slip toward the surface, the repentant Hoak jumps into the river to save him and is lost in a churning of blood-red foam as his own razor-teethed creations literally tear him apart. The blood-crazed Piranha then attack the raft itself, chewing apart the very lashings to get at the warm bodies of Paul and Maggie. As the raft splits they manage to pole it to shore safely. With barely seconds to spare, Paul runs to the dam and delays the parting of the floodgates.

A convoy of military vehicles arrives at the scene soon after, summoned by the ranger. Colonel Waxman (BRUCE GORDON), government scientist Dr. Mengers (BARBARA STEELE) and a platoon of soldiers seal off the area and assess the danger. Convinced they have the Piranha bottled up behind the dam, Waxman orders the water poisoned with deadly chemicals. The crisis is past, he claims. But is it?

Paul points out that the Piranha might conceivably have swum back upriver into any of the small streams that branch away from the river and rejoin the lake below the dam, thereby escaping the poison. Waxman, fearing exposure of the secret project and the possible loss of his private financial stake in the resort, orders Paul and Maggie put under house arrest.

Escaping, Paul and Maggie steal a jeep and try to warn the owner of the summer camp, Dumont (PAUL BARTEL), by phone, but he dismisses the call as another of Paul's drunken ramblings. Waxman has Paul and Maggie arrested by an ambitious trooper, (BARRY BROWN), but again they manage to escape and proceed directly to the summer camp, this time in a police car.

Arriving at the camp, Paul is able to save his daughter but is too late to prevent tragedy: an innocent tube race becomes a nightmare when the Piranha attack and several children as well as a counselor (BELINDA BALASKI) are lost.

At the resort, recreational fun turns to terror as the Piranha attack swimmers, boaters and waterskiers, the clear river waters now running red with blood. Mass panic ensues, with Paul and Maggie arriving right in the middle of it. They make their way through an avalanche of twisted, wounded and dying victims to a motorboat. Paul's idea is to unleash the poisonous wastes stored in the smelting tanks of a nearby copper plant into the lake, pollutants so vile and deadly that nothing could survive them. The tanks themselves, it turns out, are now underwater, flooded when the level of the lake was raised. So Paul must go into the infested waters to reach the main valve ...





Item Details:
Lobby Cards German 9x13 single-sided




Piranha

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CAST of Piranha

Paul Grogan ..................... Bradford Dillman
Maggie McKeown .................... Heather Menzies
Dr Robert Hoak ..................... Kevin Mccarthy
Jack .......................... Keenan Wynn
Buck Gardner ..................... Dick Miller
Dr Mengers ....................... Barbara Steele
Betsy .......................... Belinda Balaski
Laura .......................... Melody Thomas
Colonel Waxman .................... Bruce Gordon
Trooper .......................... Barry Brown
Dumont .......................... Paul Bartel
Suzie Grogan ..................... Shannon Collins
Whitney .......................... Shawn Nelson



Credits for Piranha

Barbara .......................... Janie Squire
David .......................... Roger Richman
Jailer .......................... Bill Smillie
TV Pitchman .......................... Gulch Koock
Boy in Canoe .......................... Jack Pauleson
Father in Canoe .......................... Eric Henshaw
Soldier .......................... Robert Vinson
Girl .......................... Virginia Dunnnam
Water Skier .......................... Hill Farnsworth
Man in Boat .......................... Bruce Barbour
Screaming Woman .......................... Robyn Ray
Dam Guard .......................... Mike Sullivan
Brandy .......................... Jack Cardwell
Earl Lyon .......................... Richard Deacon

Directed by .......................... JOE DANTE
Produced by .......................... JON DAVISON
Screenplay by .......................... JOHN SAYLES
Story by .......................... RICHARD ROBINSON and JOHN SAYLES
Executive Producers ............ ROGER CORMAN and JEFF SCHECHTMAN
Co-producer .......................... CHAKO Van LEEUWEN
Music by .......................... PINO DONAGGIO
Conducted by .......................... NATALE MASSARA
Editors .......................... MARK GOLDBLATT and JOE DANTE
Director of Photography .......................... JAMIE ANDERSON
Art Direction .......................... BILL and KERRY MELLIN
Production Manager .......................... TOM JACOBSON
Special Effects .......................... JON BERG
Creature design & Animation .......................... PHIL TIPPETT
Special Make-up .......................... ROB BOTTIN and VINCENT PRENTICE
Special Properties .......................... ROB SHORT and CHRIS WALAS
Photographic Effects .......................... PETER KURAN, BILL HEDGE, RICK TAYLOR
Animation .......................... ADAM BECKETT
Special Opticals .......................... PAT O'NEILL
Stunt Co-ordinator .......................... CONRAD PALMISANO
Location Manager .......................... HARRY WOWCHUK
Casting Director .......................... SUSAN ARNOLD
Key Grip .......................... BEN HALLER
Wardrobe .......................... LINDA PEARL
Location Mixer .......................... JOEL GOLDSMITH
Gaffer .......................... MW. KATZ
Props .......................... KEVIN and KATHLEEN HUGHES
Assistant Editors .......................... BRENDA BALANDA and STACY RUSSO
Script Supervisor .......................... JEANNE ROSENBERG
Set Decorator .......................... JEFF AYERS
2nd Unit Director .......................... DICK LOWRY
2nd Unit Production Manager ............... TOM HAMMEL
2nd Unit Director of Photography ............ M. TODD HENRY
Sound Effects .......................... RICHARD ANDERSON and DAVE YEWDALL
Post Production Sound .......................... RYDER SOUND SERVICES
Laboratory .......................... MGM

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