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IMDB Rating: 3.5/10 from 14 votes
Release: 18 May 1977 (Netherlands) /


Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Director: Jerome Max,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Several people disappear from and at the sea. Their bodies are found gnawed to the skeleton, even the marrow is missing. The scientists have no idea which animal could do such things. Dr. Turner begins to suspect that the company which builds a tunnel beneath the bay might have poisoned the environment and caused an octopus to mutate to giant dimensions. Just at the same time a great sailing regatta with many children is started - among them Turner's nephew Tommy. Written by Tom Zoerner <>

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Critic Reviews

When people start disappearing in a small seaside resort town, Ned Turner (John Huston), a newspaper reporter, becomes suspicious that is has something to do with an underwater construction project being conducted by Trojan, a company run by Mr. Whitehead (Henry Fonda). As Turner digs deeper into the mysterious events, his suspicions that something more sinister is responsible begin to grow. These suspicions are supported by marine expert Will Gleason (Bo Hopkins).

The above sounds much more appealing than it has any right to. This is one of the worst films I've ever seen, and I like Ed Wood! Tentacles is one of the many films that were made in the wake of Jaws that tried to capitalize on Jaws' incredible success. Unfortunately, almost everything about the film is completely incompetent. There are only two minor saving graces that caused me to give this film a "high" rating of 2 out of 10. One, there are some quality actors involved--Huston, Fonda, Hopkins, and Shelley Winters have all done fantastic work in other films, and two, there are a couple moments where the incompetence achieves a level of sublime ridiculousness so that Tentacles becomes "so bad it's good". However, don't put too much weight on either of those "pros", as the better performances (Huston and Hopkins) can't even begin to save this film and you have to sit through a tortuous, boring hour to get to a point where the film starts being more funny than painful.

There are a couple reasons you might want to watch this film. If you're a completist with respect to a member of the cast or crew, you'll have to watch, and this will likely be the lowlight of their career for you (at least no other film will "top" it, even if others can match it). Also, if you're a horror film completist (as I am), you'll want to grin and bear it once. Another good reason to watch it is as a lesson in how not to make a film, from every technical aspect. The script is horrible and at times completely incoherent. It may also set a record for the largest number of abandoned threads. The director appears to have slept through most of the shoots. The composer scores every scene inappropriately, and to top it off, one of the primary instruments is a harpsichord. The score basically sounds like random 70s porno music. The editor seems to think that his job involves not leaving any footage unused.

At about the hour mark, the director decides to employ a lot of freeze frames during a "high tension" sequence. It's also accompanied by bizarre non-sequitur "jokes" told by a guy in an Uncle Sam outfit while Shelley Winters desperately tries to reach two other characters on a walkie talkie, only we can't hear anything she says--we just see her mouth moving while we hear Uncle Sam's performance art. This is where the film finally becomes unintentionally funny. It makes little sense in the context of the film, although that seems to be a leitmotif.

Tentacles contains the most boring action/suspense sequences I think I've ever witnessed. There wasn't one for which my attention didn't drift. I started thinking about things like mowing the lawn, cleaning out the refrigerator, and so on. It's difficult to believe that any of the crew had a career after this, but amazingly, most of them did.

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