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In so many words… exploitation, mutation, and half-witted pandemonium are all essential in making a Roger Corman production come to fruition, given there were very few women directing such nutty monstrosities. Aside from Stephanie Rothman, I am loosely amazed Barbara Peeters was able to direct the 1980 somewhat horror/sci-fi campy disaster (all in good fun) HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP. Oh boy!

From reading up on the film what was supposed to start out being “an intelligent suspenseful science fiction story” mutated into an exploitative frenzy of blatant nudity which did nothing for the story except make me roll my eyes. This of course was all at the command of Corman himself, and apparently fired Barbara Peeters because she refused to film such additional scenes. Atta girl Barbara! So I suppose Jimmy T. Murakami should receive credit for directing those scenes even though he’s not credited? In the end even, Peeters didn’t want the director credit.

As the logline goes, HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP is about a small costal town suddenly becomes vulnerable to these sea monster creatures, who are attacking men and raping women. As it unfolds further, a corporation that takes root as a cannery for salmon is actually, the culprit for doing scientific experiments that go wrong and such mistakes are now out there in the real world raising hell.

Despite the sleaziness of HUMANOIDS you can tell where Peeters wanted this to be an intelligent film, because there’s a scene of clarification to how these sea monsters originated and its aided with evidence of 16mm film and a brief lecture. This is followed by probably the most entertaining last twenty minutes of the film, where all havoc ensues. Pacing wise its not so stellar, but that doesn’t take away from the deranged nuttiness especially the moronic merry-go-round tidbit. I actually laughed out loud at its lunacy and the rubber-made sea monster creatures which reminds me of how cute baby Godzilla probably must have been. Given these monsters go rampant with tearing limbs and bodies to shreds I’m very confused why they have to rape women? Oh right sleazy exploitation film that intentionally rips off a scene from ALIEN? I suppose that really underlines the cheap, nearly slapstick horror of it.

If anything this was a great ode to feature creature flicks and with music composed by James Horner really sells it especially when there are moments where it feels like a slight homage to the Hitchcock Chord. Doug McClure and Ann Turkel make the top bill in acting, but are probably reluctant to tack on to their resumes. It packs in numerous explosions, with mandatory goriness, super fun make-up effects, and gratuitous antics which will make a typical hormonal induced teen giggle of course given today’s crop of Generation Z kiddos maybe not. HUMANOIDS will always have its place in the cult classic, low budget, b-movie community and will hopefully make its glorious appearance on TCM’S Underground some day and I’m totally okay with that because I treasure what TCM Underground does for these films. Someone has to pass on the torch and love them for their rigorous place in history to make blatantly decent entertainment.


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