Thursday, August 12, 2010

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (Blu-ray)

In 1980, Roger Corman's new World Pictures released one of its most successful - and most slimy - monster movies to the drive-in circuit, HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP. Now, Shout! Factory has unleashed on Blu-Ray and DVD this satisfyingly sordid tale of lascivious amphibians with a newly-remastered and improved presentation, as part of their "Roger Corman Cult Classics" line.

Trouble's brewing in the small Northwestern fishing community of Noyo as the local residents heatedly debate the building of a new cannery that some independent fishermen fear will destroy their business. Tempers flare and fists fly... but the residents of Noyo soon have a bigger problem on their hands in the shape of half-human, half-fish mutations that are driven to procreate, and have targeted the local townswomen as their mates!

When Corman assigned the directorial chores to his long-time assistant Barbara Peeters, I'm sure he figured she knew what a "Roger Corman movie" about rampaging fishmen should be like. After all, she'd been with him for a while, and surely had a good idea of what he - and his exhibitors - required. But when she delivered her cut of the film, it lacked the expected exploitation elements of nudity and gore. When she refused to film the requested material, Corman fired her, handed a camera and a few thousand bucks to Jimmy T. Murakami (BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS), and sent him out to shoot extra scenes, which neophyte editor Mark Goldblatt (THE TERMINATOR, T2, RAMBO, PEARL HARBOR, etc.) deftly intercut with Peeters' footage to craft a fast-paced, boobs & blood monster mash that raked in huge box office bux in the Summer of 1980.

While the finished film does have a bit of a slapped-together feel to it, it's still a great example of low-budget drive-in horror, with a solid B-movie cast including Doug McClure (THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT), Ann Turkel (DEEP SPACE), and, in another fine turn as a bigot, Vic Morrow (DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY). In addition, there are some extremely cool monster suits and gore effects by a young Rob Bottin (THE HOWLING, JOHN CARPENTER'S THE THING), and an atmospheric, menace-filled score by James Horner (ALIENS, AVATAR).

Shout! Factory brings HUMANOIDS to Blu-Ray with a crystal-clear, 1.78:1 1080p HD widescreen transfer of the uncut, international version of the film, and Dolby 2.0 audio. The disc ports over the extras from the old New Horizons, full-frame DVD, and a few new ones, as well. This bonus material includes a new "Making Of" documentary, never-before-seen deleted scenes, trailers, TV and radio spots, and previews for other Corman titles. As with other releases in this line, there is also a booklet of liner notes (8 pages) and a reversible sleeve that sports the international poster art and title MONSTER.

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP is a fun and sleazy exploitation monster flick that delivers the good. Peeters (and star Ann Turkel) may have complained about the violence and sex being gratuitous, but there wouldn't have been a movie without it. As usual, Corman's commercial instincts were right on the money - literally - and even today, it holds up as great, trashy entertainment.

Recommended.

BUY: Humanoids from the Deep (Roger Corman's Cult Classics) [Blu-ray]

BUY: Humanoids From The Deep [Roger Corman's Cult Classics] [DVD]