The original Piranha was a Roger Corman produced Jaws rip-off that was helped along quite a bit by being directed by Corman protege Joe Dante, a director with a real flair for the campy, cartoony, and comedic. Dante injected a weird, anarchic sense of humor to what could have been just another Jaws clone (one of many for Corman) and created a cult classic. He established the sense of humor that has carried over to the Piranha remakes, although with less of a focus on T&A as the new films.
|A piranha fish with wings|
The sequel was directed by James Cameron, another Corman protege, and retains some of the sense of humor of the first film, while not being particularly funny. There are some goofy characters at the beachfront resort setting of the film, such as a Jewess who falls for a nebbishy dentist, an older woman who wants to screw younger men, and a dork who gets cockteased by some cunty women, but as you can tell from these descriptions, most of the comedy is pretty lame and unfunny. The producers supposedly shoehorned this stuff into the film against Cameron's wishes, although the movie needs comedy, which isn't exactly his strong suit anyway if you remember the lame, unfunny shtick with Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2. He's no Woody Allen. Luckily, piranha that can fly don't really need a punchline.
|"I can fly! I can fly! It's off to Neverland!"|
Anyway, the military boat full of flying piranha went down off the coast, but the military doesn't seem too concerned with getting it back. Meanwhile, at the unfunny shtick resort, there are a few serious characters, namely Anne (Tricia O'Neil), the scuba diving instructor, and her son Chris (Ricky Goldin), who are living there following her separation from police chief husband Steve, played by Lance Henriksen in the Roy Scheider role. This is an early appearance for Henriksen, grizzled actor extraordinaire, if not America's leading bard of grizledry, and he does a decent job. He's clearly still in love with his wife who is shtupping a young biochemist who knows what's really going on here. Meanwhile, their son goes out with a hot chick in a boat and has to be saved from the rampaging piranha. Oy!
|"Excuse me, you're holding up the line!"|
Cameron has said the producer, Ovido Assontis, was constantly hovering over him, questioning his every decision, and that he eventually had to break into the editing room to cut his own version of Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, which is also floating around, so to speak. Supposedly, the main bone of contention was the comedic scenes, because clearly a flying piranha movie should be played very seriously. Also, they fought over the color of the scenes shot from the piranha point-of-view- Assontis wanted the silly hot pink in the film, while Cameron wanted red- clearly an important plot point. Luckily for us all, Cameron would eventually make a few good movies, earning him the chance to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on his dream of dopey CGI cartoons about blue, hippie cat-aliens.