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Humanoids from the Deep(1980)
Something horrendous is happening in the sleepy fishing village of Noyo. An aquaculture experiment has gone very wrong and the results-fish-like humanoids- are rising from the sea to spawn their vengeance.
For more about Humanoids from the Deep and the Humanoids from the Deep Blu-ray release, see Humanoids from the Deep Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 2, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, Vic Morrow, Cindy Weintraub
Director: Barbara Peeters
» See full cast & crew
Humanoids from the Deep Blu-ray Review
Off the deep end.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 2, 2010
We have no idea how many there are.
Humanoids From the Deep is easily one of the most frustrating of all the Roger Corman-produced New World Pictures films. Here's a movie with no rhythm, little focus, a mangled plot, a haphazard script, inconsequential characters, and a terrible climax. Corman's pictures aren't exactly beacons of all that's good in the cinematic medium; his films tend towards the exploitative, capturing grotesque visuals and naked female bodies while usually made on the cheap and targeted to the drive-in audiences of the 1970s and 1980s. Many have since become cult classics for one reason or another -- justifiably so -- and most at least deliver focused stories, even if the nudity and violence sometimes seem wrenched into the plot. That notion of force-fed exploitation is taken to the extreme with Humanoids From the Deep, the picture one that's seemingly of two distinct styles, ideas, and stories. Director Barbara Peeters' cut was deemed too tame, and Roger Corman ordered the film retooled to include more of his trademark elements into the final product; many of the more hardcore elements -- particularly the creature-on-girl rape scenes -- were completed by a different director. It's a formula for disaster, and indeed, it certainly does no favors for Humanoids From the Deep, an admittedly fun but structurally-impaired picture that just doesn't capture that Roger Corman magic.
The salmon have disappeared from the local waters off the shore of the small fishing community of Noyo. After a troller is destroyed under suspicious circumstances and the local canine population turns up not only dead but grotesquely mangled, tensions rise and warring factions fall into verbal conflict. That't nothing compared to the true threat that Noyo's about to face. The town's real enemy turns out to be mutated sea monster humanoids with a knack for murder and a ravenous sexual appetite for the town's young female population. When teenagers start disappearing or turning up dead, the town falls into disarray; it's revealed that there may be a connection between the disappearing salmon and the scientific community's efforts to reinforce that population, but the slow going on the high seas, empty nets, dwindling bank accounts, and in-fighting amongst the townsfolk soon become afterthoughts when the humanoids from the deep ramp up their attacks and threaten to tear the town apart.
Humanoids From the Deep is a picture of stark contrasts that's defined by and culminates with a visually confused, boring, and tripe finale that seems fitting considering how random the film feels during its first two acts. Humanoids cant seem to decide if it's a small-town-in-turmoil Drama or a completely insane exploitation flick, so what does it do? It tosses both elements into blender to produce its third act. The picture's first two acts are predominantly defined by Drama with only hints of what's to come, but while the movie establishes the town-in-turmoil plot, it randomly cuts to teenagers being slaughtered or raped by the creatures and goes back to the in-fighting and dramatic elements that make up the bulk of the picture. The sudden transitions from drama to exploitative ultra-violence seem as jarring as the injection of vampires into From Dusk Till Dawn, but Robert Rodriguez handles his topsy-turvy material far better and to the point that it only improves his movie. Humanoids From the Deep, however, feels like two completely different films spliced together and with a final act that haphazardly integrates the two in hopes of building some cohesion and a coherent story. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work.
Otherwise, there are a few things to like about this Roger Corman picture. It's plenty gory and gratuitously sexy without going overboard Forbidden World style. Even if the plot can't find its footing, the visuals are built on a strong foundation that supports the right balance between violence and sex, and while there's not much humor in the film, it does play with an ever-so-slight wink-and-a-nod that asks its audience to just sit back and enjoy the ride; after all, who could possibly take seriously slimy green creatures taking advantage of nubile young girls who just so happen to lose their tops in every scene? Speaking of the creatures, they look rather good; Humanoids hails from the pre-CGI era (thankfully saving viewers from more ScyFy-like bad special effects) and while it's obvious that the creatures are but actors in costumes, the costumes look great with plenty of slime and seaweed adding to that Creature From the Black Lagoon motif (and no doubt hiding things like seams and zippers and buttons). The picture's gore is nicely realized, too, and adding the finishing touches is an early score from James Horner (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Glory, Field of Dreams) that's a nice complimentary piece to the film and strongly supportive in building the atmosphere in several well-done scenes that look like they could be straight out of a John Carpenter movie.
Humanoids from the Deep Blu-ray, Video Quality
Humanoids from the Deep's 1080p transfer is the best yet to come from Shout! Factory's Roger Corman Blu-ray releases. Like the other Corman titles, this one's littered with some excess noise, crushed blacks, random lines, dirt and debris, blooming, a few soft elements, and a bit of banding, but none of it, save for the noise, appears with any kind of excess. Given the picture's age, cheap production, and the like, it's a bit easier to dismiss the problems found about the transfer, particularly considering that some of them actually enhance the film's drive-in appeal while the image as a whole still benefits from the Blu-ray boost. Indeed, colors and details are surprisingly strong in many places; the opening minutes on a fishing boat feature nicely-rendered rusty and weathered surfaces while also capturing the nuances of the wooden deck and the trinkets scattered about the ship. Several exterior scenes come alive with nicely-detailed sand and dirt terrains and foliage. Colors are surprisingly steady and vibrant in many scenes, too, even if they do fade a bit in a few places, notably around some of the softer shots in the film. Humanoids From the Deep certainly doesn't stand toe-to-toe with some of the best of the new releases-turned-Blu-ray, but all things considered, this is a top-notch transfer from Shout! Factory.
Humanoids from the Deep Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Like Piranha, Humanoids from the Deep features a messy but adequate PCM 2.0 soundtrack. There's not much to this one; it's center-focused and rarely features any distinctive elements off to the sides. It's an ear-piercing track that's too loud at normal listening levels, and even though it's never lacking in volume, it wants for the crispness and spaciousness of better tracks, even those of the 2.0 variety. There are a few pops scattered about the track, while screams, music, and some dialogue sound shrill and indistinct. Several sound effects -- a ringing telephone, a few gunshots -- are also absent clarity and play instead like canned tape-recorded effects. Still, the track more often than not chugs along well enough; there are some jarring elements that will have listeners lamenting the absence of a more refined presentation, but things never get so bad as to ruin the experience.
Humanoids from the Deep Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Humanoids from the Deep's Blu-ray release sports a rather short assortment of extras compared to Shout! Factory's other Roger Corman high definition releases. First up is The Making of 'Humanoids From the Deep' Featuring New Interviews with Roger Corman, Second Unit Director James Sbardellati, Actress Linda Shayne (Miss Salmon), Composer James Horner, and Many More (1080i, 22:42). As it's described, this is an interview piece that looks back on the production through cast and crew interviews and clips from the film. The discussions include Director Barbara Peeters' take on the film; the absence of exploitative elements in her cut; the lack of thrills and scares; the cast and crew's displeasure with the final product; the elements such as music, editing, and special effects that enhance the picture; the design of the creature suits; the demanding nature of a Roger Corman production; the role of women in Roger Corman films; and much more. This is a very strong, informative, and entertaining supplement that's more interesting and worthwhile than the movie; it's a must-see companion to Humanoids From the Deep.
Leonard Malting Interviews Roger Corman on the Making of the Film (480p, 3:26) features the famed producer and the longtime critic discussing the picture. Also included is a series of "never-before-seen" deleted scenes (1080p, 7:19); a radio spot advertising the film (1080p, 0:32); a TV spot (1080p, 0:32); a poster and still gallery (1080p); the Humanoids From the Deep trailers (480p) in English (1:47) and German (1:43); and additional 480p trailers for Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World, and Up From the Depths. The case features reversible cover art and a full-color eight-page booklet with an introduction from Roger Corman and the essay "Half Man, Half Fish, All Good!" by Michael Felsher.
Humanoids from the Deep Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Humanoids from the Deep is a disjointed and disappointing entry into the Roger Corman catalogue. It lacks a coherent structure and flow and can't seem to decide what in the world it is or wants to be. It's got all the hallmark elements of classic Corman exploitation rubbish, but the absence of stronger pacing and purpose -- even considering a third-tier film like this -- is too much for it to overcome. There's some nifty creature effects and gore to be found, though, not to mention a few decently intense scenes supported by a good early score from James Horner, but ultimately, Humanoids From the Deep sinks far more often than it swims. On the plus side, Shout! Factory's Blu-ray delivers a strong 1080p transfer, a midlevel soundtrack, and a nice but rather limited array of extras. Corman completists will want to pick this one up, but genre fans unfamiliar with the film would be smart to rent before committing to a purchase.
Humanoids from the Deep Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Piranha, Humanoids from the Deep Blu-ray Detailed - May 27, 2010
Shout! Factory has revealed the full details for the two titles it will release on Blu-ray on August 3 as part of its Roger Corman's Cult Classic collection: Piranha (Joe Dante, 1978) and Humanoids from the Deep (Barbara Peters, 1980). The latter will feature a ...
• Humanoids from the Deep Blu-ray Coming Soon - May 15, 2010
An early announcement to retailers indicates that, on August 3, Shout! Factory will release on Blu-ray another title from the Roger Corman Cult Classics collection: Humanoids from the Deep, a 1980 horror movie about an aquaculture experiment gone wrong, resulting ...
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