Plot: Detective Kelly (Hugh Herbert) and his partner Dempsey (Allen Jenkins) are stuck in a torrential downpour thanks to a flat tire, but as crime doesn’t break for weather, they’re soon called to investigate some suspicious activities. Not just any old criminal is involved either, but the elusive Octopus, the most notorious criminal around and the one every cop dreams of hauling in. The detectives arrive at an eerie lighthouse and discover that a lot of strange things are afoot, as some others have wound up there as well, for whatever reasons. As the night rolls on, the group encounters all kinds of odd situations and creepy moments, including run-ins with an actual octopus that grabs them with its enormous tentacles. But is the Octopus truly just a marine creature or is there a darker force at work in the lighthouse?
Entertainment Value: If you’re a fan of offbeat, inexplicable cinema, you can stop reading and just go buy Sh! The Octopus now, as this one is bonkers. A lot of talk about the movie revolves around the final few minutes and with good reason, but the entire ride is bananas, so don’t fast forward to peek the finale. This is the kind of movie that has a detective fire his gun at a turtle, then throw him into an encounter with a seal and think nothing of this strange transition. In fact, the detective is perhaps the most loose gunslinger in cinema, as he fires his gun at the drop of a hat and doesn’t mind loosing bullets for whatever reason. But then again, if your behind was scorched by a turtle’s candle, perhaps you’d fire off some rounds as well. To call Sh! The Octopus silly or even outright outlandish would be an epic understatement, as this is pure nonsense, but if you have a taste for the quirky side of cinema, I think there is immense fun to be had here and some truly wild moments. I can understand why some viewers would dislike this one, as it is so over the top and ridiculous, but I had so much fun with Sh! The Octopus and I think other cult films fans might as well.
The cast here is a mix of over the top camp and overly serious drama, with both sides adding to the b movie style fun. The sillier performances are just ludicrously over the top, while the more sincere takes seem so out of place compared to the other efforts and weird happenings that surround them. I have to rate Hugh Herbert as the most fun to watch here, as he throws all conventional acting techniques out the window and just goes for broke. His performance is beyond outlandish and makes you want to redefine camp, he is that over the top. I love the scene with Herbert and the turtle, but he is hilarious throughout, firing his gun constantly for no good reason, getting into wacky exchanges, and mugging for the camera. Of course, some will criticize the turn and call it too ridiculous, but to me it is that epic level of wackiness that makes it so fun. And given the rest of the movie, it isn’t all that out of place. The cast also includes Allen Jenkins, Marcia Ralston, and Elspeth Dudgeon.