Someone once told me, that it’s crucial to watch an utterly terrible film from time to time – it provides you with a different point of view the next time you spread your criticism. Following this brilliant advice, I occasionally turn myself into a cinematic masochist and rummage through hundreds of weird and low-rated movies. These uncommon journeys usually end up with some remarkable discoveries. Hence, I’d like to introduce you to “Octaman”, directed in 1971 by Harry Essex.
A group of scientists conduct research of a contaminated lake in Mexico. Their unprecedented findings suggest, that the studied region is inhabited by a genetically modified, strange mutation of an octopus. The strange creatures are only a beginning to a horrifying discovery of a much more dangerous monster, which treats the scientists as its enemies.
“Octaman” is definitely one of the most hilarious flicks from 70s I have watched so far. It follows the well-known patterns – a group of devoted scientists or scavengers encounter a horrendous creature, which terrorizes them, only to remain safe in its own habitat. What makes Harry Essex’s flick so extremely exceptional is the monster itself and its behavior or, more specifically, a nonsense in its behavior. The titular Octaman is a guy in a rubber costume, with tentacles so immobile, that the actor was forced to swing them around to actually make a punch (!). If I didn’t watch “Octaman” I would never know, that a genetically redesigned, humanoid octopus, could jab someone like a professional boxer. But I don’t want to remain groundless – check this scene below to see how this beauty shakes its body:
Octaman shows up every time one of his smaller, gummy friends is being caught and cut by the scientists – Essex is taking his time to fully exhibit the perfectly crafted, dull face of the monster and it doesn’t matter what time of day it is. Actually, there is an issue going on throughout the entire movie with perception of day and night – there were moments, when I lost it completely. When Octaman is not throwing his rubber tentacles in a random direction, grunting and panting in the meantime, we observe him slowly wandering around with no exact purpose or hiding in the bush.
On the other hand, there is the group of main characters a.k.a. scatterbrained scientists. Henry Essex managed to make a movie, where each of the character is only a part of the shapeless pulp – it’s hard to distinguish any particular personality in this bunch of people. It is amazing what ways this meaningless group finds to deal with poor Octaman, among which the most ludicrous seems to be pointing flashlights at him for good couple of minutes.
In the entire chaos, which is streamed straight into our heads, “Octaman” manages to bore in the first twenty minutes to make the first screening in the audience – only the toughest remain to witness the rest of the movie, which delivers pure fun. No matter how hard I tried to find anything particularly good about this flick – the only thing were the credits. Especially taking into consideration the final scene – “Octaman” left me with open jaw and huge WTF in my mind. And eyes swollen due to laughter.
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