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RATED Not Rated
STUDIO Dustin Mills Productions
RUNNING TIME 90 Minutes
• Nothing –
–A Faustian tale of terror and romance with nudity and dubstep music.–
–Nicole Gerrity, Brandon Salkil, Jackie McKown–
–In this obscene Faustian tale a young artist sells his soul to Satan for the new heart he so desperately needs. The only catch is that the heart is a tentacled monstrosity with a hunger for human flesh! Will Dave get the girl of his dreams? Will he run out of neighbors to feed to his infernal heart? Will Delilah ever finish urinating? Find out in NIGHT OF THE TENTACLES!!!–
–Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Someone makes a deal with a malevolent force (or in some cases just finds something) that makes their lives slightly better at the cost of requiring the near constant death of people that the unlucky someone must now facilitate. After feeding the thing all the people they hate, their life suddenly becomes good and they realize that they never needed the thing to begin with and that they must now attempt to stop the horrible monster they’ve unwittingly unleashed. That’s pretty much Night of the Tentacles in a nutshell.
The protagonist is Dave: a single guy who makes his living drawing fantasy porn, has a nice apartment, a dog, and whose only problems consist of constantly having to listen to his trashy neighbors having loud sex at all hours of the night to horrible techno music and suffering visits from his sleazy landlord who brings him beer. Already, this guy’s life is not sounding that abysmal and his whining isn’t helping.
One morning, after pleasuring himself whilst listening through the floor to the woman downstairs masturbating, Dave has a heart attack. He has a bad heart and needs a transplant but doesn’t have the money for a new one even if there was any hope of finding one any time in the near future. So Satan pops up and offers Dave a deal where he’ll give him a new heart for his soul. The heart will live as long as he wants it to, making Dave effectively immortal.
Of course there’s a catch: after Dave’s faulty heart has been removed and replaced by a talking demonic heart that lives in a small box, he finds out that he has to feed the heart 2 people every week or it will die of starvation. While Dave is reluctant at first, he soon finds he’s surrounded by people he’s more than willing to get rid of. But as things escalate he finds what the heart really wants is the aforementioned downstairs neighbor whom he has gotten very close to. Hijinks ensue.
The first thing that’s apparent about Night of the Tentacles is that there’s a clever imagination at work here. Little touches like Satan’s contract with Dave, which takes the form of a popup window that quickly scrolls to the bottom and flashes a “click to accept terms” button or Beelzebub’s constant propositioning of Dave are amusing and work well.
The plot with Dave needing a new heart is fairly brilliant as it not only makes our ungrateful dirtbag of a main character more sympathetic, but also gives him an understandable motive for making the Faustian deal and committing the murders later in the movie. It’s a bit easier imaging someone doing something like this for a literal life-or-death situation than just for simple greed.
Unfortunately while writer/director Dustin Mills is a man of great ideas, he’s still not a terribly great writer. While there are a handful of lines and gags that work, there’s even more that just fall flat. The dialogue is weak on its own and most of it is entirely unneccesary and seems to be there to just pad out the running time, which just makes the movie feel twice as long as it is. To make matters worse, all the actors are pretty wooden and unnatural. Lead actor Brandon Salkil steps around this problem by alternating between under and over acting with no happy middle ground at all.
While the CG effects are passable for a low-budget movie like this, the monster designs are pretty weak; especially the heart which is obviously just a poorly made rubber puppet. This isn’t helped by Dave comparing the heart on his first glimpse to something imagined about by H.P. Lovecraft.
The characters namedrop Roger Corman and it’s fairly evident Dustin Mills is a fan as the plot is basically just a Madlibs of Little Shop of Horrors with a little bit of Basket Case and Slime City (I know the latter two are not Corman movies) thrown in for skeeviness. Unfortunately the movie’s slow and the plot is razor thin so it’s not even as fun as any of those deeply flawed gems. Don’t feel too bad if you miss out on Night of the Tentacles.–
–The video quality is surprisingly not bad for a movie of this caliber. The sound, however, is mediocre to bad and always has a washed-out tone to it. The soundtrack is pretty much all dubstep and techno music, but it’s never overtly annoying and usually doesn’t overstay its welcome. This disc has no special features.–
Out of a Possible 5 Stars