Okay, I’ll admit I’m cheating slightly here because I already own the DVD of the 1977 octopus opus, Tentacles. But I haven’t watched it yet, so it still totally counts as a Sham Shocktober movie, right? Right!
Oh, so many reasons to watch Tentacles... not least of which is the presence of Shelley Winters, playing the wonderfully named Tillie Turner. She was such a good swimmer in The Poseidon Adventure (well, until she drowned) that I feel sure I’m in for some stunning aquarobics here as Tillie battles the many-tentacled menace, armed only with a nose-peg and verruca sock.
Then there’s the film’s preponderance of hilarious foreign titles. Yes, “tentacles” is a pretty funny word in English, but just you wait till you see it in Italian (Tentacoli!), French (Tentacules – so classy), Polish (Macki!), Finnish (Lonkerot!) and Norwegian (Blekksprut!). But my favourite has to be the German title, Der Polyp, which isn’t, of course, a direct translation of the word tentacles, but instead refers to the film’s marauding creature – or, as we call it, Shelley Winters.
So what’s holding me back from watching Tentacles? I’ll tell you – it’s the violence. Not the chewed-up humans; I can handle that. It’s the reports that the climax of the film features puppetty killer whales attacking and maiming some not-so-puppetty octopuses. Killing living things for the sake of a monster movie is just not cool, and it’s the one thing I’m squeamish about when it comes to exploitation cinema. Bad killer whale puppets... Go to your rooms!