WRITER: Harry Essex
DIRECTOR: Harry Essex
STARRING: Pier Angeli as Susan Lowry
Kerwin Mathews as Dr. Rick Torres
Jeff Morrow as Dr. John Willard
David Essex as The Indian
Jerome Guardino as Johnny Caruso
Buck Kartalian as Raul
The Octaman as HIMSELF!!
QUICK CUT: A mother tries to retrieve her children that keep being kidnapped by wicked scientists.
Doctor Torres - An adventure scientist in the same vein as Indiana Jones, or so I think he wishes. He’s more interested in scientific discovery and helping the world.
Johnny Caruso - The money behind the expedition, and he is more interested in making a buck by opening a sideshow with any freaky mutants.
Susan - A young woman along for the ride, who in typical 70s fashion doesn’t get much further beyond love interest or creature luggage, but she manages a few standout moments.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! April continues, and this time out, we are taking a look at a movie you MIGHT have heard a lot about recently. I've been meaning to do Octaman for ages, and when I saw RiffTrax had it on its schedule for April, well, I knew I had to get in on it now, before they did. I like to avoid movies MST3K and friends do, so I wanted to get this one done. So here we are!
The movie opens up with some voiceover and stock footage, trying to sell us on scientists as a 'new breed of adventuruer'. Aww, it's cute you think so. But it also sets up that our characters are visiting a 'primitive' fishing village, where we get a nice parable about atomic testing.
We meet Doc Torres as he dictates his findings, that even here, tides and currents have carried radiation into the food supply, and affected the people.
But then things get interesting when someone brings along a creature that is sure to interest Rick and Susan...and uh, it's just a tiny (fake) octopus. What's the big deal? This discovery would be more impressive IF IT MOVED.
Half the cast decides to make a supply run, for their final days at the camp, since they've done all they can. While they're gone, those who remained behind find another baby squidipus.
But this time, momma Octaman comes to take her kid home when it calls up homesick. The cerature grabs the scientist and strangles him good in a bearhug. ...Squidhug? Either way, it suckers.
Torres heads to his colleague Doctor Willard to show him their other specimen, and explain that its cells bear all the resemblence to a human cell. Uhh...
Eventually this leads to Johnny Caruso, who wants to fund further research into the manbearsquid, but not for SCIENCE! but because he wants to be the next PT Barnum and a fishman would bring in the rubes.
They head back to base camp, after seeing some stock footage along the way, and are surprised when no one comes as they honk their horns. They find Raoul dead, and the camp abandoned, slowly picking up the few remaining guys around.
Fortunately, one of the locals just so happens to have heard rumours of these creatures, and even has a drawing. Not to mention his father was supposedly killed by the Octamom.
After some of the local canon fodder gets killed, we head back to camp where the characters with actual names are chilling. And look, I'm gonna give this movie credit on one thing, getting the "music to sooth the savage BREAST" correct.
People get eerie feelings that they are being watched, hearing whispers in the woods, and Torres and Davido bop on down to the lake, but can't see shit. I question how the monster could suddenly duck out of sight in ankle deep water...
Later, they're chilling at the camp, moaning about the affects of radiation, and whoa now, slow your roll movie, no need to get THIS heavy handed in my silly monster movie.
Fortunately, during the night, Octaman comes along to surprise one of the crew, but he manages to call out for help. One of them comes along and gets smacked around and killed, but Johnny escapes to whine another day.
They help Johnny recover, and he tells them what happened as best he can, but he never saw the creature that attacked him. They do notice that their latest specimen has been stolen.
So here's a wild idea guys, STOP TAKING THE OCTAMOM'S BABIES.
That night, the Octamom returns to try and get Johnny again. Dude KNOWS this guy wants to put him in a tank on display, I think.
Susan lays on the horn to both try and scare the creature away, and to try and call for help. The latter part of the plan works, with several of the team running up with guns, and scare off the momster.
Davido finds tracks, and they give chase. This is their last, best chance to try and capture the creature, for science …or maybe profit, who knows at this point?
A few of them pile into a rowboat and go looking on the lake, and uh, this thing has been roundly kicking your asses on LAND. You sure you wanna go try and catch it in its element??
We spend a LOT of time rowing around the lake, and Susan and Johnny sitting around doing nothing at the RV. This is a really slow second act. At least, until Octaman shows up again to smack Johnny in the face.
Susan throws a lantern on the ground, starting a fire, and I sure hope it's not drought season, geeze!
Octaman grabs her and carries her off because she's a little firebug, is what she is! I'd punish her for that stunt too!
He tries to carry Susan off, but gets surrounded by the hoomans, and Torres notices he flinches when a flashlight shines in his eyes.
I feel ya, Octadude. I too flinch and flail wildly when people shine lights in my face, ruining my night vision!
Steve keeps the critter distracted with the light, until the creature eventually puts the girl down. Pretty much to free its hands to throw down with these guys.
Torres shows up with a can of gasoline, and pours it out around the creature, lighting it up, and making a LOT of light to keep it distracted.
Now. During this, as Torres leaps in and grabs Susan, he says that the 'fire will burn up all the oxygen' And uh, no. Fire does not work this way. We are in too open an area, and those flames are nowhere near large enough to do that.
Plus, if you're gonna have a fire large enough to burn up the oxygen, that's gonna affect YOU as well!
I mean, the easy solution here would be, it's an aquatic/amphibious creature. The flames and heat keep it confused and dry it out, making it uncomfortable. Makes WAY more sense.
But whatever. Eventually the creature succumbs and passes out. They drape a net over the creature which, spoiler alert, will not stop it. Like putting a blanket over me does not stop me from getting up. I mean, it IS pretty comfy here and mmm, what was I saying?
At least they're trying to keep it tranquilised, so an attempt was made. And they DO speculate that it was out of water too long, so that might help! See? Was that so hard?
Unfortunately it rains that night, and like a Sub Mariner, the creature is restored and wakes up. Susan tries to keep the creature calm, but instead it just focuses in on her, until it walks off.
The downside is their specimen has wandered off, but hey, at least they're alive. Johnny is wanting to get out of there, probably before he gets attacked AGAIN, but Torres must have his specimen FOR SCIENCE! Wouldn’t those motivations make more sense if they were reversed?? Torres is out, done with science, but Caruso wants his freakshow attraction?
Somehow, Davido again knows where the creature is going to be, and in any other, more well written movie, he would somehow be in league with the creature, or believing it to be a drowned god he is offering sacrifices to.
They try and drive to the new location, but find a giant tree across the road. It was most likely left their by their new friend, the Octaman.
Everyone tries to get the tree moved with the RV, while Davido tracks the Octamom into a night shot and a cave.
But the tree won't budge, so they decide to back down the road. That's when Torres realises Davido has wandered off, and hears him scream.
They follow the Octaman into the cave, somehow LOSE the creature, and end up in a dead end?? Also, this small confined space is a better worse place to start a fire.
Somehow, they cause a cave in and get trapped to drag this out for a few more minutes, until Davido finds water coming out of a crack, and they follow it to the surface.
This is such a terrible time to have the cast sit around inside a dark cave, in the final few minutes of the movie. We should be racing towards a conclusion, not sitting on our hands.
But they finally all crawl through the crack and come out by the lake, and with just a few more seconds left, they head back to the RV to get back out and SURPRISE OCTAMAN again in the RV!
Octoamom smacks around the interlopers some more, until once again Susan uses her powers of persuasion to draw its attention. This works so well, he scoops her up and carries her to the shore.
No one wants to risk a shot, but Susan pulls out her own gun, gets the creature in the gut, and while we're all processing that twas beauty who shot the beast, everyone else opens fire.
Octaman says fuck this shit, I'm out, and walks off back into the lake to fucking die and get out of this movie once and for all.
Video: Solid enough for a movie made in the 70s on the cheap, ad released to DVD.
Audio: Good enough for what it is.
Body Count: Not a terrible amount, but so many people are alive in the end…
1 - Researcher strangled by the Octamom seven minutes in.
2 - Alice Cooper's dad dies in flashback
3 - Crushes one of the guides
4 - Octaman stabs another with a tentacle
5 - Octaman smashes another's face
6 - Octaman is shot to death
Best Corpse: I quite liked the local who get tentacled through the chest.
Blood Type - C: Not much blood, but a little, and that costume isn’t half bad for the time
Sex Appeal: Check out those tentacles.
Drink Up! Every time you see Octavision.
Movie Review: For the most part, I quite enjoyed this movie. It has some issues though, especially in a sluggish second act, and some pointless rock climbing that completely blows the tension out of the water with five minutes of movie left. But it’s a solid enough creature feature, with some attempts at morals, and the creature is pretty sweet. Three out of five squiddlings.
Entertainment Value: I had a nice amount of fun with this one. Too much canon fodder that all blurs together, but that suit and the monster is the clear star. This movie is wonderfully goofy in a lot of the right ways, although it could have used a little extra badness to really bring things home. Three out of five RVs.