Sh! The Octopus (1937)

Article #1607 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-8-2005
Posting Date: 1-5-2006
Directed by William C. McGann
Featuring Hugh Herbert, Allan Jenkins, Marcia Ralston

Two police detectives investigate a report of a murder at an old dark lighthouse, and found themselves enmeshed in a web of diabolical crime from someone known only as The Octopus.

There are some things in this world that are simply wastes of time. One of them is trying to sort out the plot of this bizarre horror comedy. It’s your basic “old dark house” story set in a lighthouse, with a corpse hanging from the rafters but no way to get up there, a tentacled monster, a hook-handed captain (who isn’t what he seems), a young, handsome painter (who isn’t what he seems), a young woman looking for her father, etc, etc. On top of the octopus, we also have encounters with frogs, a turtle and a barking seal. There’s weird plot twists at every turn, more comic relief than anything for it to relieve (courtesy of Hugh Herbert and Allen Jenkins), and one of the most strikingly effective villain unmaskings I’ve ever seen in a movie of this ilk. And it all leads up to…well, I won’t give away the ending other than to say there’s a reason why the story doesn’t make any sense. Still, it’s really nice to have an octopus on the loose rather than the usual man in a gorilla suit. By the way, Nanny’s a goat.


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