Director: Joe Dante
Year Released: 1978
Tongue-in-cheek horror-comedy from the Corman Factory has a rogue scientist (Kevin McCarthy) breeding mutated super piranha in his secret lab before they're mistakenly released into freshwater streams and begin nibbling at everything they can (including the feet of children and winos) - on the case are a drunk in need of redemption (Bradford Dillman), an investigator (Heather Menzies) and the entire U.S. Army. Though director Dante and screenwriter John Sayles can't escape the obvious limitations of making a Jaws ripoff with a limited budget - there's a shot of someone playing the Jaws video arcade game as a wink-wink - they do try to turn in a tolerable (if rather rote) 'scare' movie, tossing some titties, gobbled torsos and ever-so-slight Vietnam-era subtext into the mix just to get through it all. Still better than the sequel that followed it, which coincidentally happened to be (in part) directed by James Cameron.