Horror Movie Review: Tentacles (1977)

It’s no secret that the success of 1975 iconic shark movie, Jaws saw so many others try to cash in on the fear of going into the water that film created. However, whereas some dipped a toe or two in, others dived belly first in. Tentacles is one such movie. The resounding splat noise it makes as it hits the water is hilariously satisfying.

Directed by Ovidio G. Assonitis (credited as Oliver Hellman), Tentacles takes place in the small, coastal town called Ocean Beach. An idyllic town about to have a big problem. A problem with tentacles and connected to the digging of a tunnel deep under the sea.

As people mysteriously begin to disappear around the water and bodies begin to turn up, reporter Ned Turner (John Huston) begins to investigate. He teams up with Will Gleason (Bo Hopkins) who is an oceanographer and together they discover just what is to blame.

It’s a giant octopus, one that has been disturbed by the underwater tunnel construction. One that is now on a killing spree. Will the duo be able to stop the slimy beast?

Tentacles biggest problem is just how little fun it is. A movie about a giant octopus in the same vein as Jaws should have at least been entertaining and it’s not. It’s dull. A dull story, dull characters, dull visuals and a dull resolution. The only thing that isn’t dull is the wacky disco/synth soundtrack. Though even that gets so overplayed, it starts to grate.

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The writing for the movie is a massive part of the problem but don’t be fooled by the impressive cast list, no-one’s putting in much effort here. You can’t be faulted for seeing names like Shelly Winters, Henry Fonda and Cesare Danova, and thinking the movie will be well acted, but it’s not. There’s so much wooden dialogue that it isn’t even amusing.

Hoping for something spectacular when the tentacled beastie is revealed? Don’t, the effects are pretty rubbish. Which is a shame as the build is solid and fleeting shots, filmed well, really build up anticipation. Action scenes are few are far between but when they do happen, they are often quite thrilling even if they’re brief.

Unfortunately, the movie ends in such a wet fart of a way that dragging yourself through the last 90+ minutes to get there just feels wrong. It is a film that massively overstays its welcome and lacks the campy fun factor that it should have focused on.


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  • The Final Score - 5/10
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