Tentacles, a 1977 Italian-US co-production, is one of those movies that you approach believing it can’t possibly be as bad as its reputation suggests. Sadly, I have to report that it really is that bad. It’s not just bad, it’s bad in a not very interesting way.
Which is a pity - a movie about a giant killer octopus, with a cast headed by Shelley Winters and John Huston, should have had at least some potential for camp fun. It’s not like Shelley Winters and John Huston weren’t capable of outrageous over-acting. But this time their hearts just weren’t in it. Even the bizarreness of John Huston (at age 71) playing Shelley Winters’ kid brother doesn’t add the right touch of entertaining silliness.
The plot involves an evil corporation headed by Henry Fonda which is using high-frequency sound as part of a project to build an underwater tunnel. Unfortunately high-frequency sound, as everyone knows, turns otherwise peaceable giant octopi into savage killers of the deep. Luckily there’s a marine biologist on hand with couple of trained killer whales to save the day. You can see what I mean about the potential for high camp silliness. The movie certainly manages to be silly, but the expected fun just doesn’t happen.
Still, any movie with giant cephalopods can’t be all bad, and if you’re in the right mood there’s some amusement to be had.