Though it parodies exploitation cinema just as much as it honors it, THEY BITE is a highly entertaining horror/comedy that never condescends to the genre or its fans. After a model (Blake Pickett) is killed by a humanoid sea monster during a Florida photo shoot, the photographer (Thomas Cavanno) sends the pictures to the local sheriff, who in turn mails...read more
Though it parodies exploitation cinema just as much as it honors it, THEY BITE is a highly entertaining horror/comedy that never condescends to the genre or its fans.
After a model (Blake Pickett) is killed by a humanoid sea monster during a Florida photo shoot, the photographer (Thomas Cavanno) sends the pictures to the local sheriff, who in turn mails them to visiting ichthyologist Melody Duncan (Donna Frotscher). A mixup at her hotel lands the photos in the
hands of porno filmmaker Mel Duncan (Nick Baldasare), and when his producer, Sam Nicholhoff (George Mazzone), sees them, he decides to turn their movie into a fish monster porn flick. After resolving the confusion over the photos, Melody and Mel agree to split the rights to the story of the real
creatures, which are continuing to terrorize the area.
Soon, the group comes across the body of a creature that has been run down on the road and puts it in the back of a truck, figuring they're onto a gold mine. When they stop at a beachside bar to make a phone call, the place is attacked by more monsters. Right behind them, however, is another group
of strangely suited figures, which vaporize the creatures and their victims and abscond with the unconscious Larry (Charlie Barnett), a member of the crew. He is spirited to the underwater spaceship of what prove to be aliens; when he is revived, he is jettisoned from the craft, and joins the
others on the beach as the craft rises from the water and shoots off into the sky.
At one point in THEY BITE, someone remarks that fish monster movies never lose money: it is ironic, then, that this one, which was completed in 1992, took four years to be released, and then only on a minor video label. Director-writer Brett Piper is a veteran of Troma films, but THEY BITE bears
few traces of the self-conscious smart-asser humor that mars so many low-budget horror satires. While it's immensely knowing about its B-movie forebears, it establishes its own sense of humor, and is marked by clever writing and some very witty dialogue.
Nor does Piper play his monster scenes for intentional cheesiness. Though the sea creature suits--designed by Piper himself, without credit--aren't quite state of the art, the sea creatures' attacks are handled with an effectively straight face. The sort of movie that might well have become a
summer perennial during the drive-in era, THEY BITE is a treat for B-movie fans. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, extreme profanity.)