Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

...aka: Monster
...aka: Monster from the Deep

Directed by:
Barbara Peeters

An extremely entertaining, frequently hilarious monster trash flick from the oh-so-busy Roger Corman factory. The explosion of a boat, a string of canine murders and the disappearances of several young beauties is causing alarm in the citizens of a small, seaside fishing village called Noyo. Couldn't have anything to do with a chemical company hoping to boost the growing rate of salmon with a tampered strain of DNA, could it? Nah! Said research has resulted in some hulking, scaly, clawed creatures that not only kill, but also have a hankering for abducting and raping human women! Happily married fisherman Jim Hill (Doug McClure) teams up with ostacized Indian Johnny Eagle (Anthony Penya) and female scientist Susan Drake (Ann Turkel) to get to the bottom of things.
Despite a somewhat slow first half (which is still puncutated with bursts of action, violence and sex that keep it from dragging too much), this really picks up the pace during a lively, busy final half hour when the monsters lay waste to a busy carnival and Mrs. Hill (Cindy Weintraub) tries to protect her baby from a humanoid attack on her house. It's well-shot, well-made and well-acted for the most part and the monster suits designed by Rob Bottin are great. The cast includes Vic Morrow as a dog-killing racist, Denise Galik and Lynn Theel as victims, ventriloquist David Strassman, Greg Travis as a radio DJ, Linda Shayne as beauty queen Miss Salmon, Don Maxwell and Hoke Howell (who's blown up during the first scene). Top Hollywood producer Gale Ann Hurd got her start here (as a production assistant), as did Oscar-winning composer James Horner and fx man Steve Johnson.
Corman was unhappy with the first cut of the film and ordered more sex and violence. Director Peeters (who later disowned the film) refused to shoot it, was fired and director Jimmy T. Murakami (BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS) was brought in to do it. Scenes from Humanoids were later recycled in many Corman productions (such as the 1988 remake of NOT OF THIS EARTH) and the film itself was (badly) remade for cable TV in 1996.


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