After Jaws was released in 1975, every summer saw a bumper crop of international imitations flooding theatres. There was no bigger waste of talent on display than the 1977 Italian import TENTACLES.
Hilariously bad, it’s an Ed Wood-like take on a summer beach thriller that’s very lost in translation. Numerous big movie stars are near the water for a paycheck.
John Huston looks embarrassed to be here at all as the tenacious small-town reporter convinced that a local squid is up to no good. Shelley Winters is really bad as Tillie Turner, a local Mom who has signed her son (really? How about GRANDson) up for a regatta that serves as a smorgasbord for our pissed off Octopus. Winters punctuates every sentence with a puckered-up whine and breathless pleading. I was begging anyone to shove her in the ocean 15 minutes in.
Henry Fonda follows up his brilliant role in Irwin Allen’s killer bee movie “The Swarm” as Mr. Whitehead. I really don’t know what part he plays in the story; Hank was taking the whole thing a LOT more serious than I was.
Bo Hopkins brings a great tan and a lot of senseless, seemingly improvised dialogue as an Orca trainer whose pets just may save us from those terrifying tentacles.
Of course, they would have been terrifying if any money at all had been spent, but all the underwater sequences are aquarium shots of squid or nature shots set to scary music. In all fairness, legend has it that the production spent a million dollars on a life-sized replica of a giant octopus that sunk the first time they put it in the water. Roy Arbogast, who built the mechanical shark for “Jaws” created an amazing and terrifying full-size giant squid to attack Kirk Douglas in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea back in 1954. 23 years later this crew builds a sinker.
It's somehow fitting for this mess.
I laughed a lot, I snoozed a little, but suspense or terror quotients are zero.
But laughs! All unintentional unfortunately but laughs aplenty.
Huston and Winters aren’t even in the final half hour of the film, maybe they just decided to leave early. Safe to say they didn’t miss anything.
I love a good b-movie.
Alas, this water-logged, goofy, horribly edited mess is a grade z cinematic turd.
It makes Jaws-ripoff “Grizzly”, released the following summer, look like a masterpiece.
Get ready to whine Shelley, this gets an F.
Witness this legendary dialogue between 57 year old Winters and her young son:
Tillie Turner: I'm a very good sailor. If I went in that boat with you, you would certainly win.
Little boy: Then we'd need a tornado to move the boat!
Tillie Turner: Don't be so smart!
Little boy: Mommy, you're plump. There's more to love.
Tillie Turner: Oh, sweet-talk me like your father.