Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

SIMON REAMES: Piranha 3D – Review

When I first heard of Piranha 3D I thought it was an 80s B-movie being re-released and gave it no further attention. I then saw the trailer and thinking it was a remake, again gave it no further attention. Then, having nothing else to watch, I gave it some attention.

The plot (if you can call it that!) is a simple and straightforward one. After a minor earthquake opens up an underwater cave on Lake Victoria, scientists dive down to explore this new cavern. But when they are attacked by a pack of piranha (finally being released from the cave) the local sheriff has no option but to shut down the lake. However, it is also American Spring Break with thousands of college students all looking for fun on and in the water.

Right from the start you can tell this is not going to be a cinematic great but rather a tongue-in-cheek homage to monster and B-movies of the 70s and 80s. Any attempt at seriousness is left well and truly alone with the main aim being to create a fun film. This is done brilliantly and you can’t help but smile when you see the little in-jokes and references that come up on screen. The film starts out well and introduces you to all the main characters, back stories and plot quickly so it can get on and show you as much piranha-induced gore as possible in 88 fairly fast-paced minutes. The acting is decent (given that the only emotions needed are scared, terrified and dead) and when the film gets going the action scenes are gory with a touch of humour added to lighten the mood. The special effects are pretty good throughout (all relying on CGI) and the plot does its best to keep you entertained. Having seen this only in good old-fashioned two dimensions, I cannot comment on the 3D; however, I have heard that some of the scenes do (try to) jump out at you. My one criticism is that any tension that could be used is forsaken for humour and over-the-top gore. This is a shame as there are some moments when, had things been done differently, this would have been a tense and decent horror film.

At a time when monster movies seem to be about trying to scare or disgust you with gore, Piranha 3D goes down a different route and tries to provide a modern day equivalent of the old-style monster films from the 70s and 80s; and I think that it has done just that. It is definitely not a contender for best film but it is lighthearted and fun. If you are looking for a true horror film you will be disappointed. However, if you take it as it is meant you will get a fairly entertaining way to spend an hour and a half.

Watch the trailer here!

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