Wednesday, June 17, 2015

TENTACLES / REPTILICUS DOUBLE FEATURE

TENTACLES / REPTILICUS DOUBLE FEATURE 

Label: Scream Factory
Rating: PG
Audio: English DTS-HD MA Stereo, English DTS-HD MA Mono
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1), 1080p HD Widescreen (1.66:1)
Director: Ovidio G. Assonitis, Sidney W. Pink
Cast: John Huston, Claude Akins, Henry Fonda, Bo Hopkins, Shelley Winters, Delia Boccardo, Ann Smyrner, Bent Mejding, Asbjørn Andersen, Carl Ottosen, Mimi Heinrich, Povl Wøldike

TENTACLES (1976)
The first half of this schlock double feature is a Jaws rip-off from Italian director Ovidio G. Assonitis who also brought us the Exorcist knock-off Beyond the Door just a few years earlier in addition to writing the truly insane movie The Visitor (1979). We have a giant tentacled threat - an octopus - threatening a oceanfront resort community, the terror begins with the snatching a baby right out of a stroller by the creature, who comes right up to the shoreline and reaches at least ten-foot out of the water to snatch that kid. It's a great start, I am not sure why but I love it when horror films kill the kids, maybe I am demented. I just love the way it says to the viewer that anything could happen after this, we just killed a kid! 

As Jaw rip-offs go this one doesn't really ape the original all that much to be honest, but is clearly inspired by the summer film to end all summer films without a doubt, and what a cast! We have John Huston, Shelley Winters, Bo Hopkins, and Henry Fonda rounding out the cast, but Huston, Fonda and Winters are just barely in the movie, they're pretty wasted. Fonda is a millionaire building tunnel under the water, while Huston is a reporter investigating the construction and rash of deaths that seem to be related, and Bo Hopkins -- who gets plenty of screen time -- appears as a marine expert with a pair of trained killer whales at his disposal. 

Unfortunately this one does not go for a bunch of cheap thrills and is pretty restrained for the most part, the attacks by the octopus are pretty tame and mostly happen just off screen, my favorite being a tourist who is snatched by the octopus while swimming in a cove, his carcass carried off by the octopus with the feet comically protruding above the surface of the water while his wife screams in horror, unfortunately we don't get more goofiness of this nature but there are still plenty of cheap effects to enjoy, complete with stock footage, poor practical effects and the prerequisite use of miniature boats, which never looks good.  

Bo Hopkins is some sort of killer whale-whisperer who talks the marine mammals into battling the murderous octopus at the end of the film, but not before the octopus interrupts a catamaran race endangering the youth to the horror of parents who can only stand on the beach and scream helplessly. 

It's not a great movie but it is an entertaining creature feature with all the ecological warnings you might expect from a film of this type, but unfortunately it never goes full schlock and is a bit overlong at 100 minutes. Lovers of creature features will most likely enjoy this one though, with a strangely star-studded cast, a weird and wonderful score, and a pair of killer whales fighting a giant octopus are the highlights of this one.  

REPTILICUS (1957) 
The b-side to this b-movie double-feature is a very schlocky creature movie that is straight-up awful -- even by bad movie standards -- but it might be sort of entertaining to you if you watched a lot of the monster movie matinees on the weekends as a kid, which I did and even then I found this to be a bit of a slog to get through at first, and then I just embraced how awful it was and went with it. 

The simple premise goes that copper miners have unearthed a strange chunk of flesh from deep beneath the surface of the earth after it got caught up on a drill bit. The chunk of meat is brought to a museum for study but once it thaws it begins to regenerate, eventually evolving into a 40 foot monster which sets off on a rampage destroying the surrounding area and spewing a strange green substance from it's toothsome mouth.

I love a cheap monster movie but this one is REALLY CHEAP, chock full of awful puppetry, forced perspective and bad miniature models of cities and vehicles being destroyed by the truly goofy looking creature. On top of the cheap special effects you will have to endure some awful acting and eye-rolling dialogue which is further enhanced by the English-dubbing, this is a Danish movie that's been dubbed, for that added level of bad movie magic. 

Tentacles is a pretty decent watch and a lot of fun, such a strange (and wasted) cast, a weird score and some Orca on Octopus violence that you won't son forget. The b-side to this c-grade double feature is Reptilicus, a truly awful monster movie, and while some might find some enjoyment in just how inept it can be I think you would have to be a hardcore bad movie connoisseur to suffer through it. 2/5

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