Lee Majors Week: Killer Fish (1979)

Editor’s Note: This review originally ran on November 22, 2018. We are rerunning it as part of our “Lee Majors Week” of film reviews.

When I was a kid, there was an urban legend that Lee Majors moved to a small town outside Youngstown, Ohio, because the locals didn’t care what a big star he was. Everyone had an encounter with him, but many found his wife Farah Fawcett to be off-putting. I don’t know if these stories are true, but I want them to be. I do know that Lee and Farah did inspire the song “Midnight Train to Georgia,” though.

Let me sum this one up in short sentences: Priceless emeralds. Hidden jewels. Hungry piranha. Model shoot. Late 1970’s decor. Exotic Rio de Janeiro locations. Suspicion. Jealousy. More piranha.

Other than Lee Majors, this film is a cavalcade of my favorite stars. Well, maybe not favorite. But close. Karen Black is here! And there’s  Margaux Hemingway, who is as good at being a supermodel as she is bad as an actress. And here’s James Franciscus (Beneath the Planet of the Apes) as the main guy you’re supposed to hate. And is that the doctor from Total Recall, Roy Brocksmith? Former NFL quarterback, NHRA drag racer and December 1980 Playgirl centerfold of the month Dan Pastorini come on down! Wow! It’s Anthony Steffen from The Night Evelyn Came Out of Her Grave! And finally, it’s the man whose The Sixth Sense ruined the syndicated episodes of Night GalleryHour Magazine host Gary Collins, the bane of my childhood!

This whole mess (but we love it here at B&S!) is directed by Antonio Margheriti, who we all know and love as the creator of perhaps the finest movie ever made, Yor, Hunter from the Future. The film was also one of three films that Fawcett-Majors Studios co-produced in 1979 — the others being Steel (also reviewed this week, look for it) starring Lee, and Farrah’s Sunburn . . . with Art Carney and Charles Grodin!

Killer Fish is more caper than Jaws rip-off. But hey, how many movies have Lee Majors sitting in a limo with a cane that has a crocodile’s shrunken head on it, much less him swimming through piranha? And that’s why Lee rocks our VHS world at B&S About Movies.

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