Review by Prof. Aglaophotis

Plot Outline: We start our little tale in the small Northern Californian fishing town of Noyo, where much trouble is a brewing. The salmon in the area have been becoming more minuscule by the day as the town’s festival draws nearer. However, a canning company known as Can co. (oh yes, THAT’S original) plans to change that, not only to help catch more fish, but to genetically improve the size and amount of salmon in the area. In the mean time, some odd problems arrive when fishermen start catching marine life that continues to break the wires, all of the dogs in the town get slaughtered and Hank Slatery (Vic Morrow) and his inebriated posse find more reasons to pick on the local Native American Johnny Eagle (Anthony Penya). All the while, beach hopping amorous couples get violently attacked by vicious sea creatures who hack up the men and rape their dates and everyday-man Jim Hill (Doug McClure), Johnny and marine biologist Dr. Susan Drake (Ann Turkel) start playing detective after Jim’s brother gets attacked by a pack of similar inhuman marine life. Oh, and didn’t I mention the local festival was coming?


The Review
Although a bit of a digression, I have encountered various unique plot twists and story ideas, one of the more popular being the further development and future of mankind, after such existence has gone so far in the line of advancing intelligence and simultaneous stupidity. Yet, I find this question to be irritatingly incessant, for it has been interpreted in one too many ways and the answers are almost always brought into a black or white category, with some good occasional imagination, but lack of originality. There is something wholly unique about Humanoids from the Deep, as it somehow brings a clever method of coming to the conclusion of that question without incessantly bringing it up through the movie. We are given scenes of social violence and local acts of racism that was made to recognize the socio-economic impacts of events in the town, as well as setting up protagonist/support roles and antagonistic categories, and keeping anyone from acting on the problem at hand, but the question regarding humankind’s future did not fully arise or show relevance until near the end of the movie as the origin of these creatures were being analyzed. It’s nothing to make too big of a deal out of, I’ll admit, but when you familiarize with different storylines, you’ll see a lot of repetition and failed good ideas. While this came close by means of diction (which I will emphasize on later), the message still delivered. Another level of importance is to show that even the antagonistic characters showed signs of heroism near the end as their eyes are opened to the relevance of the creatures, simply to remind the audience that despite their bad qualities, there’s hardly ever a black or white matter to every human being in this world (especially when they’re being attacked by murderous amphibious monsters).

The movie had a nice sized budget as it boasts with explosions here and there, shows skin being scraped off the bone and the minimal use of sets, but its limit shows in various little parts of the movie, as we see the same close up shots of humanoids getting shot with a 30.6 here and a 3.06 there, repeated continuity shots of Doug McClure firing a gun in a previous scene, as well as two ‘clever’ reverse slow motion shots and a crowd’s screams are obviously looped for more than five minutes of film (a flare gun to some gas on the deck blowing up an ENTIRE ship, or an ol’ Molotv Cocktail blowing up a one story house on direct impact being the latter). The spectacle of slimy half skeletal monsters slashing and raping shoves the movie into a different light which is beneficial for the sci-fi/horror movie genre, for it adds a new level of discouragement for audiences aside from just having bloodthirsty monsters and gory murders being the primary focus (which is why most people have found it distasteful and I was just surprised in that ‘Whoa!’ sense) and the monsters themselves were designed pretty well to look like what they evolved from. Though not particularly well acted or dictated for that matter (it’s sardonic that a marine biologist cannot even manage to pronounce the word coelacanth correctly), the characters were believable and the partial exposition amidst conversations worked in order to understand the characters a little better. Another semi-positive aspect of the film was its almost apparent lack of clichés, as mentioned earlier with the lack of 100% human antagonists, regardless of their negative aspects. There was an apparent minimum of over-used/noticeable sci-fi clichés until, surprisingly enough, the final scene in the movie where the threats of human existence increases, but in a far too predictable manner.

The Conclusion
From the banter I have produced it’s obvious that amidst its pros and cons, I still enjoyed it, but if the latter you find distasteful (brief monster rape scenes being the bulk), then I doubt this movie would be your forte. Otherwise, Humanoids from the Deep is definitely a sit-down with-a-sophomorically-fun-social-crowd-with-pop-and-popcorn-bowl-in-hand sort of movie. The movie manages to keep your eyes on the screen and keep you involved in the unfolding events regardless of the occasional flaws.

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