Piranha II: The Spawning

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Creature Feature History

Piranha II: The Spawning

piranha2When constructing a list of the most influential film-makers in history, it would be hard to overlook James Cameron. The multi-award winning writer/ director has created some of the most creative, thrilling and financially successful films in living memory including The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2, Titanic and Avatar.

Yet the famously hard to work with Canadian who single-handedly ushered in the new era of stereoscopic 3D, came from rather humble beginnings. Like many successful industry professionals today, Cameron was a graduate of “The Corman Film School” and began his career as a model maker and SFX cameraman for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures production company. It was his work for Corman which would lead to his big break and debut directorial gig.

The film in question was Piranha II: The Spawning and this is the story of James Cameron and his fishy first feature film.

A scuba diver instructor must team up with her biochemist boyfriend and her police chief ex-husband in order to get to the bottom of a series of mysterious murders. However, their investigation leads them to a sunken ship in the Caribbean Sea which is home to a swarm of mutated flying piranha!

Although this story doesn’t start with Cameron; instead, and like a lot of creature feature stories, it begins with Jaws.
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Mary Alexandra Stiefvater interview

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Creature Feature Interviews

Mary Alexandra Stiefvater (Supergator, Bear)

Theo_And_Juliet_17Many actors and actresses get their first big feature film roles in Creature Features and today’s interviewee is no exception. Also a writer, producer, model and poet, Mary Alexandra Stiefvater got her first important feature role in Syfy’s 2007 killer crocodile movie Supergator as Dr Alexandra Stevens.

“When the clone of a man-eating crocodilian dinosaur escapes from its research facility, the local town’s only hope rests in a team of scientists, tourists and a Texan alligator hunter. Will this band of unlikely heroes be able to stop the sinister Supergator?!”

Stiefvater later returned to the sub-genre starring as the leading female role Liz in the 2010 killer bear movie Bear, produced by internet sensation Freddie Wong.

“When their van breaks down in the forest, two couples finds themselves mercilessly hunted by a grizzly bear after they shoot its mate in self-defence. But when the pressure is on, secrets are revealed that could tear their relationships apart. Will they be able to put aside their differences and work together or will they all fall victim to the vengeful and bloodthirsty Bear?!”

Ms Stiefvater was kind enough to answer a few questions about her experiences on the two different productions and about what she has got lined up in the future… Continue reading

Grizzly II: The Concert

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Creature Feature History

Grizzly II: The Concert

grizzly2There are many creature features with strange and/or questionable origins but none are more elusive than the unfinished and unreleased killer bear movie, Predator: The Concert, or as it is known informally, Grizzly 2.

Last month, I interviewed David Sheldon, the writer/ producer of Grizzly and Grizzly 2, and you can read that article here. But I feel like the bizarre story deserves embellishment and requires its own history so with the information provided by Mr Sheldon, this is the definitive history behind the production of Predator: The Concert.

This is the true story of Grizzly 2.

The original idea for Grizzly was born from the imagination of screenwriter Harvey Flaxman. Based on a scary experience he had on a family camping trip, Flaxman developed the screenplay with his friend David Sheldon. After only a few weeks of work, the completed script caught the eye of Sheldon’s film-making partner William Girdler who offered to get the film financed in return for directing the picture. Sheldon put aside his original desire to film the project and after Girdler succeeded in securing the film’s budget, the movie began production in the mountains of Georgia.
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David Sheldon interview

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Creature Feature Interviews

David Sheldon (Grizzly, Predator: The Concert, Frogs, Squirm)

grizzlyThere are many creature features with strange and/or questionable origins but none are more elusive than the unfinished and unreleased killer bear movie, Predator: The Concert, or as it is known informally, Grizzly 2.

The plot of the film is nice and simple: A park ranger rushes to stop the rampage of a giant grizzly bear before a big rock concert is scheduled to take place at the park. Forced into an uneasy alliance with a bear activist and an intrepid hunter, the ranger must stop the Grizzly’s reign of terror before it ruins the big event.

The film started shooting in Hungary in 1985 but, after shooting 75% of the material, the production was shut down for mysterious reasons. Despite being over 30 years old, the online leak of a 2007 workprint of Predator sparked a lot of interest from the online community mostly due to the film’s fantastic cast including Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher and Lord of the Rings star John Rhys Davies along with future stars Laura Dern, Charlie Sheen and George Clooney in supporting roles.

There are a lot of conflicting stories, reports and theories available online so in order to get to the bottom of things once and for all, I spoke with the writer and producer of both Grizzly and Predator, David Sheldon to talk about the film, the cast and the remake… Continue reading

Thunder of Gigantic Serpent

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CREATURE FEATURE HISTORY

Thunder of Gigantic Serpent

There are plenty of articles online reviewing Thunder of Gigantic Serpent and analysing its bizarre Frankenstein existence. Whilst they’re not wrong to marvel at the alien editing and laugh at the appalling English dubbing, few actually try to explain the complex history of how something this bizarre comes into being. But I’m a glutton for punishment and Thunder of Gigantic Serpent has inspired me to start a new column: Creature Feature History.

In each CFH article, I’m going to find the most bizarre and interesting stories from the creature feature world and present them to you in the simplest fashion possible. Today’s article will focus on the history of TOGS and its equally grammatically-challenged ancestor King of Snake.

kingofsnakeKing of Snake is a Taiwanese monster movie released in 1984 under the Taiwanese title Daai Se Wong. The only notable cast and crew members are Danny Lee as Dr Li who started as Ultraman in the titular series and Tarcy Su as Ting Ting who would go on to have a successful pop career. My copy of KOS in Taiwanese Mandarin Chinese with no subtitles and I have been unable to find any other versions.

To say nothing else, KOS is impressively unique and despite my complete lack of knowledge of Taiwanese Mandarin Chinese, here’s what I could figure is going on: Continue reading