Saturday, January 10, 2015

Movie Review: Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

Humanoids from the Deep (1980) - USA - Horror - Rated R
Directed by Barbara Peeters
Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, Vic Morrow, Cindy Weintraub

Rather a mix of Boggy Creek and Jaws stills work as an entertaining movie despite a disappointing creature costume.

A small fishing village dependent on the salmon fishing for their income is in the process of working up a deal with a biotech company promising to increase not only the number of salmon but also the size of the salmon. Strange events start to happen involving dogs being killed, young women being attacked and raped on the beaches by what appears to be fishmen and disappearing, and a scientist who seems to not be surprised by the incidents and is not quite letting on about what she knows.

Being a Roger Corman production, there are several things one can expect which include a basic storyline that will run under 80 minutes and be simple enough not to get anybody lost, a few actual stars in the cast, and a smattering of sleaze here and there. Humanoids from the Deep does not disappoint as all three elements are there.

The story is not unlike a Jaws clone or any nature gone wild story. We are introduced to the characters early, their conflicts, and then the initial threat emerges but still keeps from revealing too much of the creatures. That said, it doesn't take long for the creatures to be revealed leaving their origin to be the real monster of the story, and their ultimate purpose to breed with human females.

The story works and keeps a good pace. There are conflicts between characters with Vic Morrow providing most of it playing a bigot with an axe to grind with a Native American trying to put a stop to the town's plan for genetically enhancing fish production. And of course Roger Corman throws in some nice sleaze which he apparently added after the fact much to the surprise of the director. The sleaze is a nice touch though as a credit to the movie it works with or without the additional sleaze.

The creature costumes are another story as it does mostly look ridiculous. There are some close-ups that are of a better looking costume, and it looked to me as though the latter sleaze scenes used a different and more effective creature design. Rob Bottin designed the outfits, though my guess would be that he had to deal with budget constraints as he is the craftsman behind the creature designs in John Carpenter's The Thing and the more recent Mighty Joe Young. Despite the creature design lacking, the movie has enough to offer and moves well enough to work and be a fun movie.

My Rating: 3 Fingers

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