Piranhaconda (2012)

Cover art:


PiranhacondaStarring Michael Madsen, Rachel Hunter, Rib Hillis, Terri Ivens, Shandi Finnessey, Diana Terranova

Directed by Jim Wynorski

If all you’re interested in when watching a movie titled Piranhaconda is seeing people getting chomped to death by a monster in relatively the same fashion over and over again, then you’ll get what you’re looking for. By God, you’ll get what you’re looking for. The average game of Pac-Man boasts less chomping than Piranhaconda. But that’s about all you’re going to get out of this latest Roger Corman-produced Syfy creature feature.

Sorry, forgot, you’ll also get cleavage – lots and lots of cleavage. Jim Wynorski directed so you better believe there will be boobage, albeit TV-PG boobage. The way this creature went after big breasted women in bikinis, I kept waiting for a scientist to explain the monster had to devour silicone in order to sustain itself. Much of the first 40 minutes of Piranhaconda was like watching a giant snake terrorize a Miss Hooters bikini contest.

I recall being a little disappointed with Sharktopus at the time because it seemed like a great monster the filmmakers didn’t fully utilize. Not only does Piranhaconda not get fully utilized, it’s not even a great monster. It’s a great gimmicky name for a monster, that’s about it. The fact that its half-piranha means nothing outside of its slightly fishy head and razor teeth; it barely spends any time in the water. Being half-anaconda means even less because it’s so big it can’t coil around anyone and squeeze them to death as an anaconda would. It’s just a giant snake with a mouthful of sharp teeth that slithers around biting people in half or making them explode into a digital red mist. There’s very little about the actual Piranhaconda that differentiates it from every other giant snake movie Syfy has aired.

The series of events that in some circles could be construed as a plot kicks off with a scientist (Michael Madsen, who sounds very sleepy much of the time) raising the ire of a Piranhaconda by stealing one if its eggs that he plans to sell for big bucks. This leads to him getting held captive by a group of never adequately explained gun-toting bandits in black t-shirts and khaki pants that intend to hold him for ransom. For some reason he never tries to escape despite being held hostage in an open-ended building that is poorly guarded.

Rachel Hunter plays the girlfriend of the head bandit/terrorist/Tom Savini Look-A-Like Contest 3rd Runner-Up. She has very little dialogue, very few scenes, does even less in those few scenes, and still gets second billing. I’m at a loss to explain why they wasted the extra money hiring a name just for a minor character whose most signifigant moment involves shaving the bad guy.


A low budget slasher flick is also shooting in the area. The prima donna b-movie starlet (Sharktopus bikini babe Shandi Finnessey, this time in a fun role that gives her more to do than just rock a bikini, which she continues to do quite well, I might add) wants to put the moves on the hunky actor/stuntman playing the masked killer (Rib Hillis), but he actually has the hots for the frequently bikini-topped script supervisor (Terri Ivens). It’s a love triangle that never gets started because they’re soon taken hostage by those bandits looking to ransom them back to their studio for big bucks. Suddenly the movie turns into Tropic Thunder, except it goes full retard.

Was it my imagination or did the film crew and the terrorists drive the exact same white SUV? Can anyone who saw the movie confirm this? I’d swear that same white SUV did double duty. Mr. Wynorski is nothing if not frugal.

I also would be remiss if I did not give special recognition to the lovely Diana Terranova for her performance as a vacationing woman who twice goes for a swim and somehow manages to come back ashore dry.

Piranhaconda chomps big breasted women. Piranhaconda chomps average breasted women. Piranhaconda chomps people making a movie. Piranhaconda chomps armed gunmen. Piranhaconda chomps scientists. Piranhaconda chomps tourists. The novelty of it all grows tedious in a hurry due to there being so very little creativity to the kills and virtually nothing else going on to chew on aside from frequent bursts of intentionally corny dialogue trying way too hard to be comically stupid with very limited success. This is a movie whose primary entertainment value boils down to how much heckling you and your friends can do, and even then you’ll probably run out of steam due to the repetitious monster antics and going nowhere everything else.

Piranhaconda is no Sharktopus, that’s for damn sure. And a damn shame.

2 out of 5

Discuss Piranhaconda in the comments section below.

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  • AngryChairr

    I think the real question everyone wants to know is, when is he getting around to making a sequel to Chopping Mall? That’s the only sequel I’ve really been dying for other than Student Chainsaw Nurses.

    That said, I think it’s kind of hard to criticize the guy for not advancing as a filmmaker, as some have here. He, and others like Olen Ray, work in a very narrow subset of the film industry where they’re almost expected to regurgitate the same movie over and over and over again because that’s what B movie fans expect — tits, gore, rubber suits, and maybe if we’re lucky some ‘splosions. In fact, it’s probably harder today because they have less creative control over what they’re working with. Those sleazy ’80s films like Chopping Mall or Sorority Babes in Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama seemed like they didn’t really have much in the way of interference when being made. You get the impression there wasn’t even much of a script beyond “HOT TOPLESS BLONDE STEPS OUT OF SHOWER”.

    Had the guy been working with increasingly larger budgets and better material and then still delivered inept filmmaking then yeah, by all means, go to town. As it is, he’s kind of been forced to tread water for his entire career.

    • Uncle Creepy

      I get where you’re coming from, man, and you make some great points, but just because you have a limited budget and resources doesn’t mean you can’t make a good movie. In the 70s and 80s there were tons of made for tv horror flicks made on the cheap and they’re regarded as classics today. Gargoyles, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Dark Night of the Scarecrow, the list goes on and on.

      • Vanvance1

        Exactly, a talented director can trump a limited budget anytime. i.e. Evil Dead, Bubba Ho-tep etc…

      • MonsterMash

        Shit, this movie had every right to be as good as Sharktopus, which I enjoyed tremendously.

    • Gus Bjork

      Yeah it’s a good point but think about it. Even if a low budget filmmaker doesn’t have the ability, let alone the talent, ambition or drive to make a great (not just passable) low budget movie, you would think that at least making these would give you a sense of humor about yourself. How about Charles Band? He’s made a lot of fun movies but you could easily argue he’s never actually made a ‘good’ movie in, what, a 30+ year career? I’m thinking most of us wouldn’t hesitate for a second to trade places with these guys. Having a career, even if it’s not the best, getting paid to make monster movies-good or bad. I understand making a movie on any budget is a tremendous amount of hard work but still!

      I think most of us are big fans of some low-budget filmmaker out there making the schlocky stuff and we pull for them even when they make something crappier than unusual. Think about Phantasm 5 possibly, for real, happening. I love me some Don Coscarelli and I’m excited as can be for a 5th. But then a little part of me goes…”You know Oblivion wasn’t really all that good”.

      So I tell that little part of me to shut the fuck up and all is well again.

      It takes a “Fuck This Movie” review from Foy before I don’t at least consider seeing it. But not for this. There’s no personal insults in Foy’s review, no mocking, no malice-just pointing out the nonsensical, tedious things in a humorous, maybe pointed but fair, way. Seeing this online hissy fit as a result though? That’s amateur stuff.

  • Terminal

    Wow, IndieWire just covered this debacle. Good going Dread Central.

    • The Woman In Black

      Indeed they have, and here’s the link: http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/piranhaconda-director-lashes-out-at-critic

      Thanks for all the great traffic these last few days, Mr. Wynorski! LOL

      • Uncle Creepy

        This is both insane and incredibly sad. Wow.

        • Foywonder

          They make mention of that Komodo vs. Cobra review in that article. They should also mention the next movie of his I reviewed got a 3 1/2 out of 5 and Wynorski himself sent me a personal message thanking me for the kind words. Since then every review of his has either been a 2 or a 2 1/2. Came close to scoring Camel Spiders a 3 earlier this year. A disaster movie called Fire From Below he co-directed a short while back I don’t think I ever actually submitted a DC review for I would have given an easy 3. Whole thing is just ridiculously overblown.

  • Sirand

    If only the movie were as entertaining as this talkback.

    • nazo


      Am I the only one that thinks Foy should change his handle from The Foywonder to Foy Boy, if only for the next time he reviews a Wynorski movie?

      I’ve also never been made an example (pseudonymously, of course) by z-grade director. It’s oddly gratifying :/

  • Terminal

    I’m on Foy’s side in this instance. Wynorski is acting like a child and one who just had his lollipop taken away. I LOVE how he undermines Dread Central insinuating the site isn’t even a credible source of criticism all because Foy’s review wasn’t enthusiastic. How petty.

    Oh and anyone who bashes the movie is being responded by Wynorski with a “fuck you.” How professional.

    • Diavolo

      Mr.Wynorski, I will fuck you back.

      • Diavolo

        Having just read all the Facebook comments above, has altered my opinion on this whole situation. I made a reference to Miguel Prado assuming this was just a bit of silly back and forth regarding an average b-movie’s review. Unfortunatley, it seems much sadder than that.
        I enjoy Foy’s reviews and having seen many of the films he has, his munificence regarding the genre seems self evident. Attacking one of the few people that is prepared to judge these films on their own merits, would seem to be a self defeating cause.
        I’ll probably never see ‘Piranhaconda’, and due to a review that is neither memorable for being disparaging or complimentary, would have forgotten of its existence in a matter of hours. However, the comments that it has generated now mean every time I hear of Jim Wynorski, I will be haunted with a one word appraisal that goes beyond his technical or artistic abilities. Pathetic.

        It does seem that the middle of the road reviews do generate the most vitriol then doesn’t it Scott?

    • MonsterMash

      We must all fuck him back! Him and his red ‘conda blood-mist-shit. God that was annoying. And what happened to the Fake Piranhaconda head set picks I saw? I saw no practical effects shots in the entire fucking movie!

  • aliensharkboy

    I’m yet to see the movie, but I’m sure I’ll love it! As I’ve loved many of Jim Wynorski’s more recent films… oh and, what’s up with Wynorski? He’s loosing it a bit. :/

  • Mr. Dark

    My regret is that nowhere in that thread did he use the Session 9 David Caruso ‘Fuck you!’ GIF. Such an opportunity wasted.

  • CrixLee

    aaaaaaand this is why George Romero and Roger Corman are better than this guy. Sixty-fucking-one years old and he’s acting like a petulant child.

  • CrixLee

    This man has no dick.

  • Cinemascribe

    Wynorksi’s attitude concerning this review is the sort of thing that pisses me off to no end. What a load of entitled, self-pitying crap. It’s similar to what happened with Kevin Greutert from a few years back, when Greutert was yanked away from directing Paranormal Activity 2 and forced to direct Saw 3D.

    Okay, I get that it was upsetting, especially after getting his hopes up.Initially, I even openly sympathized with the man. Then I got to thinking about it and realized what a non issue that actually was.

    Stripped of all the media drama and seen at its most succinct, Greutert’s big set back was this: He was going to film the final installment of one of the most successful and beloved horror franchises to date.

    So how does he react? He posts on his blog that “this is the saddest day of my life.”

    Really, Greutert? The hell you say. That’s funny, because I’ve met a lot of people whose idea of a sad day is that they got laid off due to the fact that the company they’ve worked at for sixty hours a week over the past fifteen years is downsizing. You,on the other hand, get to make movies for a living . You could, y’know, remember that and try to be grateful that you get to do what you do at all.

    Its the same thing with Wynorksi. Someone didn’t enjoy Piranhaconda and apparently that’s some sort of tragedy. Foy didn’t even say he hated it..he just wasn’t all that impressed by it. It’s a SyFy flick (which means it’s essentially an Asylum movie with less exploitative adult content) and he still gave it two knives.

    Wynorski should know by now that mediocre reviews happen. Life goes on. Thirty years in and he still has work in the industry. He really needs to quit his bitching.

    • Vanvance1

      Or he needs to try harder. A director should become more assured and understand his medium better as he practices his craft. Wynorski has made entertaining B movies in the past (i.e. Chopping Mall) and should make an effort to deliver what fans of the genre are looking for.

    • CrixLee

      fuckin’ A

  • YandereSama

    How long will it be before we get Sharktopus vs Piranhaconda feat. Grizzly Spider?

    Joking aside, I just partly wish Syfy would make a film or tv series adaptation of their Monster Island browser game.

  • Vanvance1

    If ALL the breasts were big I might brave these waters.

    Still it all sound monotonous.

  • Terminal

    Really funny review. I might not check this out after all.

  • Danny Garcia

    I have celebrate father’s day on beach.

  • Masked Slasher

    I don’t think I’ve ever really enjoyed a Jim Wynorski film.

    About the closest I’ve come would be Chopping Mall, and it’s been nothing but downhill since then.

    He’s right up there with Albert Pyun in terms of filmmakers who I’ve been actively avoiding for years.

    • nazo

      Not even Deathstalker II?

    • Genrewriter

      I thought Not of This Earth was okay. But yeah, he’s basically a less creative Fred Olen Ray. Let that sink in a little.

    • Foywonder

      The weird thing is that the best Syfy-style creature film Wynorski has made in years has yet to get released in the US for whatever reason and at this point probably never will. It was called Cry of the Winged Serpent. I picked up an import DVD of it from Thailand years ago and gave it 3 1/2 Knives in my review. Even got a personal ‘thank you’ from Wynorski himself for the review and his own confusion as to why the film had yet to see the light of the day in the US. Even stranger considering it was produced by Roger Corman. A shame so few have gotten to see it because it had a plot, characters, and everything; not just a series of random monster deaths.

      Love Chopping Mall. One of my all-time favorites. Have a soft spot for Deathstalker II and Return of Swamp Thing. A Syfy disaster flick called Fire From Below he co-directed a few years ago is also a real guilty pleasure of mine.

      Maybe Piranhaconda is one of those movies where if you haven’t seen as many Syfy giant snake movies as I have you’ll enjoy it more than I did. Could just be that Jersey Shore Shark Attack raised the bar for Syfy creature flicks for the month. Kind of an amazing statement to make come to think of it.

      • nazo

        Maybe Piranhaconda is one of those movies where if you haven’t seen as many Syfy giant snake movies as I have you’ll enjoy it more than I did.

        It has a 2.4 rating on imdb, so probably not.

        I wouldn’t think someone who has made as many terrible movies as Wynorski would lose his mind over a negative review, but what do I know.

        • Masked Slasher

          This pathetic nonsense makes me happy that I’ve actively avoided Wynorski’s work entirely since the early 90s.

      • MonsterMash

        Foy, look back at Mega Snake or Boa vs. Python. They may not have been great, but they attempted to entertain and deliver creative monster carnage. ‘conda didn’t even try.

    • MonsterMash

      Never seen Chopping Mall. I will have to see that sometime. AI Assult and Curse of the Komodo were passable monster romps Jim gave us, but after this and the underwhelming Dinocroc vs. Supergator(Damn that one should have been fun.), and don’t forget Foy’s favorite, Komodo vs. Cobra, Jim’s not delivering.