Man, what a shitty weekend. I know you don’t come here to listen to me whine and bitch, but that was one weekend I’d soon like to forget. So, late last night I decide I need to watch something to hopefully get me out of this funk. I’ve been meaning to watch and review Night of the Tentacles for a couple weeks, and I was hoping it would be just the right mix of horror and comedy to help my depressed state. Did it succeed?
Night of the Tentacles is all about Dave. Dave is a lonely man who does graphic design work out of his apartment. One day he suffers a pretty severe heart attack, and learns that if he doesn’t get a new ticker, his days are numbered. Shortly after returning home from the hospital, Dave meets Esther, his secret crush who lives in the apartment below him. She heard about his bad health and wanted to bring him some cookies. Dave takes the opportunity to finally ask Esther to hang out, which she accepts. However, soon after Esther leaves Dave has another visitor, Lucifer! Lucifer wants to help Dave out with a new heart. Dave decides he’s going to die soon anyways, so what the hell? What Dave didn’t know, is that his new “heart” was gonna be left inside a small chest on his table, would talk to him in the sweetest British accent, would need to be fed two humans a week to keep him happy, and had four tentacles he wasn’t afraid to use if needed. Can Dave keep his new ticker happy long enough to win the girl??
Thank God for Dustin Mills! Night of the Tentacles is his third feature, and even though I really enjoyed Puppet Monster Massacre and Zombie A-Hole, this is easily my favorite! Night of the Tentacles felt like a love letter to another of my favorite directors, Frank Henenlotter. You have some obvious homage to Basket Case and Brain Damage that should be evident to any fans, but I also believe I saw a little Frankenhooker in the lighting choices, as well as Bad Biology in the problematic love story.
Night of the Tentacles has everything I’m looking for in schlocky no budget cinema: blood, boobs, slime, tentacles, and laughs! The movie is laugh out loud funny (even in the sour mood I was in while watching) thanks to some very strong dialog and a stand out performance by Brandon Salkil as Dave. Brandon was obviously digging into his inner Bruce Campbell with some of his over the top facial expressions and over acting. On the technical side of thing the movie looks great. The effects work Dustin pulls off on his own continue to improve from movie to movie. Add in the great lighting and camera work, and it’s hard to believe the movie was made for peanut shells.
So in the end, Night of the Tentacles was just what the doctor ordered. How could a movie that opens with a dueling masturbation scene not put a smile on my sick and twisted little face? For people interested in the perverse side of independent cinema, Night of the Tentacles is for you. On a side note, both of Dustin’s other features Puppet Monster Massacre and Zombie A-Hole (review here) are available nationwide at all media outlets worth a damn. Look for info here on his next two projects as well, Bath Salts: The Movie and Kill That Bitch! Finally, as always, support independent horror cinema.