Last set of reviews were shark movies, and to keep the summer theme going I’m going to look at thirteen water-monster and bug-monster related movies. B-movies from the 1970s and 1980s, mostly. We’re starting with the classic Humanoids from the Deep. Almost a year to the day of the first movie review I did in this vein (b-movies from Full Moon and their associated production companies), it seems fitting to hit up another seriously B-movie like this. So we’re also going back to the very original report card, plus a few categories.
Like Jaws, this movie takes place in a town that relies on the water for the people to make a living. It isn’t a tourist town, though — it’s a fishing town, and there’s talk of a cannery opening up that will further hurt the struggling fishing industry (we should totally start calling it fishmining). But that’s not the real problem… the real problem is… humanoids… from the deep!
Starring Doug McClure, who you’d recognize from such films as… wait, wrong guy. But James Horner does the score — the James Horner.
All right, so the movie was made in 1980. The filming, effects, and all, are consistent for that time period. Out of the gate I’m going to give everyone the Dog Dies warning. These humanoids freaking hate dogs and kill several of them right up front in the movie. Just getting that right out there. Another warning: these humanoids want to produce hybrids with human females, one straight up rapes a woman around a half hour in, and that’s sort of their M.O. through the movie: killing your dog and raping women, sometimes kidnapping them. That’s pretty damn creepy.
Warnings and introductions aside, just how does the movie do?
Well, we’ve got a fair amount of the ingredients for a B-movie in it: A band of idiotic, xenophobic townspeople; a corrupt mayor/boss figure; a big city scientist to explain it to the locals; a big bad corporation and related genetic/waste experiment gone wrong; some gross monsters; and, finally, townspeople getting it on in or around a body of water. The surest way to get killed.
One area this movie does a great job with is the monsters themselves. For a movie filmed in 1980 they look really good. It’s basically an army of creatures from the black lagoon but they look different enough to be unique. They’re ugly sea monsters with some humanoid features. And like humans, they’re strong but fragile — none of this “the monster survives a thousand gunshots” stuff. There’s nothing supernatural about them. They’re genetic freaks.
There’s also a lot of them but not an unrealistic amount for a small town to fight off.
In summation, this is the kind of B-movie monster flick I really like: 70s/80s environmental concerns creating a freak of nature, plaguing a small town, but they’re something the town can and does fight off. That’s a nice touch. And the ending is a nice, icky twist. This is a solid B-movie type movie — it’s a B+ Movie.
Runtime: An hour twenty.
Acting: Above average, for a B-movie… in places. The acting is scattered.
Effects: Practical, and pretty good.
Violence: Oh yeah.
Dead Townsfolk: Over a dozen directly killed.
Gun Use: Fairly realistic.
Gore: A little, yeah.
Monster Type? Humanoids… from the deep!
Funny? Here and there, but it’s not a horror comedy.
Nudity: Full frontal (brief) and topless female (brief but frequent).
Pet Death: (NEW! Specifically for this movie) Several.
Pacing: Decent enough, it builds slow but gets active and stays that way.