When the biggest toothiest creature of the sea already has its own franchise, it’s time to let the eight-legged monster have a crack at cinematic glory! Ovidio Assonitis delivers the Jaws knockoff Tentacles slipping the slimy eight-legged mollusk onto the screen with delightful and often unintentionally hilarious results. Now in its own solo release from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Tentacles can suction itself to your screen with the same solid transfer and dodgy but workable audio. Sadly no real bonus features of note. I think this movie is a hoot but it’s definitely for a specific target audience For Fans Only
Something is stalking the peaceful seaside resort community of Solana Beach. In a matter of days a child, an old man, and numerous animals have gone missing only for their bodies to wash ashore completely destroyed. Sheriff Robards (Claude Akins) is completely bewildered. Big-shot ace reporter Net Turner (John Huston) thinks the underwater experiments performed by rich industrialist Whitehead (Henry Fonda) are to blame. But when more people end up dead, it’s clear a beast the likes of which no one has ever seen and lived is at fault. Now it’s up to famed marine biologist Will Gleason (Bo Hopkins) to hunt and kill the creature with his team of trained Orcas!
Scream Factory’s Tentacles/Reptilicus double feature set was one of the first discs I reviewed for High-Def Digest in the long, long ago age of 2015. In that time, the double feature set has gone out of print and Reptilicus helped relaunch Mystery Science Theater 3000. I reviewed Tentacles very favorably since cheesy monster movies like this are my bread and butter and watching the film again after years away from it, it’s still a delightful masterpiece of cliches. It’s also an Italian production so it carries with it its own set of storytelling oddities, leaps in logic, and a delightfully bizarre soundtrack!
As I’ve already punched in a pretty lengthy review for Tentacles I’ll refer you back to my overwritten and enthusiastic review.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Tentacles slips onto Blu-ray again thanks to Kino Lober Studio Classics in a single-disc release. Pressed on a Region A BD-50 disc, the disc is housed in a standard case with a beautiful o-card slipcover and alternate reversible insert artwork. The disc loads to KLSC’s standard static-image main menu with basic menu and the film’s jangly soundtrack playing in the background.
In a real pisser, I can’t find my copy of Tentacles/Reptilicus for direct comparison - but thankfully I kept my original screencaps on file. After running through the film again, this looks to be the exact same transfer, just with a better encoding and a nice high bitrate. The image still displays all sorts of speckling, but that’s the worst of the wear and tear. It’s still a bit too bright with some hot whites, but black levels are solid and night shots don’t suffer from any severe crush problems. Colors are bold giving primaries plenty of attention. The main issue for this transfer is when the film decides to actually show our octo-fiend, it’s a combination of scale models, rubber props, and rough and out-of-focus stock footage and the shots just don't match and vary in quality. Some of the later attack sequences just don’t line up and can look especially silly - but then that’s all part of the charm for a movie like this one!
Again it sounds as though the same decent but very “Italian” DTS-HD MA 2.0 track was used for this release of Tentacles. Dialog is relatively clean and clear but often can sound as if it was recorded in a can. You don’t have the dialog sync issues many expect of an Italian genre picture, but it’s not 100% organic sounding either. Scoring by Stelvio Cipriani is still sharp as ever and can dominate the track at times. Not sure who's idea it was to have a children’s slide whistle for the primary instrument, but it does create tension! Sound effects work well but the track doesn’t offer a lot of space and atmosphere. All around an effective track that gets the job done.
Sure, Tentacles isn’t the greatest movie ever made, and it’s certainly not the best of the Jaws ripoffs, but it’s a fun slice of aqua-carnage served up gorgonzola style. Thanks to some assured direction and a vastly over-qualified cast of actors, the film works where it otherwise would fail. Slip on your wetsuit and have a fun time. Folks not wanting to pay that crazy OOP price tag for Scream Factory’s double feature release can save some coin and pick up Tentacles from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. The A/V presentation is pretty much identical without any discernible restoration work and nothing of note in the bonus features package. That said, kudos to KLSC for going all out with the artwork! If you’ve been saving shelf space for this one, it’s a worthwhile pickup at this price point. For Fans Only