Piranha II: The Spawning (1981)

Piranha II: The Spawning (1981), directed by James Cameron.

What's worse than mutant piranha fish? Flying mutant piranha fish!

I saw this on video tape and thought it might hold up as good cheesy R-rated fun, something like Humanoids from the Deep (1980). It falls short of that. The action scenes are solidly in the cheap effects creature feature genre, but the human interest main story pasting it all together is painfully bad, with weak attempts at comedy.

This obviously owes a lot to Jaws (1975) and the original Piranha (1978). At the time I saw every new horror film through Alien (1979) lenses and I remember thinking "A flying fish erupting from a corpse is just like the chest-burster, isn't it?"

The good aspects:

Cameron cites Terminator (1984) as his first film, reluctant to take credit for this one. He certainly didn't have much control over the project and it was a rocky production; see the details in the wikipedia article. Which has many "citation needed" notes, so who knows the complete story?

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.