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John’s Horror Corner: The Kindred (1987), tentacle monsters done right!

November 14, 2012

MY CALL:  I loved this movie since childhood, back when it mildly unnerved me around age 11.  Classically simple story, good deaths, a cool monster and serviceable effects leave this movie dying for a worthy DVD release.  Very satisfying 80s horror!  Every bit as good as I remember from 20 years ago.  [B]  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCH:   Slither (2006).

John’s geneticist mom (Kim Hunter; The Planet of the Apes movies) is on her death bed and demands that he go to her cabin and “burn the Anthony journals” and all of her research to “end the experiment” because “who knows what he will become.”  Who is Anthony?  His brother!?!

John (David Allen Brooks; Manhunter, Jack Frost 2) is also a researcher doing something with “rogue proteins called prions.”  He works in the same building as his mother and Dr. Lloyd.  He seeks Dr. Lloyd’s advice about “Anthony,” probably a mistake, and mentions cleaning up his mother’s experiments.  Dr. Lloyd is suspiciously interested…dun dun dunnnnnn.  Then Dr. Lloyd confronts mom.  He’s a bad guy who wants to finish her experiments, which he has just discovered to exist.

Dr. Lloyd (Rod Steiger; The Amityville Horror, Mars Attacks!) conducts weird experiments on skinless cats and gets other subjects (i.e., human brains) by shady means.  We find that his work results in the creation of ugly, slimy, blistery-oozy skinned mutants that happen to love to eat fresh, screaming human flesh.  The nasty gore effort is clearly already evident in the first 15 minutes.  Sadly, for whatever reason, we never see Dr. Lloyd’s mutants again.

Yet another molecular biologist/geneticist Melissa (Amanda Pays; Leviathan, The Flash) was always inspired by John’s mom’s work and joins John to the cabin after meeting him at her funeral.  She claims to be his mother’s biggest fan—because geneticists are known for the loyal fanbase.  She and John really hit it off, so well that you wouldn’t know John had a girlfriend.  Melissa turns out to be saucy trouble and she comes with her own intriguing secrets.

The house is nothing special.  His old bedroom has been transformed into an elaborate Frankensteinian alchemy lab and he finds some old recordings (a la Evil Dead).  His dog encounters a weird tentacle thing that is prehensile—poor dog.  This long, thin tentacle evidently probes for food.  The monster uses these tentacles to evidently impregnate a watermelon with a mass of slimy tentacles which later hatches and attacks one of John’s colleagues in her car by going all Evil Dead tree-rape-y on her; restraining her limbs and body and plunging tentacles into her orifices, down her throat and under her skin.  This little, slimy squid monster reminds me of the tentacular assault from Species.

Facehugging tentacle monsters…because isn’t that what happiness is all about?

This just…doesn’t look consensual.

So who’s Anthony?  We learn that Anthony is a “hybrid” of some sort, spliced with marine fish DNA.  It turns out mom had a lot of this little critters.  Anthony is awesomely ugly and we get to see quite a bit of him and his squidling little brothers.  There is also a “bonus creature” with a nifty transformation scene. The death scene at the end comes with a grossly clever revelation and disgusts much as does Slither.  There’s also an appropriate surprise at the end, which is action-packed as horror goes.

Aqua Melissa

Random fish lady.

Very satisfying 80s horror.  Every bit as good as I remember from 20 years ago.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    March 28, 2014 3:03 pm

    A better title would have been Deadly Holiday (how many deranged mass murders happen at Thanksgiving?). Consider it. An only child returns to childhood home to become a serial killer at his mothers urging. With a potential bride to be and tag along work companions whose only purpose it seems is to either seduce him or suffer at the hands of his genetically doomed relatives (weird uncle with tentacles), he sets out to find the elusive Anthony. Perhaps the high real estate prices in California prevent him from outright torching the family homestead and outbuildings which he has just inherited, the gifted researcher fails to search the cellar which obviously holds an olympic size wading pool of sludge as well as a rogues gallery of mutants restrained momentarily in glass jars. The motivation of the horribly mutated creatures (survival) was easier to understand when compared to the shape shifting amorous Piscine who was injecting herself with (tartar sauce?), the girlfriend who obviously had it out for mermaids, the awkward technician caught in a pointless love triangle, and some poor brunette who thought a watermelon made a good wedding anniversary gift. The most uncomfortable moment for me came when the wonderfully gilled coed researcher decides the best way to investigate the obviously aware mutant in a glass jar full of preservatives is to stick her face within tentacle striking distance. The ensuing struggle between the two aquatics ended with the mutant’s arm being severed. From then on the creatures increasingly carried the show to its conclusion. They were obviously prepared for the apocalypse in their survival cellar since all of their equipment was still running for five years without the pesky generator that supplied the rest of the house lying idle. I was howling with laughter as the severed tentacles of Anthony hosed down the final scenes with more volume of ichor than the previously mentioned pool of sludge. I am guessing they only shot that scene once.

  2. Victor De Leon permalink
    April 2, 2014 1:32 pm

    Good review. This flick is a blast. Loved Steiger in this!

    • johnleavengood permalink
      April 2, 2014 6:57 pm

      Solid gold. I remember seeing this when I was about 9 or 10. The tentacle attack in the car freaked me out…now I just laugh and laugh.

      • Victor De Leon permalink
        April 2, 2014 8:12 pm

        Ha! Me too! Classic stuff.

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  8. John’s Horror Corner: The Boneyard (1991), it’s not your average hulking, evil, mutant zombie poodle movie | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. John’s Old School Horror Corner: Without Warning (1980), a movie about a tall alien and his fleshy monster shurikens | Movies, Films & Flix
  10. John’s Old School Horror Corner: Ghosthouse (1988), the quintessential random B-movie | Movies, Films & Flix
  11. John’s Horror Corner: Night of the Tentacles (2013), an obscene Faustian tale illustrating the tentacle-rich Lovecraftian consequences of ObamaCare | Movies, Films & Flix
  12. John’s Horror Corner: Bio Slime (2010), a budgetless, sleazy, slimy tentacle monster movie that makes a valiant effort with its creature effects. | Movies, Films & Flix
  13. John’s Horror Corner: The Being (1983), a passable mutant monster creature feature for B-movie fans. | Movies, Films & Flix

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