Monday, April 16, 2012

#609. Humongous (1982)

Directed By: Paul Lynch

Starring: Janet Julian, David Wallace, John Wildman

Tag line: "It's loose... It's angry... And it's getting hungry!"

Trivia:  Writer William Gray got the idea for having Joy Boushel put the blueberries in her blouse from his girlfriend

Humongous gets off to a quick, albeit vicious start. Flashback to the year 1946, where we join an outdoor party being held at a swanky lakeside mansion. Ida (Mary Sullivan), whose father's hosting the shindig, is down by the kennel tending to her dogs when Tom (Page Fletcher), obviously drunk, stumbles towards her. He wants to talk, but Ida will have none of it, and darts into the woods to get away from him. Tom is persistent, and, after catching up with her, pins Ida to a tree. A struggle ensues, and soon they're rolling around on the ground, at which point Tom tears off Ida's clothes and rapes her. Tom gets his comeuppance a few seconds later, however, when the dogs escape from their kennel and jump him. Tom is left badly injured by the attack, but it's Ida, with the help of a large rock, who finally finishes him off. 

We then leap 36 years into the future, where five twenty-somethings: Eric (David Wallace) and his girlfriend, Sandy (Janet Julian), Eric's arrogant brother, Nick (John Wildman), and Nick's grilfriend Donna (Joy Boushel) and Carla (Janit Baldwin), Nick and Eric's younger sister, set off in a boat for a fun-filled weekend cruising the lake. Their first evening out, they meet up with a fisherman named Bert (Lane Coleman), who warns them to stay away from the jagged rocks surrounding “Dog Island”, which got its name because it's supposedly populated by an unknown number of wild canines. The five heed Bert's advice and drop anchor for the night. But when Nick has an argument with Donna, he angrily takes control of the ship and tries to navigate the treacherous waters. Naturally, the boat crashes and explodes, stranding them all on “Dog Island”.  But it isn't long before they realize the island's inhabited by more than just dogs; there's also a seven-foot tall cannibal residing there.  And what's more, he hasn't eaten for days!

The creature in Humongous, a hulking beast who staggers around and lets out the occasional blood-curdling roar, makes for an imposing monster, yet the most disturbing moment in the entire film is undoubtedly the opening rape. Other than a brief shot of her clothes being ripped off, the scene plays out from Ida's point-of-view, focusing on Tom's face as he commits this heinous crime. The dog attack is equally as savage, and when the smoke settles, Tom's leg has been stripped to the bone and there's a large gash in his neck, oozing blood. Unfortunately, this pre-title sequence sets a standard for ferocity the rest of the film never quite lives up to. There are moments when it comes close (like the scene where Nick is chased by one of the island’s dogs, which is itself grabbed by the Humongous and strangled to death), but as a whole, the movie falls well short of its initial brutality. 

That said, Humongous is still a decent enough horror flick, with the odd moment or two of genuine suspense. At the very least, I'd say it's worth a watch.

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