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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Humanoids from the Deep (1980)



Doug McClure vs mutated fish men that want to mate with our women! I loved this movie when I was a kid and watched it every time it showed on the late-night movie programs. Is it any wonder that I turned out to be such a weird kid? Then again, I wouldn’t be the horror dude without movies like this.

A small fishing town, Noyo, is in the middle of a crisis. The fish are gone and the local Indian population is threatening to stop a cannery, that would provide some much-needed jobs, from opening up. This leads some of the locals to get violent with Johnny Eagle, who is leading the fight to stop the cannery. While all of this is going on the company behind the cannery promises that they have found a way to boost the fish population beyond what it was in the good old days! Science runs amok though when some of the experimental fish escape and are eaten by other fish that mutate into the Humanoids from the Deep. They are driven to do two things, mate with the women and murder everything else! Can our hero Jim, Doug McClure’s character, save the day?

This is a quintessential Roger Corman produced movie. The story is solid and the action is plentiful. Is the entire idea of mutant fish men silly? Of course it is, but it’s also entertaining as hell. I’ve seen a lot of movies that have a creature or creatures threatening a community. I mean that is the basis for most all of the monster movies I’ve ever seen. But Humanoids from the Deep has an edge that isn’t present in most of those. First up they kill the dogs! Not a dog, but all of them. And they kill a kid! Remember this is the early ‘80s so the rules normally were no kids or cute dogs die. So right up front you know that no one is safe. Then you have the whole “mating” with the women thing. That is way out there and I can only think of one other movie that even suggested that (Breeders in case you were wondering). This adds a sleazy edge to the movie that most other monster flicks don’t have.

Can’t talk about a creature movie without mentioning the creatures. They had three suits for the movie and they all look decent. I especially like the one that has the extended arms which gives it an alien look that works well on screen. When they interact with the actors they are scary enough to look like a real threat. Thru some clever editing you would think that there are an army of them which gives the movie a much larger scale than the budget could have supported. That is clever filmmaking and something that I wish todays independent filmmakers would learn. The kills are mostly after the fact appliances with liberal amounts of blood applied. For the early ‘80s I have no complaints. I would they rather spend their budget on the creatures anyway.

I wanted to mention the controversy surrounding Humanoids from the Deep. The original director and one of the stars of the movie were very unhappy with some reshoots. At Corman’s direction there were more scenes added in with the Humanoids and their female victims. This includes a couple scenes that show the “act”. Nothing explicit just some rolling around. There is also a lot of female nudity in these scenes. While I get that this wasn’t the movie they signed up for they had to know whom they were working with. This stuff gives Humanoids the sleazy feeling that makes it unique.

I have always liked Humanoids from the Deep and feel that it holds up well some thirty-seven years later. In fact, for the first few years I only watched it on T.V. so the best naughty bits were missing. Watching it now uncut makes it even more fun. I highly recommend it.



© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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