Saturday, August 10, 2013

Popjunkie Movie Reviews – Sitting through the best of the worst… so you don’t have to!


Barracuda (1978)

You know you have a bad movie on your hands when all of the following happen before the opening credits finish rolling:

·         The production company is called “A Marketing Film Production”
·         The film has a subtitle (which is not listed on the artwork) called “The Lucifer Project”
·         You recognize no one in the credits
·         There is going to be a character called “Papa Jack”
·         You find out that one of the actors is also one of the producers. Who also wrote the screenplay. And directed the movie.

Now the credits finish and you already know what you are in for but do I even need to state how blatant a JAWS rip-off this film is?

JAWS was a truly fantastic movie in just about every way – the story, characterizations, cinematography, direction, the musical score, the way it impacted box office, marketing, et cetera, et cetera.

But if there was one negative in a sea of positives, it is the fact that it launched a billion half-baked clones featuring every animal one could think of turning on humankind. Thanks to JAWS, the remainder of the 70’s found silver-screen victims being eaten by worms, alligators, grizzly bears, bees, frogs, spiders, crocodiles, rats, piranha and of course, barracuda. Sadly, I’m probably missing a dozen more here!

Barracuda ups the ante by presenting us with not only every monster-eating-people cliché but also the typical bad man in a small town that does bad things which turn animals into bloodthirsty killers’ cliché.

But Barracuda has much loftier aspirations than simple people-eating carnage when we find out that the government is behind the killings! They want to inject more violence into society so the populace could never protest future wars.  You didn’t think you would get Vietnam commentary in a fish-eating-people movie, but there it is.

And how is the government planning to take over a small Florida town? By going into business with the local chemical plant and pouring chemicals into the town’s drinking water to create a town full of… hypo-glycemics.

Apparently, the evil doctor in the film is an expert (and wrote books) on low blood sugar and the damaging effects it has on the human body. Like extreme irritability and crankiness. But what he didn’t foresee was the chemical also being poured into the ocean, creating... hypo-glycemic barracuda!

All true. And I sat through the whole thing.

But talking about barracuda reminds me of one of the main problems here – they are barely in the movie! Consumed with conspiracy theories, the film apparently forgets its own title since about 10% of the film is set in the water. Considering that the attacks scenes do not induce one iota of fear or terror and maybe that is not such a bad thing.

To summarize, Barracuda is a film about a nefarious government plot to control people which unleashes a few fish suffering from low-glycemic munchies that kill about 4 people and then everyone who discovers the plan are shot and the end credits roll.

That’s what you were expecting right?