Friday, February 15, 2013

OCTAMAN (1971) movie review

d. Essex, Harry (USA)

One of special f/x maestro and multiple Oscar-winner Rick Baker’s early efforts and one that he’d probably like most of us to forget, which might account for its relative obscurity. However, thanks to Fred Olen Ray, the much-beloved limb-swinging creation finally made its home video premiere last year in a stunning widescreen print that leaves your darker-than-pitch TV broadcast bootlegs in the dust. Now you can actually see Baker's many-limbed creation as it stumbles along attacking a crew (headed by former Sinbad Kerwin Mathews) investigating the effects of pollution and radiation on a small Hispanic village - whether that's a good thing or not is open to debate.

With writer/director Essex taking more than a few pages from the Creature from the Black Lagoon playbook, the eight-legged cephalopod wonder takes a fancy to Mathews’ sexy gal pal Pier Angeli and before long is marauding throughout the Mexican countryside trying to capture her. Even at a measly 76 minutes, this is a clunker of the highest order, made all the more interminable by a superfluous spelunking scene that advances the plot not one iota. Even as a throwback to the 50s “man in a suit” flicks, this is pretty suckery, er, sucky stuff.

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