Tentacles (1977)


Produced & Directed by: Ovidio G. Assonitis

Written by: Steven W. Carabatsos, Tito Carpi, Jerome Max & Sonia Molteni


John Huston .... Ned Turner
Shelley Winters .... Tillie Turner
Bo Hopkins .... Will Gleason
Henry Fonda .... Mr. Whitehead, President of Trojan Construction
Delia Boccardo .... Vicky Gleason
Cesare Danova .... John Corey
Alan Boyd .... Mike
Sherry Buchanan .... Judy
Franco Diogene .... Chuck
Marc Fiorini .... Don

Release Dates: Theatrical: February 25, 1977 (Italy); March 17, 1977 (Germany); June 10, 1977 (Finland); June 11, 1977 (Japan); June 15, 1977 (USA)



Something in the ocean at Ocean Beach in California is pulling people down and being gnawed to the bone but people can't figure out what it is.
Some people thinks that it might be a shark but a researcher and whale trainer named Will Gleason (Bo Hopkins) discovers that it's something much more powerful and finds out that it's a gigantic octopus as many tourists are in danger since a yacht race is about to occur.
A scientist named Dr. Ned Turner (John Huston) wonders what could have triggered this octopus to become large and to kill as he suspects that
the company which builds a tunnel beneath the bay might have poisoned the environment.


The storyline starts to look very cheesy as we spot a mother with her baby having lunch near a seaside and then she walks over to see her friend who drove by to talk to her and it's quite a bit away from her baby which shows that she is not very bright to have her child a bit of a distance away. There's then a cheesy camera shot in the water staring at this baby in which this was supposed to look creepy but barely passes in order to make us think that. However it does seem suspenseful when the mother is talking to her friend and then a camera shot on the baby along with vehicles driving by making you wonder if something will happen here as it will boggle you. The discussions here looked terribly overly dubbed in which makes stuff here look very stale.
Later in the story what looked slightly cheesy but fairly creepy is that there's some people fishing and we spot a head in the water and suddenly we see the results of this person which doesn't look pretty and fairly shocking to spot this which has a nice pointer to the horror story here.
Perfect night shots at a pier when people try to discuss on what is happening in their local seaside area in which brings the nice mysteriousness to the story but still alot of the sound and discussions seem overly dubbed like.
The moments look good and dark when a crater is brought to the bottom of the sea with two scuba divers going on a search along with great camera shots on the two of them which keeps you in suspense as we know something deadly will happen sooner or later here. It looked nicely done. A perfect deadly shot on an octopus spraying ink out in a cave to one of the divers and attacking as well as perfect action on the other one demanding to pull up the crate as well as spotting this octopus attacking this object with him inside of it. Perfect close up shots on this which helped make this moment seem terrifying.
There's some cheesy comedic moments with a mother named Tillie Turner having a discussion with her son and giving in on booking a spot for the sailboat race in which the writing seemed a bit silly here and too slapstick.
One of the best scary scene's is when a group of people go out on their boat and one of them happens to be one of the main characters named Vicky Gleason and then we spot a perfect bubbly shot on the ocean with the octopus crashing into the boat with perfect suspenseful shots on it being torn to bits as well as the water washing in. Also great struggling situations on Vicky in the water and the octopus leaping towards her which is a very memeorable moment here for anyone who has seen this flick.
There's more slapstick and amateurish writing with a burly man having a discussion with his friends and then going in the water for a swim and we spot the octopus watching in which the film teases you a bit with a camera shot zooming in on this fellow only to be teased by his friend catching him by surprise as this is often the case before the real terror starts to happen here. There's some good shots on someone in her boat when she realises her friends have disappeared and spots someone in the water with their feet up which looked oddly spooky. Also great suspenseful shots on the octopus crashing against this boat.
Alot of nice bright shots on everyone going in the water with their sailboats as well as great far away shots on them sailing away which was done in great taste here. Also a nice cheesy shot on the head of the octopus charging towards these boats. However when we spot people being knocked down from them it doesn't look as intense like it should've been. However there was a bit of excitement here and there. We have a nice dark look of the octopus in the ocean going beneath boats to attack it's prey.
There's a nice little discussion with one of the main people named Will Gleason talking to his pet killer whales on snuffing this octopus as this seemed well focued as well as good and serious on how all of this was written in. It seemed to be necessary as well to put in for the plot.
There's a perfect moment that will keep you in suspense when someone is trapped by rocks and this octopus is charging forward in which makes you wonder if he will escape in time or not as this was nicely put in.
Great shots on the killer whale's attacking this octopus which was another memorable moment to the viewers who watched this flick which looked good and powerful.
Bottom line: As a child when I was around 7 or 8 years of age my older cousins and I were at my grandma's house watching TV and this movie was being shown. I did not like horror films at all then, so I wasn't paying too much attention. I did watch Jaws shortly thereafter though and kids at my school thought of this movie as a Jaws octopus.
Many movies were trying to imitate that film of course (but done very badly for the most part) due to it's success on the big screen at the time and what a ripoff this one was now that I have re-watched it and I don't find this as scary as when I thought back as a child.
This was a film shot both in the areas of Italy and California with many Italian locals too.
There's many low production values and watch it at your own risk.
Thankfully a sequel never arose.

The acting is very average for the main character's but most of all terrible for the rest but let's take a look here.... John Huston (Ned Turner) seemed to do his job quite well with his business like attitude and strong behavior. He speaks out not too badly with his speach as he was probably one the best out of the whole cast here. He drew a good witty behavior in some spots of the film apart from acting serious. He was failry okay whenever he acted assertive in certain situations. All in all he was okay but not terrific.
Shelley Winters (Tillie Turner) seems way too comedic in her role for a film like this. I didn't find her funny at all and seemed like a bit of a fruitcake. However she does well by acting lightheaded as well as her emotional and worried behavior later on in the film which shines off nicely. So she was half okay and half lacking. She looked a bit too old to portray a mother of a child and seemed old enough to be a grandmother.
Bo Hopkins (Will Gleason) tries to contribute his part as much as he can in this film and seems to do fairly okay but with the cheesy lines it's very hard since he is playing the main man at trying to put a stop to the octopus. He seems okay with his serious and gruff behavior but sometimes seemed quite wooden with his speaking and seemed like a line reader alot of the times here. However quarter way through when he talks to his killer whales he shows some nice emotions. He is a passable actor but seems rusty alot of the times with certain moments with what I've seen him in.
Henry Fonda (Mr. Whitehead, President of Trojan Construction) was right on with his looks to potray the role he had but yet seemed a little too stiff with whatever he does in the film but had a perfect still and serious expression on his face. He does do his job by having a no nonsense attitude which looked clear here. It's just that he didn't seem to have it in him to pull off his character better than what he should have here.
Italian actress Delia Boccardo (Vicky Gleason) worked really hard in her part her voice wasn't overdubbed as she shows her true talents.
She has a good stern type of behavior in certain spots of the film which comes off sharply as well she shows a perfect freaked out expression and screaming when the terror strikes her which looked highly intense and energised here. I found her to be a worthy character actress and the best performer here. She stands out the most in this flick indeed.

A corpse of a man bobs out of the water eyes gouged and lots of his flesh torn off.

Italian composer Stelvio Cipriani has been successful composing music for many other films of this genre but really sucks at this one with his electric piano organ playing which does not sound the least bit scary. However there are some good deep tack piano type pounding when two people are scubadivibng searching for something adding some good suspense so I will give this person credit for doing that. Also there's great high pitched trumpet playing and drum beatings for when this octopus is attacking someone which works in well. We have some uplifting music during the sail racing contest with trumpet pl,aying and other 70's types of sounds as this seems to work in not too shabbily. Plus there's some sharp sounds when the final showdown happens as this sounded pretty creepy indeed.

[Tilly Turner says that she'd like to join her two boys in a sailboat race]
Little boy: Then we'd need a tornado to move the boat!

Ned Turner: Will, I've herad the suckers on a tentacles are like the claws on a tiger.
Will Gleason: Compared to suckers on a tentacle, claws are nothing Mr. Turner.