Barracuda (The Lucifer Project) – USA, 1978

Barracuda

‘Something deadly in the water… more dangerous than any shark or killer whale!’

Barracuda (The Lucifer Project) – promoted as simply Barracuda  is a 1978 American horror film written, produced and directed by Harry Kerwin (Playgirl Killerstory; Sting of Death – special effects; God’s Bloody Acre – director). Wayne Crawford, who also stars, handled the underwater direction. Jason Evers, Roberta Leighton, Cliff Emmich, William Kerwin and Bert Freed also star.

The film’s synth score is by celebrated electronic composer and Krautrock musician Klaus Schulze (Next of KinAngst).

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The residents of Palm Cove, a small Florida coastal town, are menaced by highly aggressive barracuda fish caused by pollution from a chemical plant. The townspeople themselves are becoming aggressive too. A marine biologist (Crawford) and the local sheriff investigate…

Barracuda The Lucifer Project - Harry Kerwin - 1978 - Lobby003

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

“The conspiracy plot is a complete waste of time and you just know which townspeople are in on the cover-up from the way their characters have been portrayed throughout the rest of the film […] If Barracuda had focused on the title fish a lot more much like Piranha did and then had the cover-up plot as the secondary theme then its overall quality would have been greatly enhanced.” Popcorn Pictures

“The problem with the movie is that about halfway through, the filmmakers drop the whole killer barracuda thing and go hog wild for the government conspiracy angle. In fact, I don’t think anyone goes anywhere near the water for the last 45 minutes or so of the movie. Weird.” Mitch Lovell, The Video Vacuum

“The submerged segments are long and drawn out visions of scuba divers swimming their way through reefs and kelp, yet the scenes always end up with gruesome payoffs when the barracudas show up.  The water scenes are a little more Piranha than Jaws, but they make for some bloody good viewing.” James Jay Edwards, Film Fracture

Barracuda The Lucifer Project - Harry Kerwin - 1978 - Lobby001

“This movie keeps you guessing and makes up for the so-so special effects with a great storyline and amusing and interesting characters […] Barracuda is a film that may have gotten lost in the mix of killer fish movies, but it is a quality film with some great twists and a fantastic ending.” Geno McGahee, Scared Stiff

Barracuda is bait-and-switch.  If you go in expecting a lot of animal-attack story, you are going to be disappointed by the government conspiracy ending sequence (which honestly is probably a bit more original).  I can’t really recommend the movie, but I do give it some props for at least trying to differentiate from the other multiple clones…” JP Roscoe, Basement Rejects

“The biggest fault of Barracuda is the fact it suffers from not knowing whether it wants to be a complete ripoff or make a political statement. If it went down one path or another, the film might have been able to pull itself out of the sluggish no-man’s-land it finds itself wandering around in for 98 minutes.” Cain Gardner, The Film Yap

Barracuda + Island Fury Drive_in DVD

Buy with Island Fury on DVD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

“It’s not much of a Jaws imitation in that the barracuda attacks (scenes of trophy fish chomping on various extremities while a red Cool-Aid substance infiltrates the surrounding water) are limited, as is the underwater photography. The restrained, PG-rated effort’s most horrifying sequence has a young woman’s dog fetching a severed head, still dressed in scuba gear to save on make-up expenses.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In

“Wayne David Crawford, the blandest hero ever cast in a horror movie, sets out to solve the mystery […] Comedy relief consists of an obese deputy sheriff.” John Stanley, Creature Features

Cast and characters:

  • Wayne Crawford … Mike Canfield – Claws; Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things
  • Jason Evers … Dr. Elliot Snow – Basket Case 2; The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
  • Roberta Leighton … Liza Williams
  • Cliff Emmich … Deputy Lester – Invasion of the Bee Girls
  • William Kerwin … Sheriff Ben Williams – Dear Dead Delilah; Playgirl Killer; Sting of Death; Love Goddesses of Blood IslandBlood Feast
  • Bert Freed … Papa Jack – What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?Invaders from Mars
  • Harry Kerwin … Government Agent #1
  • Rick Rhodes … Government Agent #2
  • Matt King … Agent Leaving
  • Barbara Keegan … Maggie Snow
  • Edmund Lupinski … Boy on Beach

Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

Barracuda Inglorious Bastards

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Barracuda Yugoslavian poster

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Filming locations:

Pompano Beach, Florida, USA

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Related: Jaws | Killer Fish | Piranha (1978) | The Pike

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