5 80s Horror Films So Bad They're Brilliant

4. Piranha II: The Spawning (1981)

The Howling 3
Columbia Pictures

Joe Dante's Piranha is passably entertaining, even if it is a blatant Jaws cash-in. Piranha II, on the other hand, is an embarrassment. How the concept of mutated, flying piranha (played straight; not for laughs) got the green light is a mystery. Somebody actually pitched this idea with a straight face, and a bunch of studio men in suits said "Yes, that sounds like a cracking idea. Take my money". Perhaps Jaws 3D and Jaws: The Revenge failed because they didn't take the logical next step and give the shark wings. Just saying.

An even bigger mystery is how the director of this disgrace was able to progress from deadly air-fish to Terminator, Aliens and Titanic. Yes - James Cameron directed this! I suppose from here, the only way is up. To be fair, the final cut of the film wasn't Cameron's call; perhaps had he been given full editing control it might be a masterpiece to rival Jaws (it's highly unlikely, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt).

Still, Piranha II is undeniably entertaining, far more so than its unremarkable, bland predecessor. Some of the flying piranha effects were recycled as face-huggers in Aliens, so at least this film has some value outside of unintentional hilarity.


Olivia Bradbury hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.