Dustin Mills’ Night of the Tentacles is a Faustian tale of terror with a twist; inspired by the likes of Frank Hennenlotter and Roger Corman, it provides a new take on classic tale while sprinkling it with inspiration taken from Basket Case and Little Shop of Horrors. Dave (Brandon Salkil) is a down-on-his-luck erotic sci-fi artist whose simple joy is listening to his pregnant neighbour masturbate as he too rubs one out. One day, while stroking the purple headed yogurt slinger, he has a heart attack, only to be given a dodgy ticker. Not one to miss out on a deal, Satan appears and offers him a new heart in exchange for his soul; the replacement heart lives in a box instead of his chest, but it works just the same as a regular heart. The only difference is it must be fed twice a week with people meat or else the deal is off. Surrounded by terrible neighbours, it’s a deal Dave can live with – until the tentacled heart tries to eat his lovely pregnant neighbor Esther (Nicole Gerty) that is.
Esther aside, Dave couldn’t have picked a better buffet for his heart to munch on; the couple next door are constantly having sex which the whole building can here, for a start. Then there’s the woman who threatens to kill his beloved dog if he doesn’t stop flushing his toilet because the sounds of the faulty pipes annoy her when she pees. Lastly, there’s his hilarious and perverted landlord (played by Mills) who embodies sleaziness. But eventually he runs out of neighbours, which only leaves Esther and her unborn baby…
Needless to say, there’s plenty of toilet humour in Night of the Tentacles, but it’s so packed with invention, imagination and heart that it rises above most low brow horror comedies. That being said, the toilet humour is indeed hilarious: try not to stifle a laugh as Belial, an agent of Satan and reference to Basket Case, asks Dave if he’d like to be farted on so he can masturbate, for example. Regular laughs will be had throughout, with the bulk of them coming from Dave’s monster heart with its British accent and camp, condescending nature.
The special effects are cheap and charming, but impressive considering the budget was under $2000. If you can appreciate micro-budget movies you won’t be disappointed, but bare in mind this is home made filmmaking, so if that doesn’t appeal to you then you’ll probably be put off with its cheapness. Like all of Mills’ projects, he works wonders with what he has to create something grander in scope than it has any right to be. He’s a superb talent who makes unconventional movies with unique concepts and experimental ideas. Up until now, they’ve all been a treat and Night of the Tentacles is tasty. 8/10
Written & Directed By:
Brandon Salkil, Nicole Gerty, Dustin Mills, Jackie McKown