Astonishing Tales of Terror: Rocktapussy! (2022)

I appreciate what Andrew Cymek, who writes and directs “Rocktopussy!”, tries to with  his feature film, utilizing as many resources as he can to deliver something that unabashedly melds Heavy Metal, Barbarella, and HP Lovecraft. I’m not sure what he has planned for future films or if there’s going to be more movies under the banner of “Astonishing Tales of Terror,” but “Rocktopiussy!” is off to a good start with a movie that while it doesn’t deliver completely on promises made in the trailer, is at least a fun time with some midnight movie potential.

In 1957, a strange opening in the wall of a mine attracts the attention of a trio of miners, prompting an attack by a mysterious creature that leaves on survivor.  In present day, daring reporter Hunter Hazelton has broken a story of corruption in city hall, by the method of posing a stripper. This causes her to clash with her colleagues, all of whom question her credibility, including her father and younger sister. Appearing at the uncovering of an ancient mine, an explosion traps a group including Hunter underground. There, they discover an ancient tentacled monster, parasitic zombies, and demonic knights. Now it’s up to Hunter to fight to get out alive.

If you’ve seen the trailers or any of the stills director Andrew Cymek is very upfront about basing the movie in the adult realm. While the movie isn’t softcore porn, it very much bases a lot of its content around buxom women. Not that I’m complaining. The movie bases a lot of the weight of the narrative and energy on Brigitte Kingsley, who is insanely sexy and also charismatic in her performance. Shockingly a lot of the movie is exploitative, but it never quite sinks in to pure exploitation of gratuitous T&A. Cymek aims more for the erotic in the vein of Frank Frazetta, turning Hunter slowly in to a sword wielding warrior.

Meanwhile the film’s villainess is a big breasted monster capable of convincing anyone to fall in to her trap. For the most part, “Rocktopussy!” is an entertaining survival film with a lot of dark fantasy elements. I especially enjoyed the parasitic zombies and the weird demonic knights that do the monster Rocktopus’s bidding. Nevertheless, I wish we’d seen a lot more sword fighting and dark fantasy play, and less quippy banter from the characters. The trailers make “Rocktopussy!” look like Red Sonja, but Hunter never actually picks up a sword until about an hour in to the movie. I think with follow ups, Hunter Hazelton could be a great fantasy anti-heroine. In any case, I had a good time with “Rocktopussy!” and I wouldn’t mind seeing Hunter Hazelton again in another misadventure.