Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Barracuda (1978)



Name an aquatic life form with a fearsome reputation, and chances are the critter got a starring role in a schlocky horror movie after Jaws (1975) revealed there was big money to be made from soggy shockers. Alligators, killer whales, octopi, and piranhas all got the big-screen treatment, and—thanks to this stinker—so did the sharp-toothed barracuda. Yet while most Jaws rip-offs concentrate on scenes of people getting eaten while submerged, Barracuda is actually a conspiracy movie that happens to feature a handful of watery deaths. However, if that description gives the impression that Barracuda rises above its brethren, perish the thought—chances are the reason this flick spends most of its time on dry land is that the producers didn’t have enough cash to fulfill the promise of their movie’s title. Set in a generic American beach town, the picture kicks off with the usual tropes: Mysterious deaths lead an investigator to put the blame on a pack of barracudas, blah-blah-blah. Thereafter, the intrepid leading man discovers the real villain is the owner of a chemical plant whose industrial dumping has driven local fish crazy. Had this movie been executed with any humor or style, the basic plot elements could have cohered into something moderately amusing. Alas, the writing/producing/directing duo of Wayne Crawford and Harry Kerwin fill their movie with dull scenes of people standing around talking, a narrative shortcoming exacerbated by amateurish acting and bargain-basement production values. Extending his reach in front of the camera, Crawford cast himself in the lead as a marine biologist who solves the story’s mystery—while romancing pretty sheriff’s daughter Liza (Roberta Leighton), of course—and the biggest “name” in the cast is Bert Freed, the prolific but undistinguished character actor who plays the villain. All of this narrative sludge is accompanied by a disco-synth score that sounds like a pale imitation of similar work by Giorgio Moroder, so even the movie’s music is a rip-off.

Barracuda: LAME

1 comment:

andrew delouise said...

totally misleading poster,the barracuda was practically a sub-plot. a time waster at best