WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Where would we b-movie fans be without the Syfy channel? Stuck with the Asylum I guess, but that’s entirely beside the point. You know when they announce a new movie that it’s going to be a complete cheese factory of goodness and, whilst it doesn’t make me want to re-evaluate my opinion that the golden age of Syfy movies has past, Piranhaconda doesn’t disappoint. It raises so many questions that otherwise wouldn’t cross your mind: what exactly is swimming in the rivers of Hawaii? When exactly does a person become so blonde that they should be given a legal guardian? Do you really get b-movie groupies? And, of course, the question that stuck out in my head: who the hell would sing this movie’s theme song? Jasmin Poncelet, that’s who. Don’t worry, I haven’t heard of her either, but good on her for having the balls to do it anyway. Not afraid to rip itself to shreds, Piranhaconda is one of the best times you can have with bad CGI, a group of random mercenaries and a posse of scantily clad females.
So we’re somewhere in the middle of Hawaii with Jasmin Poncelet singing her little lungs out when a helicopter loaded with Prof. Lovegrove and two soon-to-be-eaten students descends from the sky. Lovegrove, a world-renowned herpetologist, is on the lookout for a nest of strange eggs. Now feels like a good time to break it to you that the title is misleading and the creature contains no piranha or anaconda. If this disappoints you, take solace in the fact that it’s a Polynesian snake demon. Feel better? Good. So Lovegrove finds one of the nests laden with many eggs. Intent on revealing the creature to the world he bags one of the eggs up in a plastic corn flakes container to take back to the helicopter. As one might expect the mummy piranhaconda took a while to shove that egg out and isn’t about to just let some silly human run off with it. Defying the laws of space she emerges from a body of water that couldn’t possibly hide something her size, eats three out of the four people in attendance while Lovegrove runs off into the forest with the egg.
We now switch to another part of the forest where a group of scantily clad females are being stalked by a lunatic with a meat cleaver. For a moment I thought another movie had leaked into this one, but it turns out that we’re actually following a film crew around while they make the third installment in a slasher series that I’m fairly sure is poking fun at the Friday the 13th and Scream franchises. It’s here we meet Jack and Rose (if this is some strange homage to Titanic, I don’t get it, but I’m just gonna run with star struck lovers in the face of adversity), a stuntman and a script writer respectively. The two clearly have a thing for one another but, being the gentleman that he is, Jack just won’t let the movie’s slutty star Kimmy go without a thorough sun tan lotioning. This irritates Rose so much that she’s gonna tie that sarong so tight blood won’t flow to anything below the waist. Intense oiling up in the Hawaiian sun, however, is about to become the least of this little group’s problems.
Not from the piranhaconda, mind you, but rather from a random group of mercenaries that have also been running around the Hawaiian jungle. They’ve already managed to kidnap the professor and now manage to grab a hold of Rose, Kimmy and the movie’s director as well. Jack and his explosives buddy have managed to make a daring escape into the undergrowth that took splitting up, running frantically from side to side and tripping over every piece of wood they could find to get right. When they miraculously manage to make their way back to the road they think it best not to go back into town and alert the proper authorities and settle on the decidedly more manly method of taking on a hostage situation with no weapons other than a bag of plastic explosives. But, dear viewer, let us not forget the angry mother piranhaconda in hot pursuit of her missing egg and the many humans she’s prepared to nom through to get it back…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Piranhacondas are known to secure their eggs with anti-theft ooze.
- Nobody truly appreciates how difficult it is for a b-actress to be a sex bomb at 5 in the morning.
- $50 and some spare change is enough cash to secure a university professor’s safe release from a hostage situation.
- Mercenaries just prowl Hawaii’s forests kidnapping any random fool who walks by.
- Bands of rogue Hawaiian mercenaries are really just would-be directors and cameramen.
- Sometimes all a b-movie actress’s career needs is a hostage situation and threats of a violent death.
- Men sweat like pigs, sluts sweat like pound puppies.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s been a long time since Tropical Mary and I went along with the hero Odysseus to the Isle of Mists as part of our mini collection of historically inaccurate movies. This movie wasn’t even supposed to be like that; I just wanted a Syfy Original to accompany The Asylum’s Nazis at the Center of the Earth. If one studio can be so much fun, surely the two back to back can only be even more fun (infinitely funner, in fact)? Well, fun it was! Made when Syfy still spelt its name properly, Sands of Oblivion comes from the golden age of Syfy movies. It’s stupidly ridiculous with far too much attempted manship and far too little acting, the plot’s wafer thin and the Egyptian god Anubis is running around California. It’s a b-movie fan’s wet dream really…
So we want to tell a tale about a wrathful Egyptian god killing off young archaeologists in modern-day California. This was the concept that the makers of this little film wanted to run with, so somehow we need to get said wrathful Egyptian deity to the good old US of A. They accomplish this by taking us back to 1923 to the set of Cecil DeMille’s movie The Ten Commandments. I myself haven’t seen this silent beauty but I gather that they needed a lot of Egyptian props for it. In the deserts of California DeMille constructed a remarkable set on which to film his movie, with a number of the props looking remarkably authentic. On the set a young John Tevis buries a few of the movie’s trinkets in a time capsule, hoping that, 1000 years from now, some other young explorer may come across it.
Or something to that effect at the very least. Flash forward a few decades and we land up in the present day where Alice Carter and her team of student archaeologists are excavating the old movie set. John, now well into the Autumn of his life, and his suave and studly grandson Mark are also running around trying to find the old man’s time capsule. Now at first I was wondering why a team of archaeologists would be excavating an old movie set, but then we’re told that it’s because the tides are about to come in and flood the desert. I was still confused about the excavation, and now I was wondering where the hell the ocean was going to come in from. Anyways the old man finds the box but accidentally falls into one of the set’s rooms, breaking an ancient binding spell and unleashing a very angry (and corpsey) Anubis on the sands of California.
Now, prior to hitting play on this movie, I had already come to terms with the fact that the director and his team would not have the knowledge or will to check Wikipedia and understand that Anubis was neither a malevolent nor corpse-like divinity. Fact of the matter here is that he’s angry as hell and out to kill as many young archaeologists as he possibly can. In addition to pure brute force one of the main ways that he will do this is by unleashing the ten Biblical Egyptian plagues. Why an Egyptian deity would unleash Christian plagues is something that makes absolutely no sense, but I put this little pondering aside as well and continued to watch the movie. Alice and Mark will have to find a way of defeating Anubis in a way that seems to have been made up as the movie went along. It makes little to no sense, but again the sheer ridiculousness of it makes it an absolute must watch.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The Egyptians were big fans of using decorative pentagrams.
- Blowing up an entire crate of phosphorous will only result in some mild charring of the immediate area.
- An ancient deity can be quite easily contained in a wooden shed.
- Ex husbands are easily tempted by the promises of malevolent Egyptian spirits.
- Archaeologists don’t want to hear about the boils on your ass.
- Drawing a Wadjet eye free hand won’t yield good results.
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