5-Word 365 #015 – Humanoids From The Deep

It is time for the second edition of “WTF Sundays”, this time featuring a bit of Doug McClure goodness from 1980.

Humanoids From The Deep

Or “Monster” to its friends

It isn’t quite as common now, but back in the 70s and 80s films changed their titles more often than I change my socks, sometimes even after release. Roger Corman is particularly known for this. He would change the titles of his scripts just to attract a better class of actor or investor! It makes you wonder what he was calling this when Doug McClure and Vic Morrow agreed to star. This film is referred to as Humanoids From The Deep in Netflix’s catalogue, but the on-screen title card calls it Monster. I think I prefer Humanoids; it’s more garish, less generic. Combine that title with “starring Doug McClure and produced by Roger Corman” and you have a recipe for glory.

And glory is indeed the result. It seems that the salmon-canning company upstream from the town of Noyo have been meddling with nature and have accidentally created a race of half man/half salmon with a fondness for fresh dog meat and the ripping of flesh from men and bikini tops from women. The opening scene features probably the most incompetent fishing crew that ever existed, but it’s okay because after three minutes they’re all dead. The young kid falls overboard and gets eaten and the rest of them blow up the boat while trying to fire a flare gun. You see what I mean about incompetent?

When the monsters’ first two victims are a kid and a dog, you know that anything can happen and NOBODY IS SAFE! Speaking of explosions, a lot of stuff gets blown to shit in this flick. There’s the aforementioned flare gun incident; a car goes off the side of a bridge into a river and goes boom; we even get a Molotov cocktail with a yield in the kilotons, but when your story is about fish-men on a killing spree basic chemistry often takes a backseat.

A 21-year-old Rob Bottin did a good enough job with the gore effects and the Humanoids on what was obviously a limited budget – they come out of the water as 5 feet of slime and teeth – but once we get to the climactic battle at Doug’s house, man-in-suit syndrome really kicks in. The sting at the end is a piece of work too, though it is arguably a direct rip-off of homage to a classic film from a couple of years earlier. To say any more would spoil the surprise.

Face/Off, the prequel

The score by Avatar’s James Horner is effectively manic during the big carnival massacre at the end, but tends to overload the earlier, stalking scenes a bit. Had it been a little more restrained the movie could have been much more eerie.

Since this is a Corman flick I suppose I’m expected to keep track of these things, so here’s the tally:

Boob count: 3 pairs, with 1 repeater.

Thank you, Roger Corman

Ripped-off head count: 1

Creepy ventriloquist’s dummy count: 1 (AND ITS EYES MOVED WHILE IT WAS SITTING BY ITSELF IN THE CORNER!)

DAMN YOU, ROGER CORMAN!

 

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

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