Monday, October 4, 2010

#59. Humanoids From the Deep (1980)

Directed By: Barbara Peeters

Starring: Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, Vic Morrow

Tag line: "From the Ocean Depths They Strike ... To Terrorize ... To Mate ... And To Kill!"

Trivia:  One scene of the Humanoids attacking a victim was shot when the temperature was cold enough to turn the actress's lips blue

The Roger Corman-produced 1980 horror fest, Humanoids from the Deep, is a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s shabby, and more than a little rough around the edges, but I really do get a kick out of it. 

All hell’s broken loose in the normally peaceful fishing village of Noyo, where a mysterious rash of violence is paralyzing the community. Long-time resident Jim Hill (Doug McClure) sets out to investigate the cause, while the town’s most prestigious businessman, Hank Slattery (Vic Morrow) lays the blame for the recent bloodshed at the feet of the local Native American population, including Hill’s good friend, Johnny Eagle (Anthony Penya). Unbeknownst to them all, the true source of the hysteria is a group of mutated sea monsters, which have massed in the nearby river system. But these creatures, the result of a failed scientific experiment, are interested in a lot more than simple destruction; they’re also after the female population of Noyo, not to kill or eat them, but to use them as mates!

Now, this synopsis, particularly the horny humanoids slant, may cause a few eyes to roll. I agree it's perplexing, to say the least, yet it's just one of several aspects of Humanoids from the Deep that I have a hard time explaining. For instance, I don't know why the humanoid creatures are powerful enough to savagely maul every man they get their hands on, yet at the same time dainty enough to remove a buxom young thing’s bikini top without inflicting so much as a scratch. For that matter, I’m baffled by the entire female population of this town, most of whom look as if they’ve jumped off the pages of Playboy (I’ve visited a few fishing villages in my time, and would never have left them had I seen women this beautiful). Finally, I’m at a complete loss as to how these bulky, seaweed-laden sea monsters can possibly mate with human women; the mere physics of it sets my mind to spinning. 

But you know what? I don’t think I want to explain it, and neither will you. When watching Humanoids from the Deep, all you’ll want to do is sit back…and scream…and smile. 

The movie comes by its screams honestly; despite its low budget and the general tackiness of the creatures (I swear there are times when you can see the zippers in the backs of the suits), Humanoids from the Deep does manage to generate its fair share of spine-tingling moments. Corman himself commented on how surprised he was at the movie’s preview, where audience members screamed uncontrollably throughout the entire picture (especially during the film’s shocking finale). But then, why wouldn’t they?

Cheesiness be damned… Humanoids from the Deep is flat-out fun



Anonymous said...

I went to see this in the theater, amazingly. We were hoping for some good titty, though I don't recall if there was any. Stellar cast though.

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for the comment!

There was plenty of nudity in HUMANOIDS, so much so that a few members of the cast got a bit pissed when it was released (they'd filmed an entirely different movie, but the filmmakers went back a few months later to add some more nude scenes).

I think Vic Morrow was the perfect villain (he sure played them often enough. Seriously, can you think of any movies he appeared in where he WASN'T the baddie? I'm sure there are some out there, but I don't think I've ever seen them).

skooal said...

A true classic.

Dave B. said...

Skooal: Absolutely! I can watch this one over and over again.

Thanks for the comment!

MK Storyteller said...

I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but I'm good friends with the two guys who wore the Humanoids suits (there were only two of them, strategically positioned to look like many). Their stories of the shoot are ... eye-opening.

Nathan Tarantla said...

That's one of my long time favorites from Roger Corman, master of the cheap and effective horror film art! Corman's monsters were always imaginative, say what you will!