ICFIFC: Humanoids From The Deep (1980)

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Monday, January 20, 2014

ICFIFC: Humanoids From The Deep (1980)

Humanoids from the Deep is a 1980 science fiction monster movie, starring Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, and Vic Morrow.  Roger Corman served as the film's (uncredited) executive producer, and the film was distributed by his New World Pictures.  It was directed by Barbara Peeters (aka Barbara Peters).  The musical score was composed by James Horner.

Douglas Osborne "Doug" McClure (May 11, 1935 – February 5, 1995) was an American actor whose career in film and television extended from the 1950s to the 1990s.  He is best known for his role as the cowboy Trampas during the entire run from 1962 to 1971 of the NBC western television series, The Virginian, loosely based on the Owen Wister novel.

McClure starred in science fiction films such as At the Earth's Core, The Land That Time Forgot and The People That Time Forgot, all three based on the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  In 1967, he played the Errol Flynn role in a re-make of Against All Flags titled The King's Pirate.  He was cast in the lead in two World War II adventures, The Longest Hundred Miles and The Birdmen.  In the 1970s and 1980s, McClure appeared in commercials for Hamms Beer.  In 1994, McClure was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television at 7065 Hollywood Blvd. It was unveiled in what was his final public appearance.

The character of Troy McClure on The Simpsons was designed after him along with the late Troy Donahue.  Mike Reiss, executive producer of The Simpsons, said that Doug McClure's daughter informed him that Doug was a big fan of The Simpsons.  She said that while watching an episode Doug saw the character Troy McClure on the show and said, "Are they making fun of me?"  Doug said he thought the parody was funny and his kids would call him Troy McClure behind his back as a joke.

 

Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

  • Genre: Horror – Sci-Fi
  • Directed:
    • Barbara Peeters 
    • Jimmy T. Murakami
  • Produced:
    • Martin B. Cohen 
    • Hunt Lowry 
    • Roger Corman
  • Written:
    • Frank Arnold (Story) 
    • Martin B. Cohen (Story) 
    • William Martin (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, Vic Morrow, Cindy Weintraub, Anthony Pena, Denise Galik, Lynn Theel, Meegan King, Breck Costin, Hoke Howell, Don Maxwell, David Strassman
  • Music: James Horner
  • Cinematography: Daniel Lacambre
  • Editing: Mark Goldblatt
  • Studio: New World Pictures
  • Distributed:
    • New World Pictures  
    • Nova Film  
    • New Horizons Home Video  
    • Shout! Factory  
    • Warner Home Video
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: May 1980 (USA)
  • Running Time: 80 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

Fishermen from the fishing village of Noyo, California catch what appears to be some kind of monster in the netting of their boat.  The young son of one of the fishermen falls into the water and is dragged under the surface by something unseen.  Another fisherman prepares a flare gun, but he slips and shoots it accidentally into the deck, which is soaked with gasoline dropped earlier by the boy, causing the vessel to burst into flames and then explode; everybody onboard is killed.  The explosion is witnessed by Jim Hill and his wife Carol.  Later, Carol's dog goes missing and the two find its dismembered corpse on the nearby beach.

The following night, teenagers Jerry Potter and Peggy Larson go for a swim at the beach.  Jerry is abruptly pulled under.  Peggy believes it is simply a prank until she discovers his horribly mutilated corpse.  The screaming girl tries to make it to the beach but she is attacked and dragged onto the sand by a monstrous figure.  The humanoid thing tears off her swimming suit and rapes her.

At night, two more teens are on the same beach in a small tent.  Billy is about to have sex with his girlfriend, Becky when another humanoid monster claws its way inside, brutally kills him and chases the girl onto the beach. She manages to outrun her assailant but then runs straight into the arms of yet another humanoid, who throws her onto the sand and rapes her.  More attacks follow, not all of them successful, but few witnesses are left to tell the public about what's happening; only Peggy is found alive, though severely traumatized.  Jim's brother is also victimized, prompting Jim to take a personal interest in the matter.

A company called Canco has announced plans to build a huge cannery near Noyo.  It turns out that the murderous, sex-hungry mutations are apparently the result of Canco's experimentation with a growth hormone they had earlier administered to salmon.  The salmon escaped from the laboratory facilities into the ocean during a storm, and were then eaten by other larger fish who proceeded to mutate into the brutal and depraved humanoids who have begun to terrorize the village.

By the time Jim and Dr. Susan Drake, a Canco scientist, have figured out what is going on, it is too late to stop the village's annual carnival from starting.  At the carnival, the humanoids show up in droves, relentlessly murdering the men and raping every woman they can grab.  Luckily, Jim devises a plan to stop the marauding beasts by spreading gasoline into the bay where the festival is taking place and setting it on fire, cutting off the beasts' way of retreat.  Meanwhile Carol is attacked by two of the creatures at home, but manages to kill them before Jim arrives.

The morning after the carnival, everything seems about to return to normal.  However, Peggy has survived her sexual assault and is about to give birth when her monstrous offspring suddenly bursts out of her stomach in a fountain of blood.  Peggy starts screaming profusely and the baby lets out a screech, just before the screen cuts to black and the film ends.

Humanoids from the Deep is a 1980s updating of similarly plotted genre offerings from the 1950s and '60s - Del Tenney's 1964 The Horror of Party Beach in particular - with the addition of lots of graphic violence and nudity.  The film was a modest financial success for New World Pictures.

Critical reviews were far from laudatory.  Paul Taylor, in Time Out, said that “Despite the sex of the director, a more blatant endorsement of exploitation cinema's current anti-women slant would be hard to find…Peeters also lays on the gore pretty thick amid the usual visceral drive-in hooks and rip-offs from genre hits; and with the humor of an offering like Piranha entirely absent, this turns out to be a nasty piece of work all round."  Phil Hardy’s The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror, said, after noting that additional sex and violence scenes had been edited into the film without director Peeter’s knowledge, “…weighed down as it is with solemn musings about ecology and dispossessed Indians, it looks as if it had always been a hopeless case."  Nathaniel Thompson, on his Mondo Digital website, observed, “Director Peeters claimed that Roger Corman added some of the more explicit shots of slimy nudity at the last minute to give the film some extra kick, but frankly, the movie needed it.  Though competently handled, the lack of visual style, occasionally slow pacing, and peculiar lack of (intentional) humor hinder this from becoming an all-out trash masterpiece…”  But Michael Weldon, writing in his Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, opined, “Many were offended by the rape aspect of this fast-paced thriller featuring lots of Creature from the Black Lagoon-inspired monsters…Like it or not, it was a hit and is not dull.”

WARNING: Trailer is very NSFW – You’re gonna see boobies.

 

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