Humanoids from the Deep

3 out of 5

Directed by: Barbara Peeters and Jimmy T. Murakami

On the one hand, this is really prime B-movie creature feature stuff, with its straight-faced presentation providing for some competent acting and dialogue exchanges, and encouraging a tad more variation on the ecological-malfeasance-turned-physical-monster setup. Its camp value runs pretty high, with clear cost-cutting in effect and lots of cheesecake – let’s just pause to make sure this boob is in frame – and then when it turns out to have saved the budget from some pretty impressive creature work (Rob Bottin!), directors Barbara Peeters and Jimmy T. Murakami executing some good mayhem during a cabin attack and concluding carnival massacre, the film’s notability kicks up a notch, straddling the line between indulgence and competent horror.

On the other hand, the women-in-peril legacy of horror can cut a couple different ways. When the girl just so happens to get interrupted mid-shower and screams into the camera, or is interrupted mid-coitus and thus takes a nudie jaunt while being chased – after her boyfriend is viscerally offed, of course – one’s tolerance of this in general may vary, and it’s all still couched within a maxim of sex and violence selling, but this can be done with a bit of relative “innocence” to it, at least as far as what we see on this side of the screen. However, when the girl is caught and the killer has some plans besides stabbing them, it becomes something else; I can’t help but cringe a little bit when that pause on the boobs is in the midst of the girl getting sexually assaulted. And Humanoids from the Deep, having the justification for its creatures-attacking-humanity as, essentially, they want to rape our women, well… it’s almost all the latter.

Sometimes it starts out pretty funny, with one couple’s inevitable sex-death delayed multiple times, or the complete randomness of a dude using his puppet to flirt his lady out of her clothes, but all of these scenes eventually become: monster grabs girl, tosses her down, and gets busy while she flashes some skin. When you find out that “rape all the women” producer Roger Corman had another director come in and add these scenes, it fills in the blank why those moments seem so separate from the rest of the movie.

So I go back and forth on Humanoids from the Deep, because its trashiness does fulfill some B-movie requisites, but the inconsistency of how it wields that is distracting, and that there’s a kinda pretty okay silly creature feature sneaked in there makes that divide more noticeable.

In Humanoids From the Deep, a fishing village in California is poised for big changes with the incoming cannery, and move which (for reasons not quite made clear) some of the locals protest, but most are in support of due to its proposed benefits, which include upping the salmon population. …Until it turns out that the cannery is also, indirectly, the cause of these killer sea creatures… Cue people in fish suits slashing boyfriends and humping the women.