Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

There are classics and then there are CLASSICS! I am here to tell you that the Roger Corman mutated fish monster tale from 1980 ‘Humanoids From the Deep’ is definitely the latter. One of the few good things about having an older brother, particularly one who is about six years older than you, is that his subpar efforts at ‘babysitting’ usually consisted of taking me to some incredibly age inappropriate movie that he wanted see. Since he’s seventeen, he can get into R-rated flicks, and so when I was a kid I saw all kinds of movies that I had no business being at like ‘Scanners’, ‘Zombi’,  just to name a few, and this little classic gem. Nothing like being eleven years old and watching mutated fish rape women. My bro had mentioned this flick to me in one of his reminisce sessions and I decide I really need to own a copy, but good luck finding one because it’s out of print and the copies that were available, I’m told, have been heavily edited. An edited Humanoids is a Humanoid that I want no part of. Fortunately I have a connection or two so I was able to secure a copy of not only this classic in its pure unedited form, but also Corman’s watered down remake from 1996 which we will speak about a little later on. So how does this film hold up after damn near thirty years? Quite well, quite well indeed.

In the sleepy town of Nyo… errr.. let’s say Rhode Island because I have no idea where this place is supposed to be, these simple people just want to fish their salmon to extinction and have lots of unprotected sex. Unfortunately this rather simple pursuit is about to be brutally interrupted. The trouble starts early as fisherman Jim Hill (the late Doug McClure) takes off in his boat to mine the lakes when he and his brother Tommy (Breck Costin) notice an explosion in the distance. They pass it off as simply a tragic accident for a fellow fisherman colleague and his young son, but there was more to that rather atomic explosion than just an ‘accident’.

Meanwhile town tough guy Hank Slattery (the late Vic Morrow) is trying to keep things cool in town so that the big industry cannery people can build their new plant and theoretically bring lots of jobs to this depressed area, but snot nosed Native American Johnny Eagle (Anthony Pena) keeps whining about ‘this is our land’ and how the cannery is going ruin ‘our land’. Hank is about sick of this dude, particularly when he figures Johnny is the one who killed everybody’s dogs, but we know full well that Johnny Eagle ain’t no dog killer. Regardless, at a big shindig we meet the cannery people and their chief scientist Dr. Susan Drake (Ann Turkel) who has been performing experiments to make the salmon grow faster, bigger and more plentifuller.  That's F’n with nature and sounding like trouble to me.

Trouble it is as Dr. Drake informs us that some prehistoric fish has fed on some of these altered salmon, which manage to escape into the seaways, and have quickly turned into 7-foot, razor toothed, huge hook headed, super horny amphibious creatures who have come on land to kill our men and mate with the gloriously voluptuous young women of Nyo Rhode Island, and they have picked the day of the Nyo Salmon carnival festival to have their coming out party. We could cancel the party, but of course that is never, ever an option.  Screaming, mayhem, death and flopping titties will ensue.

So I haven’t seen this movie in an awful long time and sometimes when I revisit a film I liked as a child it disappoints me as an adult, but such is not the case with ‘Humanoids from the Deep’. Part of this is because I have never lost my love for the Monster Movie and Humanoids is certainly a true monster movie. Another part of this probably because Humanoids is so gloriously stupid and exploitative that it’s almost impossible not to be charmed by it. Director Barbara Peters, a rarity as a female director in this genre, doesn’t treat Humanoids as a campy farce, and the cast does play this thing deadly serious, particularly Ann Turkel, but it’s like they know that the whole concept behind this movie is completely ridiculous and that kind of seeps through. Another great thing about this movie is Rob Bottin’s humanoid design, to this day, remains one of the best monster designs ever. Those things are horrifying looking, probably second only to the ‘Alien’ monster as one of the best creature designs ever.

Of course in retrospect we may question the validity of a mutated fish’s ability to mate and impregnate a human, much less hit it ‘doggy style’. We may also question the necessity of a mutated fish to rip of the tops of these women and expose their breast as a fish would probably be unaware of the glory of the titty. We would think it’s a good thing that our heroes found one of these violated young women under a load of seaweed and pulled the muck away from her face, but was it necessary to also pull it away from ample breasts and just stop there so we could ogle her seaweed stained boobies, like forever? We are also curious about that Molotov Cocktail that Vic Morrow tossed at Johnny Eagle’s humble home as it exploded as if it were wired to thirty pounds of C4. That was a weapon of Mass Destruction for real. In that classic final scene, we wonder why the genetic fish biologist was dressed in scrubs delivering a baby, and though we do respect the unborn, if ever there was a need for an early termination, I’m thinking this may have been the time. But even the staunchest Pro-Life advocates don’t oppose C-sections and I’m sure the girl wasn’t clamoring for natural childbirth for her unborn fish mutated bastard offspring. Lastly, though murderous mutated raping fish creatures are a generally bad thing, think of the benefits if we could control them. I’m talking fish meat for eons yo. Put a couple of those things on an open fire spit and we got us some good ass eating and world hunger is a thing of the past. Yes, the word ‘classic’ was invented for just this kind of film.

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