Amphibious creatures begin attacking the local lads and raping the women in this gloriously gory schlock horror from Roger Corman’s Roger Corman’s New Word Pictures.
In a small fishing village, tensions are frayed when a big cannery promises to open a plant there. While it may be good for the economy, the local Native American community feel it will destroy their land. One other small drawback is the way the company has pledged to increase local salmon supply has a side effect of creating human-size creatures that are set on propagating their species by procreating with the young ladies. Square-jawed Jim (Doug McClure, you may remember him from such films as Warlords of Atlantis) wants the factory, but doesn’t approve of the bully-boy tactics of beer-swilling loud mouth Hank (Vic Morrow, playing the racist developer role that he was so often pigeonholed). Meanwhile, the company’s scientist Susan (Ann Turkel) knows more than she’s letting on, and the town is getting ready to welcome thousands of visitors for their annual ‘salmon festival’; what could possibly go wrong? Well, rampaging fish-men for one!
Part-Alien, part-Jaws, and all exploitation, Humanoids from the Deep was a controversial film at the time of release. It was directed by Barbara Peeters, who provided the impressive gore but not enough sex for Corman’s liking, so reshoots involving rapey walking fish were added before the release. The luridness isn’t as shocking as it once was, although the copious nudity stands out as over the top when you’re more used to seeing the much-missed McClure battle rubber beasts in family-friendly flicks. With effects from Rob Bottin (The Thing) and Chris Walas (The Fly) you can’t go wrong and the creature design is very memorable in only the way a man-in-a-rubber-suit performance can be.
Blending eco concerns with the shocks, Humanoids from the Deep is a fun romp that doesn’t waste time on things like character development. 88 Films’ Blu-ray release contains an impressive retrospective ‘making of’ with many of the cast and crew (including Corman) having their say. A vintage clip of Roger talking about the film with Leonard Maltin is welcome, too. The often-silent deleted scenes are likely mostly from the reshoots as they are mainly more nude attacks. Two commentaries - one by Kim Newman and Sean Hogan and an infectious chat-track from Samm Deighan - are incredibly informative and well worth a listen. A great package for a film that holds a place in many an exploitation fans’ heart.