This week’s much touted release of Atmosphere’s creature pic, PIRANHA 3D, directed by Alexandre Aja, enters the arena on the heels of Syfy’s recent fish-themed mega-hit, MEGA PIRANHA, directed by Eric Forsberg. And who’s keeping score? Well – given the warm reception that Mega Piranha got at Comic-Con and the fact that it had Syfy’s #1 watched movie premier of 2010 as well as being on its way to becoming a cult classic – probably a lot of people.
We all know about the recently released, Piranha 3D, a 25 million dollar special effects extravaganza helmed by Alexandre Aja (Mirrors, & The Hills Have Eyes), produced by Atmosphere Entertainment (The Spiderwick Chronicles, & 300), and starring Richard Dreyfus, Elizabeth Shue, and Ving Rhames. But we don’t know quite as much about Mega Piranha, a low budget camp-creature-feature helmed by Eric Forsberg (Snakes on a Train, Alien Abduction, & Sex Pot), which premiered on Syfy April 10th to 2.2 million viewers, the second largest audience in the station’s history; Produced by The Asylum (Transmorphers, & War of the Worlds 2); it stars 80s pop sensation Tiffany; B-action dude Paul Logan; and 70s icon Barry Williams (yup, it’s Greg Brady folks): a cast that is as perfect for a cult following as any John Water’s movie. In fact Mega Piranha’s fan base has been growing in leaps and bounds.
“Hail the power of Mega Piranha! Saturday night is fun again” says the genre fan-mag, Monsters and Critics. The Huffington Post writes “Mega Piranha is the most entertaining and enjoyable live-action movie I’ve seen this year.” Jay Leno even showed clips from Mega Piranha during one of his monologues as an alternate to Disney’s “Ocean”. To top it off, Mega Piranha played at San Diego’s Comic-Con last month and the audience responded as if it were The Rocky Horror Picture Show, jumping up and screaming lines, chanting in unison to the screen, and shouting out positive commentary that made the entire experience a FAN-tastic blast.
Mega Piranha is fun entertainment in that “so bad its good” way. In fact, it may be the ultimate “so bad its good” movie of 2010. According to Forsberg the key to campy humor is “not trying to make it a joke.” He just puts committed characters into ridiculous situations and throws things at them, relentlessly. Forsberg’s fun comedic tone hails from his years of directing improv at The Second City in Chicago, where he worked with Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, and Steve Carell.
With a budget twenty-five times bigger than Mega Piranha’s, Piranha 3D is trying to play catch-up as the “so bad its good” movie to remember. The question is – can the big ticket “Piranha 3D” deal a knock out blow to the underdog “Mega Piranha”; or will Forsberg’s low budget creature pic gobble up the competition yet again?
Piranha 3D trailer: