Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Piranha (1978)

I hate water. I've never liked it. At the beach, you'll never find me in the drink. At most, I might dip my toes in, then shudder and run back for the safety of my towel. When I was in high school, my friend Megan's family owned a plot on a campground right next to a river. We would have weekend getaways there, camping out and having girly fun. Everyone would swim in the river except for me. I never used the rope swing that hung over the river, no siree-bob! I would use an inner-tube to float down the river, but even then I couldn't wait to get out and get dry.

The water was always murky, and I feared what lay below, be it fish, bugs, rocks or other things that could possibly hurt me. Ugh...I shudder even now thinking about what unknowns lie below.

This dislike and distrust of water probably stems from my younger years. My family went camping almost every summer, even though we lived on a ranch in the middle of the most beautiful countryside. We would usually camp in the redwoods and always picked a campground with a river rushing through it. My sister and I, already wearing our water shoes and swimsuits, would beg to go swimming the second camp was set up. Of course our parents obliged, and after slathering on the sunblock (there is no tanning for me - I immediately burn) we would splash into the river. I have always been a poor swimmer, even after numerous swimming classes, so I usually stayed pretty close to shore. One time I went a little farther out, to where there were some small rapids. I could still stand, but the water was probably up to my chest or neck. No, I did not begin to drown, but I did begin to feel a very uncomfortable feeling. There was a pinching inside my swimsuit, right on my tummy. Well, being pretty young I started screaming and thrashing about until I made my way up on shore and ran to my mom. After grappling with my swimsuit, the hugest, ugliest bug plopped out on shore. Ugh! The bugger had bit me too! I still remember the big, red and ugly bite I had on my stomach for a few days afterward. Suffice to say, I did not go back into the water that trip.

When I was even younger, my grandparents had a house right on the bay in Newport Beach (yes, where The O.C. is set). I would always be out there by myself, building sandcastles, torturing jellyfish, and so on. One summer, I decided to teach myself how to swim. I did a pretty good job, until I noticed all the trash at the bottom of the bay. Rusty cans, plastic wrappers, fish hooks - you name it. After that, I gave up swimming and decided to spend my efforts recycling and trying to keep the world a cleaner place.

To this day, I still won't go in the water. I don't even like swimming pools. Which is why Piranha is the perfect summer movie for me. I want to show it to other people to say, "See, you shouldn't go in the water. You never know what's in it!" In Piranha, the government has developed a mutant strain of the fish. They can live in fresh or salt water, are immune to most poison, are intelligent and are bloodthirsty.

They are inadvertently released from the government facility into the river system. Well, it's summer time, and just down the river is a summer camp as well as a newly opened resort. It's up to an investigator of missing persons and a drunken hermit to find a way to stop the piranhas before they devour everything in their path!

This is a fun, campy movie that shouldn't be taken seriously. It gave me the willies and just reinforced my desire to stay out of the water. Hollywood is supposedly doing a remake, but I doubt it'll be anywhere near as good as the original. The most disturbing scene is when the piranhas attack the young kids from the summer camp. I don't think Hollywood would recreate that scene as it is just so...I dunno, unfortunate and disturbing!

This is by no means a perfect movie, as it does have a couple of plot holes, but it's a great movie to watch on a hot summer night.

Order it on Amazon!

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