Friday, June 9, 2017

Tentacles, Jaws with Eight Legs

"An animal disturbed by man's stupidity." This quote taken directly out of 1977's "Tentacles." In 2017, our companions on the planet Earth are used to human stupidity, but in was enough to drive a sane and cerebral giant octopus totally schizoid.  Our epic stars Bo Hopkins, Henry Fonda, Shelley Winters, Claude Akins, and John Huston.  Enough said about the A-list cast, as their portrayals are largely inconsequential to the plot.  I will admit that Shelley Winters elongated scene in which she sports a sombrero may scar anyone viewing this film.
A giant eight-legged beast goes berserk.  It grabs a baby in a stroller off a levee, and proceeds to do the same to a one-legged boat captain.  What drove this monster mad?  Radio frequencies...don't ask. Diver and orca trainer, Will (Hopkins) sends two other divers into the inky depths for answers. Both are eaten.  Now Will brings his really hot wife (Delia Boccardo) to town so they can see the carnage for themselves.  Very sad, Will's sultry bride will endure the most tortuous death of the film at the hands, all eight, of the octopus.
As the tentacled menace keeps feeding (the death count towers over the one in "Jaws"), Will now has revenge on his mind.  Uh oh, the very popular Solana Beach Yacht Race (sailboat race, actually) is at hand.  As hundreds of youths in boats hit the open ocean, Will enacts a crazy plan to kill his nemesis. What is Will's ambitious strategy to kill the monster?  Does man's inhumanity to the noble creatures of the sea serve as a legitimate motivation for turning beach-goers into a buffet?  Did this film so terrify Detroit hockey fans causing them to go on a genocide against octopus?
After "Jaws" hit the silver screen in 1975, rip-offs soon followed.  "Orca," "Barracuda," and "Tentacles" were the three most notable.  Other than the A-listers in our film, "Tentacles" has the feel of an Italian exploitation flick.  In 1977, this Shelley Winters masterpiece was ignored in the theaters but did reasonably well at drive-ins.  In 2017, "Tentacles" has aged well and is available on YouTube.


  1. Shelley Winters in a sombrero? Did she do tequila body shots by any chance? Wow, Christopher. That did scar me for life. This sounds like campy good fun and I saw it years ago. I wonder if Henry Fonda and John Huston lost a bet? Great review.

  2. Actually, I watched the film on youtube a few days back for research (I'm a writer & watch old films for reference) for mannerism, movement and behavior. Campy indeed, wasn't too crazy with Shelley Winters either, but at least the rest of the story had some merit.