Tentacles (1977) – Ovidio G. Assonitis

This Italian made California shot creature feature that wants to be the next Jaws, or even the next Orca, is the next film up in DK Canada’s so fun Monsters in the Movies book. It definitely fails on that front, an angry, human hungry, giant octopus… ok.

The real scary thing is some of the talent they got involved in the project, and one has to wonder how that came about. Included amongst that includes 70s stalwarts Bo Hopkins, and Claude Akins is Shelley Winters, John Huston and Henry Fonda. How the hell did that happen?

The film tries to steal liberally from Jaws, trying to develop the characters and their stories with the growing threat of the octopus, but it just doesn’t have the same cinematic, or crafted feel, not to mention the film’s score does nothing to heighten the supposed terror.

What we end up is schlock, and the majority of it isn’t even entertaining schlock. Bo Hopkins plays a marine biologist that is working with a pair of orca, that come to the rescue at the climax of the film.

Fonda’s character owns a company that has ties to Hopkins’ work as well as undersea exploration, John Huston is a small town investigative journalist, and Winters is his sister.


None of them seem overly invested in the film for more than their paycheck, and the practical octopus effect (plus some actual octopus footage, alive and dead), while fun, is also, very obviously, a creation, and not even in the so invested in the film you’re ready to forgive them that way that Bruce the Shark is obviously fake.

And while there are some great kill ideas, the fact that you don’t see any of them really happen also detracts from what could be an enjoyable popcorn feature.

Instead you simply look at amazement at the fact that these stars could wrangled into this film. Winters is slightly boozy, and is also serving as a mother to a boy and his friend who want to take part in a sailing contest, a sequence which, again, could have been really cool, as the octopus makes its way through the boats’ ranks.

In fact the attack sequence is pretty quick and the detritus of the event could have been messier, instead of a bunch of capsized boats. I mean there isn’t even any blood in the water… and this killer octopus apparently sucks and tears the flesh right off of his meals.

Oh well.

Perhaps someone will take a stab at it again, and give us something truly frightening. I mean the though of tentacles slipping out of the dark water ahead, snaking towards you, that’s creepy, and if done right… could be a kick ass movie.

This is not that movie.

But it was fun to laugh my way through. Let’s see what else DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies has for me, and maybe pick one up for yourself to find something monstrous to watch tonight!



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