There’s a new monster mash-up on the way.
Once upon a time, a “monster mash-up” referred to a film that featured two or more monsters taking part in a head-to-head punch-up. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (US-1943; dir. Roy William Neill), House of Dracula (US-1945; dir. Erle C. Kenton), Kingu Kongu tai Gojira [trans. King Kong vs Godzilla] (Japan-1962; dir. Ishirô Honda), Kaiju soshingeki [aka Destroy All Monsters] (Japan-1968; dir. Ishirô Honda), Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Japan-2001; dir. Shusuke Kaneko), Gamera vs Viras [aka Destroy All Planets] (Japan-1968; dir. Noriaki Yuasa), Komodo vs Cobra (US-2005; dir. Jim Wynorski), Mega-Shark vs Giant Octopus (US-2009; dir. Ace Hannah), and Dinocroc vs Supergator (US-2010; dir. Rob Robertson, Jim Wynorski) to name but a few.
Then something happened. Last year B-film legend Roger Corman hit on a title that mashed together two monstrous critters into one even more monstrous critter, and the world of B-film monsterdom gained a new paradigm.
News of Sharktopus (US-2010; dir. Declan O’Brien) first hit the internet in early 2010 and by September TV screens in the US and later around the world. Sure, the idea of the monster as a hybrid creature — an unnatural co-mingling of different species (man-and-wolf, woman-and-snake, snake-and-bat) — has been around for a long time, encapsulated in the ancient monster known as the Chimaera (Chimera).
The Greek monster Chimaera (above) had the body of a lion, the head of a goat (as well as the head of a lion), a tail that ended in a snake’s head, and sometimes eagle’s wings. Greek and indeed world mythology is replete with such hybrid monstrosities — the Sphinx, harpies, the Manticore (first image below), Lamia, Pegasus, the Minotaur, mermaids (Sirens), Naga Kanya (second image below), and goat-headed Devils such as Baphomet, etc. In fact, the epithet “chimaera” is now used by scientists to refer to hybrid animals that are a co-mingling of two or more genetically different tissue types, usually as a result of mutation or grafting. Of course they rarely look like these guys:
The idea of a combined shark and octopus wasn’t new with Sharktopus. Lamberto Bava’s Shark: Rosso nell’oceano [aka Devouring Waves; Monster Shark; Devil Fish] (It/France) had done the same thing in 1984. But it’s the title that counts. Success in the sub-genre of B-monster flicks has always attended enticingly ridiculous titles — usually in themselves the inspiration for making the picture. So knowing how popular giant monster films had become, Corman took Lewis Carroll’s lead and made a portmanteau word out of the monster’s two components. This caught the imagination of fans everywhere and news of the film provoked a rash of internet speculation, not to mention drawings of the hybrid beast. Subsequently, Sharktopus was a mega-success for the SyFy Channel — and a new sub-sub-genre is born.
What’s next? We’re still waiting on the Chihuahua and Piranha mash-up Chihuanhas (directed by Jim L. Clark). But in the meantime Roger Corman has been exercising his pop-savvy imagination on possibilities and has come up with this:
Yeah, that’s right. Corman has mashed together one of Asylum Entertainment’s biggest SyFy successes — Mega Piranha — with a second successful giant monster: the giant snake, or more specifically the giant Anaconda. Jim Wynorski, another B-film legend, is set to direct Piranhaconda with a cast that includes Rib Hillis (Dinocroc vs. Supergator), super-model Rachel Hunter, Michael Madsen (Species II, Die Another Day, Kill Bill, vol. 1 and 2, Frankenstein, Chasing Ghosts, 24, Infected), Michael Swan (Dinocroc vs Supergator), Diana Terranova (Californication, Camel Spiders), Terry Ivens (All My Children), Shandi Finnessey (Sharktopus) and Kurt Yaeger (Dolphin Tale, Camel Spiders).
Though it’s probably fairly irrelevant, the plot or what we know of it, goes like this:
A low-budget horror movie crew, inept kidnappers and a reptile expert battle a monstrous anaconda/piranha hybrid in the Amazon jungle.
The Piranhaconda’s Characteristics:
Filming took place recently at Polihali State Park on Kauai, Hawai:
Roger Corman chats about Sharktopus, Dinoshark and Piranhaconda:
Interviews re Piranhaconda from at Wondercon 2011, including the enthusiasm of Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead:
There’s also a heap of short videos on this YouTube Channel purporting to be footage taken during the first expedition to capture Piranhaconda. It’s dated “1920”, but includes helicopters, 4WDs and other modern technology, so I don’t know what it all means. Check it out for yourself if it takes your anachronistic fancy.
The Gallery below includes a heap of pictures of the “life-size” Piranhaconda puppet used during filming (nicknamed “Bernie”) and the cast on location in Hawaii.
Piranhaconda premieres on the SyFy Channel on 11 October 2011 (source: Matchflick).
Sources: Facebook; via Avery Guerra. Written by Robert Hood