Friday, June 12, 2015

Tentacles and Reptilicus (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go In the Water... TIMES TWO!

What a perfectly strange pairing. Though they do have a somewhat common theme in that they involve rather large, underwater/water traveling monsters, they couldn’t be more different. They span the globe; Tentacles filmed in Italy and Reptilicus filmed in Denmark (with dubbing and heavy editing in the US). And somehow… this double feature works completely. It feels natural and it is the natural extension of the creature feature/nature attacks double features we’ve been seeing from Scream Factory of late. Tentacles is no Jaws. Reptilicus is no Godzilla. Together… they are gigantic and fishy and strange but some of you just love 'em.


From director Ovidio G. Assonitis, Egyptian responsible for some truly special movies including Beyond the Door, Piranha II, The Curse and Curse II as well as Beyond the Door III (which is a total cluster fuck) comes something of an ordinary film. It predates Piranha II by several years and is ultimately just as bad. That’s not say it is without merit, but it truly comes off as a knock off of Jaws. This isn’t the first time Assonitis would delve into the copycat arena. His premiere and greatest work, Beyond the Door, is a dead ringer for The Exorcist. While Assonitis is Egyptian, his work is identified with the studios for which he worked, Italian studios and in that the copying of the great films of Hollywood became an art form.

The music is gorgeous and is well loved among horror fans though it is associated more readily with Concorde Affaire ’79. Stelvio Cirpiani is a true master composer and this is one of his finest works. I celebrate all versions.

As a whole the movie is slow. It is action light with some excellent character actors that have distinct faces and charm. What Tentacles lacks is a prominent monster. What worked for Jaws in the hiding of the big bad fish, doesn’t work as well when surrounded by subpar dialogue and generic cinematography.

Bonus Features

Theatrical Trailer
Photo Gallery
Radio Spot

All of that being said, you’d think that I wouldn’t exactly recommend Tentacles. I believe there is an audience that will appreciate it. They’re the same rabble that love Cruel Jaws and Great White. The folks who love the copycat Italian films (some to the point of plagiarism). It’s extra light but it’s a handsome transfer.

From Scream Factory

It's angry. It's hungry. It's extremely well-armed and it's descending on a small seaside town to sample the local cuisine! John Huston, Shelley Winters, Bo Hopkins and Henry Fonda do all they can to keep a giant marine menace from turning their sleepy village into a one-stop snack-shop in this fast-paced thriller! Directed by cult director/producer Ovidio G. Assonitis (Beyond The Door, The Visitor, The Curse), Tentacles is a menacing jolt-a-thon that'll grip you with relentless terror and never let go!


And then there’s Reptilicus. This was my first encounter with the strange leviathan like water monster. I love the look of the creature, but unfortunately couldn’t get into the movie. I suppose that’s not surprising given its sorted history. Reptilicus started out as a Danish production. AIP found it completely unsusable and had it re-edited into something, dubbed and sort of salvaged. Chock this one up to the great monster movies of the 1950’s. It came out in 1961 has two separate directors, Poul Bang and Sidney W. Pink.

I enjoy the origin story involving the regenerative property of a frozen reptile foot, but beyond that the movie turns generic. It’s fun for the kids. It’s not scary. It is cheesy and that in turn can make it fun for some audiences. Still… that’s one Hell of a poster/cover art.

It’s a nice upgrade in terms of transfer, extra light and honestly I wouldn’t expect otherwise given the substance of the movie. It’s movies like Reptilicus that make me sound like a horrible movie snob.

Bonus Features

Theatrical Trailer
Photo Gallery

From Scream Factory:

Discover the true meaning of survival of the fittest, as a terrifying creature from the past brings the future to its knees! Packed with thrills, chills and prehistoric spills, Reptilicus proves that "if cats have nine lives, monsters have even more" (Citizen News)! Directed by Sidney W. Pink (writer and producer of the cult films The Angry Red Planet, Pyro), Reptilicus is a spine-chilling creature feature about a cold-blooded 90-foot killer whose time has come... again

This is a double shot of watery fun perfect for the summer time blues (or blus) Enjoy a couple monster movies and go to the beach. Support your local tourism board and Scream Factory.

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