Although legendary B-movie producer Roger Corman did not produce the upcoming remake of his film Piranha, Corman said he was interviewed for the eventual DVD and Blu-ray release of the new film, Piranha 3D, which releases theatrically August 20. Piranha 3D retells the story of prehistoric man-eating fish ravaging a group of Spring Break partiers. It is directed by director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes 2006 remake) and stars Jessica Szohr (“Gossip Girl“), Steven R. McQueen (“The Vampire Diaries“), Elisabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, Adam Scott, Richard Dreyfuss and Jerry O’Connell. Find the details inside.Corman produced the original Piranha, which was released in 1978 and comes to DVD ($19.93) and Blu-ray Disc ($26.97) Aug. 3, with a new restoration and loaded with such bonus features as a commentary with director Joe Dante and producer Jon Davison, behind-the-scenes footage, a making-of featurette with Corman and others, a blooper reel, the original trailer, a stills gallery, additional scenes from the network television version and more. In an interview at Comic-Con in San Diego July 23, Corman spoke highly of Shout! Factory’s re-releases of his films, which were first announced in January and have thus far included such films as Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World and Death Race 2000.
“We had been sending them out through various companies on DVD and doing moderately well, but I think that Shout! Factory is very aggressive and very creative,” Corman said. “They’ve done a really good job of the transfer to Blu-ray for Piranha, and they’re publicizing it very well, so I’m delighted with what they’re doing.”
Corman said he enjoys going back to the numerous films he’s produced over the years, which helped foster the early careers of such burgeoning talent as directors Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, and Jonathan Demme, as well as actors Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Talia Shire and Robert De Niro.
“It brings back memories of many years ago, and the excitement of a little bit of what we felt in the beginning comes back,” Corman said. “Particularly the fact that they’ve been so carefully transferred — the quality on Blu-ray is amazing.”
But Corman isn’t only looking back — he produced two films for SyFy, Dinoshark and Sharktopus, with Dinoshark having aired March 13. DVD/Blu-ray Disc details have not yet been announced for those titles.
“I think there is a universal interest in this type of film,” Corman said of the continual success of the type of gritty films he helped pioneer. “People like the fact that a low-budget film such as Piranha can come out and sort of compete with the big boys. When it came out, we were in theaters and we were grossing in many theaters, particularly drive-ins, but also the hard-tops as well, figures that were comparable to what the major studios were doing. People feel a little bit affectionate toward the underdog.”
He also attributes the success of camp films to the fact that they combine multiple genres.
“Most of these films are a combination of science-fiction and horror with humor,” Corman said. “Piranha has a lot of humor in it as well as the shocks that come with horror. And that combination works continually.”
Dinoshark, Corman said, was his idea, but the king of B-movies actually felt at first that Sharktopus, about a half-shark, half-octopus, the idea of which SyFy brought to him, went too far in its campiness.
“You can take it to a certain level of insanity and the audience is intrigued and they want to see it, but you go beyond a certain point and the audience turns away from it,” Corman said. “I said with Sharktopus, I believe you’ve gone above that limit and I’m not certain this will work.”
But he came around, agreed to produce the film with his wife, Julie Corman, and said the film’s trailer alone has been a huge hit on the Internet.
Corman, who at 84 said he’s happier in the producer’s chair than the director’s, nonetheless said it was a possibility that he would return to directing (whereas he has produced seemingly nonstop, the last film Corman directed was 1990’s Frankenstein Unbound).
“If I found something I really loved, I would do it,” Corman said.
In addition to Piranha, Aug. 3 Shout! Factory releases Death Sport/Battle Truck and Humanoids From the Deep (DVD $19.93, BD $26.97 each). Sept. 14 comes Starcrash (DVD $19.93, BD $26.97). Oct. 5 will release The Slumber Party Massacre Collection (DVD $24.97) and The Evil/Twice Dead (DVD $19.93).