Giving It Bite
Piranha movie poster
Dimension Films has just announced the studio will be producing a remake of the 1978 film Piranha. The original Roger Corman B-movie was directed by Joe Dante (and written by John Sayles), and features flesh-eating piranha fish being released into a summer resort’s rivers. On the surface, Piranha is nothing more than a Jaws rip-off. (Although, the tongue-in-cheek horror film does have its fans — including Steven Spielberg. The film even generated a sequel directed by a young James Cameron.)
The Piranha movie poster also follows the Jaws poster formula: swimming beauty on the water, in danger from said creature (with large teeth) from below. The Piranha poster illustration does invoke the right look — another example of how exploitation poster artwork was the great equalizer when compared to the advertising of big budget counterparts. After all, hiring a good illustrator wasn’t beyond the expense of lower budget films.
The illustrator giving the Piranha key art it’s teeth was artist John Solie. No stranger to exploitation film posters, Solie illustrated posters for some interesting 1970s films, including Candy Stripe Nurses, Shaft’s Big Score, and Soylent Green. Solie, speaking about his time working for Roger Coreman’s New World Pictures:
If they gave me as much of a free hand as possible to do the work, I didn’t care whether I was working for a B-movie company or a major. At New World, I’d go to lunch with the art director, he’d tell me the story of the movie, I’d make a drawing on a napkin, he’d approve it and I’d go home and do it. I never saw any of the movies, but I made the movie ads and they made a lot of money!