Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
They Bite (1994)
MTI Video | Review by Dan Taylor

They BiteIf I had to sit down and name my favorite 'When Fish Attack' flicks of all-time, the likes of PIRANHA, ALLIGATOR, UP FROM THE DEPTHS and HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP would surely top the list. Let's face it — after the fish-rape scenes in HUMANOIDS could you ever look at the cross-eyed lust of the Creature from the Black Lagoon’s the same way?

With that in mind I sat down with Brett Piper's THEY BITE not knowing what to expect. Would it approach the subject of marauding fish creatures seriously? Would it mock the exploitation genre I love so much? Or, was I in for — as a Korean store owner once told me as I purchased a 40-oz. of Old German — "a real tweet." The opening scene of a horny photog and his reluctant model taking shots on a Florida pier led me to correctly believe that this undiscovered gem might be the "tweet" I was looking for.

In typical fish-attack pre-credit style, the model decides to take a refreshing plunge in the drink after cockteasing the sleazy shutterbug to the point of explosion. Cue slimy green fish creature and we’re off like a prom dress! The rest of the flick's plot (yeah, it actually HAS one!) concerns an ichthyologist named Melody Duncan (Donna Protscher, who resembles a meaty Valerie Bertinelli) and a porn director named Mel Duncan (Nick Baldasare who does not resemble a meaty Eddie Van halen) that get mixed up in each other's work thanks to the name confusion.

Also on hand are the porn flick's writers (played to perfection by Charlie Barnett and porn legend Ron Jeremy), the over-enthusiastic producer (George Mazzone), and a bubble-headed blonde actress (Christina Veronica) who gets most of the flick's choice dialogue. In one scene she responds to the instructions that "this has gotta be the KING KONG of porno movies" with "Oh no, I'm not havin' sex with an ape again."

Though the pic sorta runs out of steam towards the end and finishes on an unbelievably anti-climactic note, THEY BITE is easily the best fish-on-the-attack flick I've ever seen that contains: Ron Jeremy buying groceries (he even makes that look filthy); a wet t-shirt contest that turns into a catfight then barfight then killer fish creature attack; nifty desiccation effects; a mock trailer for INVASION OF THE FISH FUCKERS; and tons of B-movie references.

Be sure to check out our chat with Kinetic Image honchos Steve Williams and Brett Piper, two of the men responsible for THEY BITE.

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