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Tentacles/Reptilicus

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    Ian Jane
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  • Tentacles/Reptilicus



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: June 16th, 2015.
    Director: Ovidio G. Assonitis/Sidney Pink
    Cast: John Huston, Henry Fonda, Bent Mejding
    Year: 1977/1962
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movies:

    Shout! Factory pairs up two vintage monster movies originally releases by MGM and presents them on Blu-ray for the first time.

    Tentacles:

    Directed by none other than Ovidio G. Assonitis (credited as Oliver Hellman), this Jaws cash-in takes place at a serene coastal town on the shore of the Pacific Ocean in California. It's a nice, quiet place to live but soon enough, people around the town start turning up dead under some rather strange circumstances - a kid is yanked off a cliff to a watery grave and then a sailor is found all torn up and bloody.

    Sheriff Robards (Claude Akins) is killed in to investigate and as he starts to put together the pieces of this puzzle he ascertains that a giant octopus is behind the killings. While the Sheriff is doing his thing, a reporter named Ned Turner (John Huston) is nosing around because, well, he smells a story. His sister, Tillie (Shelley Winters), is foolish enough to let her son and his friend enter a sailing contest that just so happens to draw not only a decent amount of spectators, but our eight legged killing machine as well! The only one who seems to know what to do here is a marine biologist named Will Gleason (Bo Hopkins) but when his wife and sister-in-law fall prey to the beast, he decides to make it person - but what caused all of this in the first place? It's quite possible the efforts of a corrupt business man (Henry Fonda) in cahoots of a building project might have had something to do with it…

    This is a pretty brainless attempt to get in on some of that sweet Jaws box office gold that had bit struck about two years prior but it's a fun watch. This is definitely one of those movies you need to turn off your brain to enjoy because it seems to take offense to anything even remotely close to logic or common sense but don't let that dissuade you. The bad effects and goofy dialogue only add to the mix, while seeing former A-listers like John Huston Henry Fonda and Shelly Winters slumming it here gives everything a slightly odd feel. Claude Akins and Bo Hopkin obviously pop up too and do about as good as job as anyone could realistically expect given what they had to work with.

    The highlights are the octopus attack scenes in which a regular sized octopus takes on a barrage of… toy cars and boats and miniature stuff.

    Note that this is the longer Italian cut of the movie, which is roughly twelve minutes longer than the trimmed down US version.

    Reptilicus:

    The second feature begins when a man named Svend Viltorft (Bent Mejding) and his team is in the middle of a drilling operation somewhere in the remote regions of Scandinavia. The operation stops when their work uncovers what's left of what resident scientist, Martens (Asbjorn Andersen) and Dalby (Poul Wildaker), believe to be some sort of prehistoric monster! Our science wizards take the remains back to their base of operations in Copenhagen for further study but as the monster starts to thaw, the good people of Denmark find they have a problem on their hands.

    See, this reptilian monster is somehow able to regenerate once it thaws, and as it regenerates it decides to do what all giant monsters do in situations like this - go on a rampage and commit random acts of mass destruction! As the regeneration finishes up, things look bad for the Danes because the creature develops the ability to fly and shoot green acid out of its mouth. Thankfully an American military guy is hanging around with a pretty open schedule - but will even he and his troops have what it takes to destroy the monster?

    Reptilicus is about on par with Tentacles in terms of the 'good writing/adhering to logic' department but it offers up an interesting chance to see a monster movie done Danish style. The acting is fairly atrocious across the board, really nobody here is any good and the obvious dubbing probably didn't help anything, but the monster itself is a lot of fun to watch and he really does go on one seriously cool rampage. Yes, it's low budget and yes, that low budget is at times painfully obvious, but there's some nice creativity on display here that makes the whole thing sort of work even when it shouldn't. The monster is obviously a puppet of some sort and the buildings that it destroys clearly miniatures but that doesn't stop the filmmakers from giving their all and for that reason alone, Reptilicus is worth seeing. Damn it, they tried… they tried really hard. The least you can do is watch it.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Tentacles is presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 while Reptilicus, using the same encoding format, is framed at 1.66.1. Both films are quite significantly improved over past DVD releases and boast much nicer, more accurate looking colors and stronger black levels. Detail is better in Tentacles than Reptilicus but both movies show solid detail, texture and depth throughout. There is some minor print damage here and there but nothing too serious while compression artifacts and noise reduction are never an issue.

    The DTS-HD Mono tracks are also problem free. The upgrade in quality here isn't as obvious as it is with the video portion of the presentation but it's there. Range and depth are fine for older single channel mixes and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion. Optional English subtitles are provided for each movie.

    Extras are slim, limited to a trailer, a radio spot and a still gallery for each movie. Menus and chapter stops are also included.

    The Final Word:

    Shout! Factory offers up two deliriously dopey monster movies in solid HD presentations and if it's light on extras, well, so be it. The movies themselves a lot of fun and this is a double feature worth upgrading on.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





















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