Exploitation Alley: BARRACUDA


The question I sometimes ask myself while watching films that contain vicious fish or animals is “Why am I watching this?” However, good or bad, we can all agree that they are downright entertaining. During this film, the question I asked myself was “Why haven’t I seen this before?” The title caught my attention because I am a fan of the song by Heart, and I also had the song stuck in my head for a majority of the film, and after reading this it might stay stuck in your head as well. Don’t let that take away from the experience you are about to receive from watching this gem of a film, so brace yourselves for the cheesy, yet somehow well done tale of fish gone terribly wrong, it’s time for ooooooh BARRACUDA.

Released in 1978, BARRACUDA was directed by both Harry Kerwin and Wayne Crawford. The first impression this films gives, is the longest opening sequence ever. Well, maybe not ever but it is pretty long. After about five minutes of random underwater scenes, we are treated to a  woman with an impressive rear end (we only know this because the camera zooms in on it a few times) and a man with tiny shorts who just so happen to be scuba diving in the worst part of the water. Ah! You guessed it, they are viciously attacked by a couple of blood-thirsty barracudas. Following the carnage, there are a couple of random scenes that don’t make sense at the moment, but totally will later on, and there is a guy with the coolest mustache and haircut I have ever seen.

Immediately after this, and while you are wondering what the hell is going on, we meet Marine Biologist Mike Canfield (Wayne Crawford) who decides to explore underwater to collect samples to test for pollution. He manages to ditch the psycho fish, but he has to face the evil Papa Jack (Bert Freed) of Jack Chemical Co, who decides to have Mike arrested for trespassing and destroys his water samples. Being the smart guy that he is, Mike hides a sample in his diving fin.  Then things start to get a little odd. The barracudas claim another diver, and thousands of chewed up fish appear on the sand. This grabs the attention of Sheriff Ben Williams, who is trying to figure out what the hell is causing the unfortunate events on the beach. Ben becomes extremely interested when he receives a call from Mike letting him know that the water sample contained some surprising chemicals in it. The two decide to team up,  and  to the bottom of the weird happenings that are terrorizing the town.

Remember the creepy men in suits at the beginning? Yes, they play an important part as government agents. Why would government agents actively try to protect the Jack Chemical Co. property?  Well, I encourage you to watch this film to find out what happens. There is a shocking twist of events, and it does not disappoint.

This instantly became one of my favorites. If you have a special place in your heart for creatures gone wild, this is for you. If you have a thing for crazy, government conspiracy theories then this is also definitely for you. A cool thing about this film, is the storyline. In a way, it became a different type of movie towards the end, but it was still interesting.  It had a small amount of gore, accompanied by an unusual ending. Of course, the idea of man-eating barracuda is a little far-fetched, but still great and very interesting. I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen this to watch is as soon as you can.

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