Wait… back up a few frames, because dude’s shorts are way more shocking!
The first onscreen death in Humanoids From the Deep is that of a kid. Then, an entire fishing boat explodes. Then, a shit load of dogs are murdered. This is all roughly within a ten minute time frame. That’s when you know you have one crazy ass flick on your hands. With a runtime of 80 minutes, this monster-cheesefest doesn’t really let up for a second! Humanoids is a total party movie, completely ideal for a group of drunken friends who feel like hootin’ and hollerin’ at the screen.
Basically, the small fishing village of Noyo is being terrorized by a scientific experiment gone wrong; half man/half fish creatures start popping their ugly heads out of the water to maim and murder the men, and bang their women. Imagine Creature From the Black Lagoon if there were like 50 of the Gillman, and they were all totally screw happy. Let that jog around in your head for a minute, and you’ll get what this flick is, in a nutshell. These monsters seem to prefer perfect boobs, too.
Doug McClure plays Jim, our lead. If you’re a jerk, he’ll beat your ass while wearing a flower embroidered jacket, and his wife, Carol (Cindy Weintraub), will wow you with Mom Jeans™.
While Jim may be the film’s lead, Johnny Eagle (played by Anthony Pena) is the badass, and his epic skills really come into play during the bonkers finale.
Vic Morrow plays Hank Slattery, the town jerkface. And he’s… well… a jerkface.
Ann Turkel (say her name with a redneck accent and thank me later) plays the mysterious Dr. Susan Drake. And she’s… well… mysterious.
Humanoids From the Deep has everything you could possibly ask for in a rubber suit monster movie. It’s got a pervy girl who likes to sit beach side and watch people making out. It’s got epic Kung-Fu style zoom in stock footage of an owl hootin’ his damn ass off. It’s got a huge boobed girl with a ventriloquist dummy sex fetish. And EXPLOSIONS. Whoa, at all the freakin’ explosions here. If a character were to flick a booger on another character they would fucking explode on impact. This movie hands Michael Bay his ass in the explosions department.
And best of all, it has Johnny Eagle, looking like Rocky Balboa.
And as I mentioned earlier, Humanoids From the Deep’s finale is such a damn free for all that you can barely keep up with it. It takes place at the town’s annual carnival. Mix the carnie atmosphere with a ton of hungry, horny humanoid sea creatures and you have one helluva treat.
The SFX are fairly impressive, and the blood is plentiful. Dead dogs everywhere, ripped open faces, ripped open rib cages that spurt blood, and more. Gorehounds will be pleased. Also, the monster suits looks great. As I mentioned earlier, very Gillman like, just more mutated with elongated arms.
James Horner’s music has a John Williams Jaws vibe blended with Harry Manfredini’s Friday the 13th score, meaning it sounds adventurous as shit and creepy as hell all at the same time. It actually manages to produce an epic feeling at times.
I implore you to check this flick out under the influence of… something. Not to say that it wouldn’t be fun sober, but holy shit, it’s gut busting with a good buzz. Recommended.
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The Moon is a Dead World’s Take
Humanoids From the Deep is a slasher, a creature feature, and a B-movie commenting on the problems with science and experimentation all in one. With a set-up like that, it’s hard to fit all of those pieces together into a convenient plot that works well – and Humanoids From the Deep doesn’t manage to do that, but it’s so schlocky that one will have a hard time not loving it. Seriously, though the film is laughable in parts and sports tons of ridiculous hair, jeans, and mustaches, it’s a really good time. But it must be watched with the ’50s radioactive films in mind, because essentially the film draws many of its best (and worst) moments from those films.
Still, the movie is notably better than some of the films of the same ilk that were being released in the ’80s. Keep in mind that Island Claws was also released in 1980, with much poorer results. Director Barbara Peeters (and, to a lesser extent, the other director on this film who shot some nude scenes that Roger Corman wanted added) not only cribs, but sometimes directly steals, ideas and atmosphere from Jaws – if the opening scenes don’t give you at least a nostalgic moment where you pine to watch the Steven Spielberg great, then you haven’t seen Jaws enough times and you should stop reading this review right now to go watch it. Some of the soundtrack has the same plodding minor keys as Jaws, and I almost expected to hear Roy Scheider for a minute.
There’s also the more obvious references to older films like Creature From the Black Lagoon – even the monsters in Humanoids From the Deep resemble that Creature, and the film’s focus on the monsters’ lascivious lust for women seems to stem from the old damsel-in-distress formula of the ’50s monster movies.
So Humanoids From the Deep isn’t exactly working on an original level, but it doesn’t really have to. The actors carry the film rather well, perhaps not in the Oscar-winning way one might expect, but they obviously realize they’re in a B-movie and follow through with equally ridiculous acting. Vic Morrow plays his character of Slattery without an ounce of compassion – I can see him twiddling his mustache and cackling at Johnny Eagle (Anthony Pena) before throwing a molotov cocktail into his house. Doug McClure leads the film as Jim Hill, a man who is totally, totally up for believing in sea monsters like the humanoids; Johnny Eagle comes back beaten up with Hill’s brother in his boat nearly dead, and once Johnny describes that a bunch of creatures came from the sea and attacked them, Hill can’t imagine any other possibility!
Plus, there’s a bunch of bodacious women in this film, letting their boobies flounce around (you can see most above in Eric’s review) before being raped and impregnated by the monsters (who have brains resembling testicles, mind you). What could be better than that? I’ll tell you – there’s some awesomely bad special effects in this film, and the gore is both over-the-top and ridiculously cool at the same time.
Obviously, to take Humanoids From the Deep seriously would mean to miss out on all of the humor that’s present in this schlocky, cheesy flick. It’s a film produced by Roger Corman, so you pretty much know what you’re going to get. Still, it’s clearly of better quality than other films working within the same mindset, and you could do much worse than getting sucked down into the depths by Humanoids of the Deep.