Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

It Came From Beneath the Sea


I wish I had a “slimy” typeface to use here, because the title was shown with the letters IT dripping slime! (Actually I did find a font called “snot,” but I doubt it would show up in text.) This is the story of a giant radioactive octopus that terrorizes first the US Navy and then the whole San Francisco Bay Area, and it stars (in addition to Ray Harryhausen’s slimy giant octopus) Kenneth Tobey, almost certainly one of the most familiar faces in movies whose name you probably can’t think of. If you have watched any TV or movies at all you have seen him multiple times in supporting roles. He worked in a lot of B-movies, but also appears in quite a few major motion pictures. He scored a Classic ‘50s Monster Movie hat trick by appearing in this, and The Thing from Another World, and The Best from 20,000 Fathoms. He was actually a pretty good actor in the right roles, frequently playing military men, but in a one-take-and-move-on turkey like this one there’s not much chance at excellence.

There was not much of a budget, either (the submarine scenes, which are quite good, were shot on a real sub), and Harryhausen didn’t have a lot of time, but ol’ Ray is nothing is not ingenious. He just gave the octopus six tentacles instead of eight, and thus reduced the animating time by 25%. Hey, who’s counting, anyway? And who says a radioactive octopus has to have eight legs?

Most (Unintentionally) Funny Scene: Faith Domergue as the Love Interest, even though she is a professor of beneaththesea-ology or something, indignantly says to Commander Matthews: “You underestimate my ability to help in a crisis.” You sexist pig! And almost instantly the monster