C.H.U.D. (1984)

**This was originally written for Fangoria.com. You can read this article here.**

Douglas Cheek

John Heard - George Cooper
Daniel Stern - The Reverend
Christopher Curry - Captain Bosch
Kim Greist - Lauren Daniels
George Martin - Wilson

Genre - Sci-Fi/B-Movie/Cult

Running Time - 96 Minutes

Score - 3 Howls Outta 4

Living just minutes from New York City, there’s not one day when I haven’t encountered a manhole leading down into the sewer system. Sometimes, I see smoke coming out of one, or hear noises, mostly a train passing through—and I’ve become fascinated by the idea of who or what might be lurking underneath. As children, many of us believed the sewers were ruled by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—but I think they were really conquered by the Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, better known as C.H.U.D.s.

Filmed in 1983 and released beginning in late August 1984, C.H.U.D. is a throwback to the monster movies from the 1950s. As the story opens, strange things are happening in New York City. The homeless have been disappearing; citizens walking their dogs or taking their children home are becoming the latest subjects of missing-persons reports. Police captain Bosch (Christopher Curry) begins to investigate with the help of The Reverend (Daniel Stern), who runs the local homeless shelter. After finding instruments used to measure radioactivity in the sewers and checking out photos taken by fashion photographer George (John Heard), Bosch comes to believe there’s a cover-up led by his superiors and Wilson (George Martin), who works for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Wilson, under pressure, confirms that the culprits are C.H.U.D.s—homeless people in the sewers who have evolved thanks to dumped nuclear chemicals into monsters with glowing eyes and an appetite for human flesh. Amidst a power struggle between the authorities, and with a lack of food underground, the C.H.U.D.s leave the sewers to prey on the upper-dwellers.

Made for $1.25 million and grossing a little over $4.5 million, C.H.U.D. is a considered a cult classic by many horror and sci-fi fans. The audio commentary on Anchor Bay’s DVD provides information about what occurred behind the scenes, often in very funny ways. C.H.U.D. was created by Shepard Abbott, who came up with the title at a party with actors John Heard and Daniel Stern. The three of them brainstormed the movie, for which Abbott wrote a very rough draft—since he had never written a screenplay before—and it was passed on to producer Andrew Bonime.

Bonime, not satisfied by the script or Abbott’s subsequent rewrites, fired him and gave it to writer Parnell Hall. Stern and Heard were unhappy about this, and what Hall did with the script. Having already agreed to work for scale plus a percentage of the profits, Stern and Heard decided to rewrite 50 percent of the screenplay themselves and ad-libbed most of their dialogue. Also, they refused to work on the film unless actor Christopher Curry and director Douglas Cheek were hired. After a hellish preproduction, Bonime agreed and C.H.U.D. was born.

Having rewatched it for the first time since my youth, I never realized how non-horrific C.H.U.D. really is. It’s not scary. We don’t truly see the monsters until the film’s last act, and it moves slowly in order to develop the characters somewhat and explain (with more expository dialogue than probably necessary) what’s going on. Still, though it might turn off modern horror fans, it’s a fun homage to those creature features past that told their stories in similar fashion. Plus, it doesn’t try to push its message about the state of the environment, and the politics behind it, to the point where it becomes annoying. It’s a satisfying political satire that also happens to be a sci-fi/horror film. Works for me.

The main reason to watch C.H.U.D. today is to spot all the familiar faces before they were recognizable. In addition to Heard and Stern (who were already fairly established at the time), you can see BRAZIL’s Kim Griest, John Goodman, Jay Thomas, HOME IMPROVEMENT’s Patricia Richardson, TV veterans Sam McMurray and Eddie Jones and others before they became part of the pop-culture lexicon. It’s like 90 minutes of screen trivia right in front of your eyes. And they all do a good job in the acting department as well, which is a plus.

C.H.U.D.’s legacy continues to this day: Episodes of THE SIMPSONS and ROBOT CHICKEN have used C.H.U.D. as a punchline, bringing the nostalgia with the funny. There’s a website called CHUD that covers horror-related things. And, of course, there was the in-name-only 1989 sequel C.H.U.D. 2: BUD THE CHUD, which is truly horrible and should be avoided at all costs.

The Anchor Bay DVD contains the uncut version of C.H.U.D., restoring scenes that were missing in the theatrical and television versions. Notably, a scene involving the Greist character’s pregnancy has been reinserted—even though this subplot never goes any further, making one wonder why it wasn’t included separately as a deleted scene instead. Still, the ending is put back in its proper order (having been rearranged by New World for the big-screen release), leaving the film more self-contained instead of open for a possible sequel. At a low price, the disc is worth buying if you’re a fan, or curious about C.H.U.D.’s cult status.


- Some lady and her dog got sucked into a manhole. I thought this sort of thing only happened in prison. Or in Ricky Martin's house.

- Lauren puts makeup on her butt to cover the pimple on her ass. I guess George has to pop more than just her cherry in bed.

- Captain Bosch believes his wife is missing in the sewers. Unless her name is April O'Neill, then I believe something worse may have happened.

- George and Lauren are going to be parents. I feel bad for that kid. He'll probably be left HOME ALONE...twice!

- Don't go into a phone booth that's near a manhole and make a phone call. You'll be killed by a C.H.U.D. That's what you get for calling collect, you cheap bastard!

- Some guy just randomly ate a dime. That didn't make much cents at all.

- The Reverend got trapped in the sewers by someone who wants him dead. Compared to paint cans, spiders, and hot doorknobs, being trapped is a walk in the park!

- Captain Bosch found his wife's head by a river bank. If she was auditioning for the role of Anne Boelyn, she's got the part!

- After Lauren unclogged the tub with a hanger, blood squirted out of the drain. I guess the tub has finally blossomed into womanhood.

- Two cops were murdered by C.H.U.D.s. Everyone loves bacon!

While not a monumental horror/sci-fi hybrid, C.H.U.D. is still a piece of ’80s horror nostalgia that deserves its following. The script is straightforward, the acting and direction are solid, and looking out for those actors before they hit it bigger is a fun activity. Dealing with a C.H.U.D. in the sewers may be rough, but watching their exploits is definitely worth the trouble.


W.B., Blue, and The Bean [a.k.a. Bailout] (1989)

In collaboration with a selection of the finest film blogs the infranet has to offer Lost Video Archive is proud to contribute this quality post to Blair Week, a six day extravaganza expounding on the virtues of Linda Blair and her legacy of quality motion pictures. Don't believe me? Just read on...

Max Kleven

David Hasselhoff - Roger "White Bread" Donaldson
Linda Blair - Annette "Nettie" Ridgeway
Tony Brubaker - Mason "Blue" Walcott
Tom Rosales - Casper "Bean" Garcia
John Vernon - Mr. Ridgeway
Gregory Scott Cummins - Zalazar

Genre - Action

Running Time - 87 Minutes

Score - 0.5 Howls Outta 4

Apparently, it's Linda Blair Week at the blogosphere [not sure if this is legit, but I'll go with it] and I was offered the privilege to contribute something for this special occasion. Seeing how I've already written reviews for THE EXORCIST, SAVAGE STREETS, and CHAINED HEAT, I'm no stranger to the legend of one Linda Blair. So I was excited about the prospect. Hey, maybe I could finally find time to review REPOSSESSED, one of my favorite spoofs?

Nope, someone already took it.

Okay, I'll do a film I haven't seen since I was a kid - HELL NIGHT.

Also taken.


Stolen from my grasp.

As I looked through the week's events, I noticed every Linda Blair film was getting a retrospective. Except for this one:

Oh God...

Look... I have finals and assignments coming up. I really don't want to review this piece of shit, so I'll make this review short and sweet.


Let's look at the plot: White Bread (David Hasselhoff), Blue (Tony Brubaker), and Bean (Tom Rosales) are three bounty hunters who work for a shady bail bondsman who wants to make sure his "clients" go to court so he can get paid. They're hired to make sure an heiress (Linda Blair) makes it to her court date, which will make them a lot of money. However, she's kidnapped by Columbian drug dealers because they want the $5 million that her father (John Vernon) owes them. It's up to W.B., Blue, and the Bean to save her.

Reading the plot makes it sound like a good film. Unfortunately, you can only judge it AFTER watching it, causing you to lose 90 minutes of your life that you're better off spending to do something else. The script is terrible. There's no character development besides stereotyping everyone in the film. The most ridiculous one is Bean, who happens to be called that because he's a short Mexican. He also speaks with a stereotypical accent, tries to be funny with some stupid catchphrase [doesn't work], and he happens to have like eight kids - because, you know, he's Latino and Latinos have large families even if we struggle to support them. Obviously, White Bread is the leader and he's the one who gets the girls. And then we have Blue, who is actually black. I'm surprised that he wasn't called Sexual Chocolate or something like that, since he was the smooth talker. And of course, their boss was a greedy Jewish man. Gotta love racism! Let's not even talk about the dialogue, which is terrible. And the story progression was just atrocious. It felt like a bad TV movie that I wished I could just fast forward through.

Speaking of TV movies, the direction by Max Kleven made it look like one. In fact, I was surprised this was made in 1989 because it looked 10 years older than that. It was like watching a rerun on TV Land for Charlie's Angels or Starsky and Hutch. I don't know if it was the camera or the film they used, but the movie looks really dated. Kleven's work is pretty much a point-and-shoot affair. There's no real style that makes BAILOUT visually interesting. It's like a lost episode of The A-Team, where everyone shoots at each other but no one gets shot. That is until the end, where the heroes [made up of 5 people] manage to kill an army of 50 all by themselves with gunfire. And Hasselhoff blows up a helicopter with a grenade launcher. Heh. The action scenes are pretty cheesy.

The acting is no better. David Hasselhoff plays David Hasselhoff. If you've seen Knight Rider, Baywatch, or that cheeseburger video where he's wasted, you know what I mean. At least he has a sweet mullet. Linda Blair doesn't have much of a role as she's kidnapped TWICE and is pretty much tied up for most of the film. I will say that she seems game for anything here and actually makes her nothing role somewhat interesting to watch. She has no chemistry with Hasselhoff but she tries. And she knows how to shoot a mean gun. Tony Brubaker and Tom Rosales made the most of it as Blue and The Bean, even though Rosales tried to be the comic relief [he was neither a comic or a relief]. John Vernon did okay in his short role as Blair's father. He looked more tired than engaged. And Gregory Scott Cummins was the stereotypical Latino villain. Nothing more, nothing less.


- Blue was trying to teach a boxer the "rope-a-dope" technique, which led to him getting knocked out in the process. It felt like I was watching MILLION DOLLAR BABY, except there were a few hundred thousand dollars missing from the story.

- The Hoff couldn't believe someone had the nerve to call him a "fuckface". Ironically, that's what he did when he casted Pamela Anderson and Nicole Eggert for Baywatch!

- Linda Blair got kidnapped by a bunch of thugs. They must be from the Catholic Church. I knew that whole thing with the crucifix would get her into trouble.

- A warehouse had a speed limit of 10 MPH. I guess slow motion running isn't just for the beach.

- "May a bird of paradise make a cushy nest up your nose." I think that sort of thing is only possible for people like Triple H or Barbara Streisand.

- The thugs wanted to blow Linda Blair's brains out if The Hoff didn't leave them alone. They must have been horror fans. I knew that mindfuck known as EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC would get her into trouble.

- Nettie likes names that start with initials. Well I hope B.J. is welcome anytime!

- Linda Blair got kidnapped again as leverage for a negotiation. They must have been punks. I know making that guy bend over backwards to kiss his ass goodbye in SAVAGE STREETS would get her into trouble.

- Two Mexicans were shot by an army patrolling their borders. This new anti-immigration law in Arizona is really getting out of hand!

is a waste of time, money, and energy. Definitely not Linda Blair's highest career moment, even though it probably did help Hasselhoff fund for a cheeseburger and some alcoholic beverages. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. I'm sending this turd to the WTF? Vault, where bail will be remanded.

Follow up with our colleagues who are bringing fresh Linda related content all week long:

Monday May 10:
Lost Video Archive - Savage Streets
Satan's Hope Chest - Chained Heat and Savage Island
Camp Movie Camp - Grotesque
The Horror Section - Hell Night
Full Moon Reviews - Bailout
Illogical Contraption gets Repossessed
Lines That Makes Things drops original Linda inspired artwork
Breakfast In the Ruins - Exorcist II
B Movies and Beyond - Summer of Fear
Camp Movie Camp - Nightforce
The Manchester Morgue - Rollerboogie
Happy Otter - The Chilling
Ninja Dixon - The Witchery
Lost Video Archive - Born Innocent
Unflinching Eye wraps it up with a look at Linda's fall from grace.


The WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza Presents: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010)

Samuel Bayer

Jackie Earle Haley - Freddy Krueger
Rooney Mara - Nancy Holbrook
Kyle Gallner - Quentin O'Grady
Katie Cassidy - Kris Fowles
Thomas Dekker - Jesse Braun
Kellan Lutz - Dean Russell
Clancy Brown - Alan Smith
Connie Britton - Gwen Holbrook

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 95 Minutes

Score - 1 Howl Outta 4

In 1984, Wes Craven unleashed his horror masterpiece to an unsuspecting audience: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The idea of a killer murdering you in your dreams was an original, and downright frightening, idea that gave many people nightmares once the film was over. It created a horror icon in Freddy Krueger, played perfectly with malicious glee by Robert Englund, and since has brought us 6 sequels [7 if you consider 2003's FREDDY VS. JASON as part of the NIGHTMARE timeline] that had varied levels of success both creatively and commercially.

With the mega-success of FREDDY VS. JASON, I was hoping it would steer away ideas of a future remake for the franchise, as that film revigorized the character and had potential to bring in other horror icons into the mix for some entertaining times. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Sequel discussions for FvJ went down by the wayside. And the fact that other major horror franchises were being "rebooted" such as THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, HALLOWEEN, and FRIDAY THE 13TH, it was inevitable that A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET would get its own makeover.

Now I don't hate remakes. In fact, I feel many horror films could use updates because the ideas could be improved upon or they're just outdated and could use a modern touch. However, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was one of those films that didn't need a remake. It's still as fantastic as it was 26 years ago and doesn't need improvement. But it was announced and nothing could be done about it. Jackie Earle Haley of LITTLE CHILDREN and WATCHMEN was playing Krueger, plus a good cast of young actors gave me hope that the film could be a bit decent. But then I forgot that Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes, producers of some of the worst remakes in history, was behind this, dashing those hopes.

But I saw A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2010 with an open mind, hoping it would be as close to the original sequels as possible. Unfortunately, the film is a massive disappointment on many levels.

Every horror fan knows the plot to this film. Several teenagers from Springwood, Ohio are having nightmares of the same burnt man with a single glove that's highlighted with razor sharp knives. It turns out this man is Fred Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley), a former groundskeeper at a pre-school who supposedly molested and possibly murdered some of the students. The parents of these children lynched Freddy by burning him, supposedly ending the terror. But now Freddy has gained supernatural abilities that allow him to step inside the dream world, attacking his former students (who are now High Schoolers) for telling on him. And if he kills you in your dreams, you die for real. Can Freddy be stopped or will the nightmares continue?

I have three words for this remake:


I wasn't expecting much out of this remake. And my expectations were pretty much met. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2010 is an extremely disappointing revision of a classic film that's still highly regarded for being creative, memorable, and downright chilling. None of those adjectives work for the remake, as it's uninspired, forgettable, and overall lazy as hell. What went so wrong with this film?

Let's start with the main culprit: the screenplay. Now let me get the positives out of the way. I liked the idea of the "micro-nap". This is a legit phenomenon, as we micro-nap whenever we feel drowsy or daydream [or zone out]. It's never been addressed in the other films, so I thought it was clever to see how powerful sleep is. There's no way to escape dreaming even if you stay up for days on end. The exhaustion will take over no matter what, making one vulnerable to Freddy's attack. It definitely helped pick up the last half of the film, especially in the supermarket scene, which I actually liked. I do wish the idea of "what's real and what's not" when it came to this sub-plot was explored deeper. It was easy to tell when it was real and when it was a dream. I think it should have blurred the lines a bit more to really make it an effective narrative tool.

I also appreciate that there was an attempt to revise the Freddy origin. The question of whether he was innocent of pedophilia was an interesting one. Am I a fan of this direction? No, as I feel Freddy would have revelled in raping and murdering children. After all, he was the son of a 100 maniacs. He has every right to be an evil bastard. But I was okay with the fact that maybe he was burned for all the wrong reasons - if the screenwriters had actually let that simmer until the very end. Instead, it's brought up and then revealed right away that he was guilty as sin. What's the point in even bringing it up then if you're just gonna give it away so quickly? Again, it was an appealing attempt but it wasn't executed well enough to have any sort of impact.

As for the rest of the story itself, it's pretty much "been there-done that". It's so generic that I felt better off just watching the original. In fact, it's the same exact shit! I thought the point of a remake is to not only stay true to the source material, but actually change things up enough so the old story feels new again? This remake doesn't really do that. In fact, when I see the same scenes taken from the original and they're done WORSE than in 1984, a part of me dies inside.

But yeah, the script was very pedestrian. No character development for much of anyone in this film. People get killed and do the other characters really react to it? No, they're more concerned about themselves and how Freddy will kill them. For a group of friends, they seemed really disconnected from each other. And they were all interchangable. Yeah, some were more of a douchebag than others, but they were all pretty much stereotypes. I expect that in a FRIDAY THE 13TH movie, not in a NIGHTMARE film. Freddy Krueger obviously was the most developed (with Quentin and Nancy right behind him), but even he could have used more fleshing out. The dialogue was bland and awkward at times, as everyone sounded the same for the most part. The scene where Nancy and Quentin confront Nancy's mother was just bizarre. It felt so forced and the information given SHOULD have been effective. But it just made me roll my eyes and laugh. What a waste. I mean, you had EIGHT films to work from and we're given this? I honestly didn't give a fuck about anyone in this film and I was rooting for Freddy the whole time. That doesn't make me sadistic. That makes me smart enough to know that the screenplay sucked.

Then we have the CGI. Wow, this CGI looked really cheap. The scene where Freddy invades through the wall as he attempts to scare Nancy looks terrible in comparison to the scene in the original. It was like a cartoon! And the Tina death scene that's recreated for one of the characters is also lame in comparison. In the original, it was dragged out and looked really brutal and realistic, making it highly effective. Here, the death plays out and then the character is pretty much bouncing off walls like it's a pinball machine and gets slashed. The end. Ugh. I will say some of the transitions between reality and the dream were nicely done, especially in the supermarket scene and the scene at the jailhouse. And I enjoyed seeing the body bag scene again. I just felt that the effects should have been more organic as the CGI just hurt the film more than it helped it. When the effects for FREDDY VS. JASON, which were done in CGI by the way, look more big budget and actually enhanced the film and story more than a reboot does seven years later, something went wrong when it came to the special effects unit.

And for a rated R movie, it sure lacked in nudity and gore. I don't consider seeing Kyle Gallner in a speedo sexually stimulating. Now if Katie Cassidy was in her underwear, that would have been something! And the kills were bland. No creativity whatsoever.

The direction by Samuel Bayer was hit and miss for me. Let me just say that I thought the film had nice cinematography. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2010 is a pretty film, with nice polish and beautiful framing and composition. I think it may have been too polished for a film like this, but it didn't bug me. I also thought Bayer had a decent eye for things and he did show some style when it came to directing scenes. But this is a horror film and I'm expecting to get scared, or at least creeped out, by something. I don't consider making the sound design louder when people pop up on screen from off-frame so people can jump out of their seats to be scary. I expect tension. I expect suspense. Bayer, a music video director who worked on Nirvana's "Smell Like Teen Spirit" and Green Day's "Wake Me Up Before September Ends", doesn't display any of this. I wasn't scared once. I wasn't even creeped out. If you're gonna attempt to make Freddy Krueger scary again rather than funny, at least try and match the tone for the rest of the film. Also, the pacing was way off in this film. The middle portion almost bored me because it was centered more on Quentin and Nancy, who weren't really developed enough for me to care all that much about them. I just thought it was lazy filmmaking for the most part, even though Bayer tried to infuse some energy into his work.

The acting was probably the highlight of the movie. While Robert Englund will always be Freddy Krueger for all us horror fans, Jackie Earle Haley didn't do a bad job replacing him. In fact, he was the best part of the film for me. He made Freddy more menacing than the character had been in years, which was a nice touch. The voice didn't bother me all that much [the make up is another story], even though he spoke really slow for some reason. But the guy is a great actor and he did his best with the role. I think if he was allowed to give the character his own interpretation, it would have been a more interesting performance.

The rest of the actors were given lame characters but did the best they could do. Rooney Mara is a better actress than Heather Langenkamp, but I actually prefer Langenkamp as Nancy. I will say that Mara gave a subtle, more intellectual performance as the final girl. I liked what she brought to the table. I wish the screenplay gave her more things to do. Kyle Gallner played the Johnny Depp role very well. Out of all the teens, I liked him the most as he had the most depth and actually did things that made sense. Gallner and Mara also had some cute chemistry together. Katie Cassidy did her best as Kris[Tina], even though she seemed to force too much emotion in certain scenes, making her performance sometimes unbelievable. Thomas Dekker played the asshole. Nothing more, nothing less. And Kellan Lutz wasn't bad as Dean. Can't really judge him since he's not in the film all that much. And I gotta say that Clancy Brown and Connie Britton was really wasted in their parental roles. These two fine actors deserved better.


- Dean "killed himself" by slicing his own throat with a knife. Not surprising really. I felt suicidal after watching TWILIGHT. I can't imagine how it feels to actually star in it.

- Don't fall asleep in class. You'll get Freddy Krueger's attention. That A+ is not worth dying over.

- Kris wears a number 10 shirt to bed. And a 10 she is! Ooh baby! ::drools::

- If your dog is missing and it's the middle of the night, don't bother looking for him. He's probably been killed by Freddy. Or better yet, he's making a fine cuisine at an Asian restaurant. Either way, you'll be barking up the wrong tree.

- In Nancy's dream, it snows in her room. The same thing happens in Lindsay Lohan's dreams, but she snorts it before anyone is able to interpret it.

- Jesse had the boiler room dream, wincing and crying after Freddy taunted him. This guy is supposed to save the world from Skynet? Hasta la vista, future!

- Freddy scared Nancy at the supermarket. Damn, just show her how high milk and meat prices have gotten! That'll put the fear in anyone!

- Nancy has to dream in order to pull out Freddy from the dream and bring him into reality. Um, isn't pulling out what got Freddy in trouble to begin with...?

- If you're going to hide from a horror villain, don't do it inside a closet. Unless you're Jamie Lee Curtis, R. Kelly, or Ricky Martin, you're fucked!

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is another disappointing remake by Platinum Dunes. After thinking about it a couple of days, my thoughts on this film just soured. It's one of those rare cases where the review came about and changed my original score for it. It's lazy and bland - two things that a NIGHTMARE film should not be. Yeah, FREDDY'S DEAD was horrible but at least it wasn't bland. Pretty much on par with the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake, showing us that sometimes a remake isn't a good idea. I think the only new information I gathered from this reboot is that Michael Bay is truly Freddy Krueger's worst nightmare. Stick with the original stuff. You're not missing anything worthwhile with this one. Off to the WTF? Vault with you.


Mega Piranha (2010)

Eric Forsberg

Paul Logan - Jason Fitch
Tiffany - Sarah Monroe
Barry Williams - Bob Grady
David Labiosa - Colonel Antonio Diaz
Jesse Daly - Gordon

Genre - Science Fiction/B-Movie

Running Time - 90 Minutes

Score - 3 Howls Outta 4

Last year, The Asylum brought us the cult classic MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS to our attention. Not because it's a great film, mind you, but because it starred a CGI shark fighting a CGI octopus while Deborah Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas [the best actors $100 can buy] tried to stop them. Even though the movie failed to live up to its title since the monsters barely battled each other at all, it was a huge success due to its cheese factor.

Now months later, The Asylum decides to celebrate the release of the upcoming remake, PIRANHA 3D, with their own version called [what else?] MEGA PIRANHA. If you thought casting Deborah Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas was a coup, imagine my surprise when I realized the same $100 could also pay for 80s pop star Tiffany and The Brady Bunch's Barry Williams to appear as major players in your B-movie. Add in The Asylum's favorite action hero Paul Logan and a bunch of CGI fish, and we have ourselves a disaster, right? Well, MEGA PIRANHA is a disaster on all accounts. Yet, I couldn't help but to be entertained by this piece of shit. Call me nuts, but I was bitten...I mean, smitten by MEGA PIRANHA.

After an American diplomat and Venezuelean ambassador are mysteriously murdered on a South American river, the Secretary of State Bob Grady (Barry Williams) sends a Special Forces soldier named Jason Fitch (Paul Logan and his abs) to investigate. Although the local government is blaming the deaths on terrorism, Fitch figures out that it's really genetically-mutated piranha that has been taking over the river and eating anything in their path. Joined by the scientist who mutated these fish, Sarah Monroe (Tiffany... yes, THAT Tiffany), Fitch fights the local government while attempting to stop the piranha attack in some of the most ridiculous ways possible.

MEGA PIRANHA is the film MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS wanted to be but somehow failed in doing so. The cast is a novelty. The acting and scenerios are cheesy as all hell. And the best part of all - the Mega Piranhas actually do something!! They're not in the film for only 5 minutes, like in MSvGO. They actually are the stars of this film and actually steal the scene each time they appear. With horrible CGI and shitty acting, MEGA PIRANHA is a terrible piece of celluoid. Yet, it's awesome at the same time. When I watch an Asylum film, I'm not looking for Masterpiece Theatre.

The story for MEGA PIRANHA can be read in the plot. It's your generic military personnel must defeat the giant monster(s) in order to save the world and bang the lead chick once it's over. Nothing more, nothing less. The dialogue is absolutely hilarious and terrible, yet wonderful at the same time. I couldn't stop laughing at some of things that were said. This film is all style and no substance, which is a good thing. When I watch a film like MEGA PIRANHA, I don't need a bunch of character development or narrative depth. Fuck the legitimacy of eco-politics and factual scientific research! I just want to see stupid people get chewed up by flying killer fish in the most silliest of ways. And that's what drives MEGA PIRANHA from beginning to end.

The CGI is pretty ugly. The piranha look like Pixar characters that pop up randomly whenever someone needs to die. The last act, in particular, where the piranhas attack the Florida Keys is pretty terrible to watch due to the CGI. But it made me laugh so hard at many points. After all, this was shown on the SyFy Channel, so I'm not expecting grade-A special effects. At least the fish looked like piranhas for the most part and added to the cheesiness. Where can you see piranhas attacking a battleship, biting through the metal, and sinking it? Or watching giant piranhas flying into tall buildings and getting stuck there because they're idiots? And let's not forget the best moment: Paul Logan bicycle kicking random piranhas as they fly and attack him. So ridiculous, yet so entertaining.

The direction isn't all that great in MEGA PIRANHA. It's a point-and-shoot affair. The director's style of filmmaking involves random flashes of images for scene transitions and using green screen for some of the character deaths. It's just mindless filmmaking for a mindless film. Could have used more energy but whatever.

The acting, of course, is atrociously good. Paul Logan has to be one of the stiffest actors ever. He scowls with the best of them, has a great physique, and has the action skills of someone who would work for Acapulco H.E.A.T. or V.I.P. He was so uninteresting, yet very interesting, to watch at the same time. I can't really explain it. Tiffany, on the other hand, needs to get back to singing because her acting wasn't all that great. She performed as incompetently as her "scientist" character. Yet, she tried and her outbursts were hysterical. Plus I have a place in my heart for 80s teen queens, so any Tiffany appearance is good with me. Barry Williams didn't do much as Bob Grady, but was definitely the best actor of the bunch. And David Labiosa as Generial Diaz was the biggest ham I've seen on film in a while. Talk about taking the stereotypical villain role and going overboard with it. All he needed was a cigar and a mustache to twirl between his fingers, and it would have been complete. What a cast. The Asylum sure knows how to catch a guy's attention for 90 minutes.

- It's never good to be the first characters in a sci-fi/horror film if you're Latino. You'll probably be eaten by killer fish. Unless you're Ricky Martin. Then you wouldn't be interested in fish, or vice-versa.

- Barry Williams is ordering Paul Logan to investigate the murder of diplomats in Venezuela, believing its terrorism instead of a piranha attack. If Williams would just get rid of that damn Tiki Idol, shit like this wouldn't be happening!

- Tiffany plays Sarah Monroe, a Genetics Researcher. If she had skipped the singing career and actually studied to be a real genetics researcher, her life "Could've Been" so beautiful. It "Could've Been" so right...

- Colonel Diaz shot missiles towards the river to kill all the piranhas. I guess some things are like shooting fish in a barrel!

::drum beat::

- Sarah got arrested for her experiments. I don't think she'll be alone now when her butch cellmate wants to "see" her "piranha"...

- Fitch bicycle kicked all the fish as they flew and attacked him. And they said playing Mortal Kombat was going to damage people. Um... it just saved his life!

- Sarah went ballistic when her partner was devoured by piranhas. Unless you calm down, these "Feelings of Forever" will be your downfall, girl.

- The piranhas grow larger in size as the film rolls on. Apparently, the piranha is the Kirstie Alley of the fish world.

- The government wants to stop the piranha from attacking the Florida Keys. No, not because of the damage, but because of the smell. Ew... fish odor.

- Fitch and Sarah kissed at the end of the film. I don't know about you, but this "Radio Romance" is a bit cliche. Oh well.

If you're looking for a directorial, acting, or narrative masterpiece, MEGA PIRANHA sure isn't it. But if you're willing to dumb yourself down with this ridiculous sci-fi B-flick, then you're definitely in luck. I look forward to the sequel, MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS VERSUS MEGA PIRANHA, where Deborah Gibson and Tiffany finally come together and stop these sea monsters with their 80s hits. Don't let me down, The Asylum!

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