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John’s Horror Corner: Night of the Tentacles (2013), an obscene Faustian tale illustrating the tentacle-rich Lovecraftian consequences of ObamaCare

May 21, 2014

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MY CALL: This semi-art house, semi-perverse film is only for lovers of true indie horror. That said, this was well-done considering its shoestring budget. MOVIES LIKE Night of the Tentacles: Lo (2009) was another bare bones budgeted film that had a lot to say. Dagon (2001) is another tentacular horror love story. The Boogens (1981) and The Kindred (1987) provide some classic 80s tentacle movie monster fun. And Grabbers (2012) offers about as good a time as a ball of tentacles can deliver.

After suffering some serious heart complications, fantasy erotica artist David (Bath Salt Zombies, Easter Casket) strikes a deal with the Devil for a new heart. He didn’t turn to Medicaid or venture to Canada for cheaper solutions…nope. The Devil had just what he needed. And with that David’s heart is replaced by a tentacle monster in a wooden chest. Just one problem: the monster needs to be fed living flesh in order to survive. The monstrous heart is eloquently voiced by an Bill Nighy sound-alike.

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So, yeah…this is what the Devil looks like in this film.

Writer/director Dustin Mills (Bath Salt Zombies) clearly made an effort with this script. His writing is far from brilliant, but he definitely deserves credit for delivering far more than I’ve come to expect from the vast majority of direct-to-DVD horror. Theatrical devices like overt melodrama, narration and asides add an irregular flavor to this film. Whereas this flavor may please the art house crowd, some may find it over-the-top and distasteful.

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Speaking of distasteful… Is there a lot of sexuality and perversion? Yes. But I see it as being used more as an exploitative “device” than purely as a crutch to cover the film’s shortcomings. There’s masturbation, which seems to reveal our protagonist’s desperation, and nudity, which does not utilize the typical stripper-cast actresses. There are also several sex scenes with little to no nudity.

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Some of the acting in this is real crap (sorry, but I’m referring especially to Dustin Mills’ cameo) and the effects are about as cheap as they come. But considering this film had a budget of about $1500, I think I’ll let it slide. If you can make anything that entertains me for that cheap, then you’ve succeeded as a filmmaker. The closing action sequence is awful and fun and, for the few dollars left in the budget, they tried to do a lot with the gore.

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I should note that whereas this film is not nearly as deep or art house-ish as Lo (2009), the style is similar enough to warrant comparison.  Those who love true indie horror will likely enjoy this film. But just because you consider yourself an adventurous horror-goer, that doesn’t mean this is for you.

Night-of-the-tentacles-movie-Dustin-Mills-2 poster

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