Ever have those moments where you get the urge to watch a film chocked full of gratuitous scenes of sex & nudity, gruesome acts of violent murder and the raping and pillaging of innocent women? You know those times where that inner monster takes a hold of you and you want to watch a sub-human being, unlike yourself, wreak havoc on everyone and everything it encounters. Yeah, this is totally that movie.
Now I know some of you might be thinking this is SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE - or DAY OF THE WOMAN, as it is known in some circles (to keep you nomenclature neurotics at bay) – and I totally get where you’re coming from. Sadly, while some of you might find those backwoods imbeciles to be not of our kind, they are in fact ones of us and not the subject of the film to which I speak. Guys, I’m talking a about a movie filled to the brim with creepy looking “fish-men” that resemble a massive brained cross between the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON & that leafy shrubbery costume that the cops wear to bust the perpetrators on To Catch A Predator. The film I’ll be indulging you with this time is HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP
...or MONSTER, to once again save my ass.
So essentially, due to some strange phenomena involving DNA and evolution and some other scientific shit, the people of the small town of Noyo are forced to face a new species of extremely livid Coelacanth (yes that’s a fish) creatures. Seemingly humanoid (hence the title), these freaks of nature are natively sea dwelling, yet capable of surviving long enough to unleash mayhem on the citizen’s land based home front. As a new order struggling to survive, their driving force seems to be the need to copulate with womankind for the sake of procreation. Moving at a Jason Vorhees pace, they start of attacking the citizen’s animals but quickly graduate to killing off the townsmen and having their way with the women. As if this wasn’t problematic enough, while this is going down, there is a brewing war between the inhabitants of Noyo and their Native American neighbors, all over the overuse/misuse of chemicals in their water supply, a subplot that later has much larger ramifications. As you can probably guess, things begin to spiral helplessly out of control, totally shit show style, as the people have to contend not only with the threat of these invasive beings, but with threat of one another as well.
I’ll be frank. While I’m not entirely sure what the MPAA does on a daily basis or how they come up with their “consistent” ratings (see: the whole BULLY controversy), how this film got an R rating in 1980 is beyond me. Right off the bat, there’s enough titt… I mean nudity to shake a stick at and countless instances of the gruesome sight of bodies - and body parts - that don’t look all that healthy and/or intact. On top of that, they’ve got people cursing left and right, getting into all kinds of fights, blowing shit up, and blasting at each other with all sorts of firearms. That alone, I’d think would get it rated a bit harsher, but then you add the imposed intercourse being used as a key element as to why the fish people are abound in the first place and I’d have thought it to be a definite scale tipper. Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m not complaining. It was fortunate that the protective mothers and fathers of the industry didn’t come down so hard, as it’d probably have prevented tons of people from this film having graced their eyes.
Now, let me tell you this… HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP is by no means expertly crafted. It’s actually kinda stupid. The whole premise makes minimal sense, the characters are completely one-dimensional and the plot has more gaps than Amy Arena’s mouth. One who isn’t on board with the whole thing wouldn’t be wrong in saying that it is a hodgepodge of bullshit and, from a cinematic aspect, amongst the most horrendous pieces of trash ever made. In the grand scheme of things, though, that person would be considered an asshole by the cult following of the film as sometimes the synergistic idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts reigns true and, all things considered, this is one helluva shit flick.
What HUMANOIDS does best, one of the key element that brings this film to life and makes it as amazing as it is, is get all the effects right. Coming from Chris Walas, who later brought THE FLY and the GREMLINS to life, everything you see is really looks badass. From the mutilated faces and bodies of the creature’s victims to the obvious man-in-a-suit humanoids, themselves, it doesn’t take much to become completely engulfed in a film with visuals as expertly crafted as those present in this one. The movie is filled with seemingly unjustified amounts of blood, guts and random gore, but the beauty of the product makes it such a much welcome addition to the repertoire. I’d venture to say that this film was at the pinnacle of what science-fiction special effects personnel were able to create at the time and its on-screen masterpiece is a staple as to what separated the good from the bad in the genre.
Furthermore, if you can suspend belief for a brief moment, forgetting the implausibility of everything that transpires, it’s quite entertaining. I don’t know about you, but that whole horror flick element of unwarranted victim confusion, when the most obvious path to safety is so apparently, gets me going. It’s like watching a dumb blonde run up the stairs over and over again, yet in so many different ways. They’ve got quite a bit of that here, something that kept me in the mix, trying to predict how each character was going to predicate their downfall, not caring as to if it actually made sense or not.
The curtain falls on HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP with an extremely open ended conclusion. The film closes with so many questions to be asked and a final act that leaves the door wide open for a second, continuing on with the ridiculousness of the story. Knowing that there was never a sequel made to the film is disappointing as it is totally a buzz kill that the next step I’m sure the majority of you will want, after taking this one in, has yet to surface over the past 20 years and, for all intents and purposes, is probably less than an afterthought in the minds of the higher ups. Yet and still, this is a B-movie hall of famer, something it’s 30th Year Anniversary Special Edition Blu-Ray’s release verifies. I sifted through a bunch of excreta to discover this treasure, so I now bestow the knowledge of its greatness upon you and strongly encourage you check it out. It’ll be worth the dip.
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