Running Time: 80 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Format: Standard 4:3
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Languages: English
Subtitles: None
Region: 1
MSRP: $14.98

Own It!
Humanoids from the Deep - Roger Corman Classics (1980)

A fish cannery experimenting with gene-splicing to accelerate the growth and size of salmon accidentally allows some of the experiments to escape; the result is the rapid evolution of ill-tempered fish-men, who for some reason feel a need to mate with human women.

Largely hailed as a return to old-fashioned monster movies, Humanoids does show a degree of by-the-numbers exploitation filmmaking, using motifs lifted wholesale from slasher movies, Jaws, and Alien; some fine FX work by a young Rob Bottin and an energetic climax keep the derivative script and odious central concept of cross-species rape from landing this flick totally in the gutter.

You can read The Bad Movie Report's full review here.

The fullscreen presentation was a bit of a surprise, but I also suspect the original ratio of the film wasn't all that wide - compositions are rarely, if ever, compromised. The image tends toward softness, but colors are stable and there is nary a hint of grain in the night scenes. A stereo re-mix of the sound serves mainly to highlight James Horner's score, itself fairly derivative of his own work on Alien.

The interactive menus feature one of the Humanoids' POV swims through seaweed, and the chapter listings shows some creativity: each of the video clips plays in a ship's porthole. There is a thoroughly useless three and a half minute interview of producer Roger Corman by Leonard Maltin; and trailers for Humanoids, Death Race 2000, Big Bad Mama, Eat My Dust, and Grand Theft Auto.

There are also talent bios, which are a mixed and odd lot; there are bios for Corman and the three main stars, Doug McClure, Ann Turkel and Vic Morrow; composer James Horner; and then Hoke Howell, who gets killed in the first five minutes of the movie, and Denise Galik-Furey, a minor character who dies at about the forty-minute mark. Did they have relatives in the DVD authoring service? Is director Barbara Peters absent because she disowned this movie after claiming that Corman added nudity and gore after her final cut?

Such speculation I find much more entertaining than the actual movie that spawned it. You are either going to love or hate this movie, and if you love it, this is a good buy, the best way available to own it. If you're in the other camp - as am I - you can join me in returning it to your rental place with a heavy sigh, and hoping that the next rental is more enjoyable.

Freeman Williams, 7/12/00