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John’s Old School Horror Corner: Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

March 21, 2012

MY CALL:  Quite easily this is the best mutant fish-man-frog movie on the market!  If you like other trashy, exploitative Roger Corman classics, you’ll probably love this.  As much effort was placed on campiness as gore, and boy does that usually mean it’s going to be fun.  For an 80s B-horror, I give this a B+ for ludicrous entertainment value.  Loved it!  IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCH:  Any of my Horror Corner installments from the 80s, especially Contamination(1980), Inseminoid (1982), Deep Space (1988, which features our lead actress) and Galaxy of Terror (1981).  Also try Piranha (1978) and sequel.  For a more modern flick with a similar plot, you can’t go wrong or without laughing if you watch Piranha 3D (2010) and, of course, the sequel Piranha 3DD (2012).

 

An alternative poster.  Not very interesting and definitely less indicative of the exploitative nature of the movie.

Humanoids from the Deep tasked writers with what would happen if the Creature from the Black Lagoon had procreated with a manatee and released its humanoid, tailed, ichthyoid and evidently all-male children off the coast of some north-Pacific American fishing town.  The answer?  They would capture and rape as many young women as possible—leaving many dead and sequestering some in case they desired seconds.  That’s basically the story of this movie.  Well, they tried to sell a little side plot about a cannery (for canned fish) that was threatening the livelihood of local Native Americans, but would help the local white fishermen.  Not very interesting.  But I guess the writers thought that a flat-out fish-man rape/snuff film would be a bit much all alone.

 Nope.  Not a severed leg.  But a chick wrapped up in seaweed and saved for later.  Hey, marine biologist, take some photos of this ASAP!

Our “let’s investigate”-minded protagonists discover the breeding ground and lair of these creatures.  They clearly never played a zombie FPS because they’re aiming their shotguns for body shots and the creatures’ heads have over-sized exposed brains.  Really, guys?  How did you miss that?  While they fumble about trying to eradicate these abominations we learn that the somewhat-attractive, 6-foot blonde, marine biologist (Ann Turkel of Deep Space(1988)) accompanying them seems far too knowledgeable about this allegedly unknown species.  It turns out that her super-funded company was responsible for accidently creating these awful mutant, hyper-evolved sardinious killers.  Who’d of thought that a big company would be responsible for such horror (Alien’s Weyland Industries; Resident Evil’s Umbrella Corporation; Jurassic Park’s InGen; Terminator’s SkyNet)?

Ann Turkel, our marine biologist, of Deep Space(1988).  Look at her; trying to look all smart and stuff.  If you’re a biologist, why do I always see hiding behind a camera.

The action in this flick is bad.  Like, really bad.  But that makes it no different from any other Roger Corman classic or featurette from John’s Horror Corner, right?  So, it really poses no major problem or flaw for the genre.  The acting is bad, but—come on!  What did we expect from early 80s horror?  The effects are just serviceable and attempts at gore are satisfactory, though less common than I’d prefer until the end, which is gore-rich.  This hits its high point when the annual Salmon Festival is going on and they have to try to get the locals to buy this line of bull shit.

 Man gets his face slapped off.  Classic!

This movie is delightfully awful and adorably inconsistent.  Three shotgun rounds to the chest and these monsters may keep coming at you.  But use a bottle of drain cleaner, a two-by-four, or put a steak knife in the hands of a scared housewife and these amphibious aberrations fall apart as if one were attacking a bowl of organ pudding.  They seem MUCH more strong and dangerous when facing a star protagonist than, say, a woman, child, or horrified teen.  And, perhaps to convey the “rapid evolutionary rate” of these mutants, some have awkward triple-length forearms.  If you have an Intro to Biology background, you’ll find some intriguingly obvious holes in the writers’ concept of genetics and evolution.  After all, something with salmon and frog DNA can evolve in its own lifetime and should be able to mate with humans, right?  That makes sense!

 Here it takes numerous shots to take this bad boy down.  Ann Turkel also taking more shots with her camera.  Based on these image stills, you’d think she was a reporter.

Yet this chick, who will be naked in just a few seconds mid-fight, will somehow fend this beast off with some non-lethal object she found on the ground.  Yay, consistency!

Our heroes’ coup de grace comes when they light a 50×100’ area of water surface on fire with gasoline.  Somehow this helps the festival attendees to successfully thwart this brood of gilled villains.  Of course!  Because if I was a fish-man I’d become physically weaker if within ten yards of fire and, were I under water, I’d surely surface, catch fire, and remain at the surface so that I could burn to death slowly.  REALLY?

Hey, look.  It’s one of those huskies from “The Thing.”

The ending is predictable, but B-horror-wonderful!  Mine are the rantings and ravings of a very pleased horror enthusiast.  If you love horror and have yet to see this classic—stop what you’re doing, hop onto Netflix, sit down and enjoy!

 

Congratulations!  You have a beautiful baby…uh–amphibious sea beast.

SIDEBAR:  This movie is a rape-y rip-off of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, whichhas received a bit of remake buzz is the last several years.  For some time, Breck Eisner (The Crazies (2010)) was attached with a rumored $90 million budget and Bill Paxton as the lead.  This movie was to happen in 2007, but was delayed to 2011 because of the writers’ strike.  Then, since The Wolfman (2010) did so poorly in box offices, the project was shelved.  An old fan page has more details on the project.  I have found little news on the project from this year except for what has been mentioned.

Yup, that creature concept just might have been a rip-off.  But I’m so happy they did.

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    March 23, 2012 1:32 am

    7:30 AM, March 21st: I posted this review.
    1:04 PM, March 22nd: Aintitcoolnews posted this review

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/54468

    I’ve piggy-backed ideas off them before (like chatting about new trailers I learn about through the AICN guys), but this is the first time it appears that they piggy-backed off me. Unless this is just a really weird coincidence in terms of timing, I think I caught some folks’ attention.

  2. johnleavengood permalink
    March 23, 2012 1:34 am

    BTW, I am in no way suggesting that they copied my review. The AICN review is quite different from mine. I’m not slamming anyone here. I’m just suggesting that if they made their post because they thought mine was a good idea then I am way flattered since I’m part of a much smaller operation than they are…and because, evidently, a contributor (John Doe, not a regular on AICN) to a website whose opinion matters to me read my work.

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