Bil’s rating (out of 5): 0.5
Original Title: Tentacoli
Italy, 1977. Esse Ci Cinematografica, American International Pictures. Screenplay by Jerome Max, Tito Carpi, Steven W. Carabatsos. Cinematography by Roberto D’Ettore Piazzoli. Produced by Enzo Doria. Music by Stelvio Cipriani. Production Design by Mario Molli. Costume Design by Nicoletta Ercole. Film Editing by Angelo Curi.
The success of Jaws flooded the market with painfully bad imitators about monsters of the deep, and among them was this terribly inept tale of a giant octopus terrorizing a coastal town in California. John Huston plays a reporter who has come to visit his sister (Shelley Winters) and her son but finds himself unable to resist investigating the death of a peg-legged sailor whose body popped up from the sea in curiously demolished shape. At the same time, marine biologist and killer whale trainer Bo Hopkins begins to suspect that a company that built a pipeline into the ocean has been poisoning the water and it has resulted in the mutated, eight-legged creature that is devouring all that it encounters. Bad timing for Winters’ son to be taking part in a regatta that is putting so many juicy morsels of flesh into the water for the crocked ock to feast on. The human characters are there to provide the kind of dramatic development that made Jaws so compelling in between action scenes, but here the script seems so haphazardly assembled that you could easily believe that scenes from an unrelated film were stitched into random shots of an innocuous, real-looking octopus and some very funny attempts at special effects. Never tense or scary for a moment, it also doesn’t provide the enjoyable laughs that the similarly pitiful The Last Shark would have a few years later, so it won’t be a good choice for anyone looking to watch something campy either.