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Poster for Cult 101: Piranha (1978)
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Cult 101: Piranha (1978)

Opens on November 10

Director: Joe Dante Run Time: 94 min. Rating: R Release Year: 1978

Starring: Bradford Dillman, Dick Miller, Heather Menzies, Keenan Wynn, Kevin McCarthy

Country: Japan, United States
Language: English

Presented as part of the 2023 edition of Cult 101.

About the film:

When some jerks skinny-dip near a government testing lab, they accidentally unleash… piranha! The bloodthirsty fishies rend flesh in a small-town lake while a drunk scientist, a go-getting detective, and exploitation superstars Dick Miller, Paul Bartel, and Barbara Steele hang out and take care of business.

We should all be thankful for Steven Spielberg, for without Jaws (1975), there would be no Piranha (1978). Half spoof and half trash-gore powerhouse, Joe Dante’s Piranha is a rare delight—a knockoff just as fun as the original, with SFX guru Rob Bottin’s puppet fish a wonder to behold.

About the filmmaker:

Joe Dante is an American film director, producer, editor and actor known for witty genre films and television shows. He began his career at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, where he edited Ron Howard’s directorial debut Grand Theft Auto (1977) and co-wrote the original story for Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979). He made his solo directorial debut with the camp classic Piranha (1978), and followed up with The Howling (1981) and the landmark horror comedy film Gremlins (1984). His other feature films include Explorers (1985), Innerspace (1987), The ‘Burbs (1989), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), and Small Soldiers (1998). More recently, his projects have included the feature film Nightmare Cinema (2018) and episodes of Salem (2015-2017) and Hawaii Five-0 (2011-2017).

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