Humanoids from the Deep

Humanoids from the Deep

Humanoids from the Deep is a 1980 science fiction monster movie, starring Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, and Vic Morrow. Roger Corman served as the film's (uncredited) Executive Producer, and the film was distributed by his New World Pictures. It was directed by Barbara Peeters (aka Barbara Peters).

Plot

Fishermen from the fishing village of Noyo catch what appears to be some kind of monster in the netting of their boat; one of them falls into the water and is dragged under the surface by something unseen. Another fisherman attempts to call for help with the aid of a flare gun but he slips and shoots it accidentally into the deck, causing the vessel to burst into flame and then explode. Everybody onboard is killed.

Teenagers Jerry Potter (Meegan King) and Peggy Larson (Lynn Schiller) go for a swim at the beach. Jerry is abruptly pulled under. Peggy believes it is simply a prank until she discovers his horribly mutilated corpse. The screaming girl tries to make it to the beach but she is attacked and dragged onto the sand by a monstrous figure. The humanoid thing tears off her swimming suit and rapes her.

At night, on the same beach, two more teens are about to have sex in a small tent when another humanoid monster claws its way inside. It brutally kills the boy and chases the girl onto the beach. She manages to outrun her assailant but then runs straight into the arms of yet another humanoid. The monster throws her onto the sand and rapes her.

A company called Canco has announced plans to build a huge cannery near Noyo. It turns out that the murderous, sex-hungry mutations are apparently the result of Canco's experimentation with a growth hormone they had earlier administered to trout. The trout escaped from the laboratory waters into the ocean during a storm, and were then eaten by other, larger fish who proceeded to instantly mutate into the brutally depraved humanoids who have begun to terrorize the village.

By the time heroic Jim Hill (McClure) and Dr. Susan Drake (Turkel) have figured out what is going on, it is too late to stop the village's annual carnival from starting. At the carnival, the humanoids show up in droves, relentlessly murdering the men and raping every woman they can grab. Luckily, Jim devises a plan to stop the marauding beasts. The morning after the carnival, everything seems about to return to normal. However, Peggy has survived her sexual assault and is about to give birth when her monstrous offspring suddenly bursts out of her stomach in a fountain of blood.

Response

Humanoids from the Deep is a 1980s' updating of many similarly plotted genre offerings from the 1950s, with the addition of lots of graphic violence and nudity. Thanks to good word of mouth among teenage boys, the film was a modest financial success for New World Pictures, and it continues to be a cult favorite today.

Critical reviews were far from laudatory. Paul Taylor, in Time Out, said that “Despite the sex of the director, a more blatant endorsement of exploitation cinema's current anti-women slant would be hard to find…Peeters also lays on the gore pretty thick amid the usual visceral drive-in hooks and rip-offs from genre hits; and with the humour of an offering like Piranha entirely absent, this turns out to be a nasty piece of work all round. Phil Hardy’s The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror, said, after noting that additional sex and violence scenes had been edited into the film without director Peeter’s knowledge, “…weighed down as it is with solemn musings about ecology and dispossessed Indians, it looks as if it had always been a hopeless case." Nathaniel Thompson, on his Mondo Digital website, observed, “Director Peeters claimed that Roger Corman added some of the more explicit shots of slimy nudity at the last minute to give the film some extra kick, but frankly, the movie needed it. Though competently handled, the lack of visual style, occasionally slow pacing, and peculiar lack of (intentional) humor hinder this from becoming an all-out trash masterpiece…” But Michael Weldon, writing in his Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, opined, “Many were offended by the rape aspect of this fast-paced thriller featuring lots of Creature from the Black Lagoon-inspired monsters…Like it or not, it was a hit and is not dull.”

Remake

In 1996, a remake of Humanoids from the Deep was produced for Showtime by Corman's production company, Concorde-New Horizons, starring Robert Carradine and Emma Samms. Surprisingly, this version toned down the sex and gore aspects — the very elements that had distinguished the otherwise unimaginative first film. The remake was not a success among fans or critics.

Availability

The original DVD release in the U.S. was censored , and is now out of print. There was a brief release of the uncut version on a Japanese disc of the film, featuring the title Monster, but it too is now out of print, and very expensive. Currently owned by Disney and Buena Vista Home Entertainment, like many Corman titles, it remains unreleased, no attempts seem to have been made to acquire an uncut print, and no release seems likely in the future.

Trivia

  • Barbara Peeter's version of the film apparently was deemed lacking in the required exploitation elements needed to satisfy the movie's intended audience. Jimmy T. Murakami was brought in to spice up the movie, and it was he who was reportedly responsible for filming all of the sex, nudity and gore scenes.
  • Several people who went on to bigger and better things worked on the film, including composer James Horner, makeup artist Rob Bottin (who designed the humanoid costumes), and future producer Gale Anne Hurd, who worked as a Production Assistant. The actress who portrays the Salmon Queen (Linda Shayne) later became a film director.
  • The Buzzcocks were fans of the film and wanted to name one of their EPs "Humanoids from the Deep Pts. 1 - 3"; however, believing there might be a rights problem with using that title, they released the EP as simply "Pts. 1 - 3"
  • The US version is missing a single gore scene; this is a man's head being ripped off during the film's climax.

References

External links

  • (1980)
  • (Remake)

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