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creature feature: MEGA PIRANHA

Piranha are bad enough. Easily the orneriest of fish, they have been regarded since their discovery as among the most ferocious predators on Earth, ones that gave even the great, gallant Theodore Roosevelt pause:

          "Even the most formidable fish, the sharks or the barracudas, usually attack things smaller than themselves. But the piranhas habitually attack things much larger than themselves. They will snap a finger off a hand incautiously trailed in the water; they mutilate swimmers—they will rend and devour alive any wounded man or beast; for blood in the water excites them to madness. They will tear wounded wild fowl to pieces; and bite off the tails of big fish as they grow exhausted when fighting after being hooked... They are the pests of the waters, and it is necessary to be exceedingly cautious about either swimming or wading where they are found. If cattle are driven into, or of their own accord enter, the water, they are commonly not molested; but if by chance some unusually big or ferocious specimen of these fearsome fishes does bite an animal—taking off part of an ear, or perhaps of a teat from the udder of a cow—the blood brings up every member of the ravenous throng which is anywhere near, and unless the attacked animal can immediately make its escape from the water it is devoured alive."

This description, from Teddy's observation notes entitled "Through the Brazilian Wilderness," has mostly been proven inaccurate or at least overblown hyperbole, with the current ichthyological opinion being that piranhas are pretty much like most other fish, just with teeth, but where's the peril in that? Where's the danger in genetically modifying a regular old fish, albeit one with teeth? Nowhere, that's where. So The Asylum and writer/director Eric Forsberg decided - thank god - to go with the old-school model of the piranha as an insane, frenzied pack of maneaters with inhuman speed and insatiable voraciousness, and then, then, they upped the ante even more, twice more, by making said predators not only gigantic, but making them infinitely gigantic, that is, making it so they never stop getting big.

Allow this wonderful infographic by acclaimed designer and interactivity geek Stephen Taubman to help illustrate:

 As stated on the graphic, the biggest problem (for us; for MP it's their biggest advantage), is that they never stop growing. In fact, every 36 hours or so, you can expect each individual member of the school to double its size, which also means double its strength, double its speed, and double its appetite, every day-and-half. By Taubman's analysis, in five days, they're our size; in six days, the size of a giraffe; in nine days, a fucking dinosaur. By my analysis, that means in roughly a month each mega piranha will be the size of the moon. So if they don't eat us, they'll crush us.

But big or not, they're still just fish, right? Nuke the motherfuckers and let's be done with this nonsense, already. 

Ah, ah, ah. Not so quick. Genetic modification isn't just about an increase in size, it's about an all-around performance enhancing makeover. So that giant fish, he's not just giant, or ravenous, or ridiculously aggressive and accompanied by a hundred others just like him, he's also coming equipped with two hearts - two - which means he's got twice the passion we do, and triple-thick skin capable of protecting him from hooks, blades, bullets, missiles, fire, explosives and even high-grade nuclear weaponry. Kicks, however, will stun him. 

So then, let's see here - constantly growing, maniacally insatiable, bloodthirsty, and with a penchant for taking on prey bigger than themselves, including, sometimes, things that aren't even biological at all, denoting another penchant, this one for wanton and reckless destruction. However in the world do you stop such a threat? 

You don't. 

She does:

To see exactly how, you're going to have to pick up a copy of Mega Piranha on DVD, which I for one highly, highly recommend. Who knows? If we drive up DVD sales enough, perhaps we'll get a sequel grudge match. I can't think of a better flagship Asylum film than 2012: Global Warming: Mega Shark vs. Mega Piranha, in which the ice caps flash-melt, raising the ocean levels by ten feet worldwide, leaving very little land and thus an entire planet for the biggest brawl man's ever known. Just sayin'.

Bottom line: mega piranhas are the fiercest product of oceanic genetic modification, hands down, even trumping those psycho-smart sharks in Deep Blue Sea. So before you revisit the big-screen Summer blockbuster this one ties into, check out the mayhem falling like rain in this lower-budget spectacular that manages just as brutal a body count, and all in good, old-fashioned 2D.

(though I wouldn't begrudge the sequel stepping up a dimension; Forsberg worked in 3D for a version of Sex Pot)

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