Humanoids from the Deep

03/10/2023 08:13

Film: Humanoids from the Deep

Year: 1980

Director: Barbara Peeters

Writer: William Martin

Starring: Doug McClure, Ann Turkel and Vic Morrow



This is a movie that I knew about from a young age. My dad liked it, but he didn’t let me watch it from what I remember. There is quite a bit of nudity so that could be it. It is one that I heard about on podcasts, but it was a blind spot. I decided to give it a watch due to it having a female director to support for Women Appreciation on my podcast, Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast.

Synopsis: humanoid sea creatures start killing a fishing town’s residents and raping their women. It’s up to the townsfolk and a visiting biologist to fight back to fend them off.

We start this off with getting a lay of the land and an underwater scene. Through this, we see it is a coastal town that is held up by fishing industry. We learn that the salmon are almost gone. A large company wants to come in and open a cannery. There is a split in the town of people of those in favor and those who are not.

There is an interesting opening scene to stage that there could be something else in the water. A series of unfortunate events lead to a boat exploding with a father, his son and his crew dying. Another is a bunch of dogs are killed on the dock and the surrounding area. Everyone’s but the local Native American, Johnny Eagle (Anthony Pena).

Where I want to go from there is that our lead is Jim Hill (Doug McClure). He is married to Carol (Cindy Weintraub). They also have a son. He gets along with Johnny and can handle the local jerk, Hank Slattery (Vic Morrow). He tries to keep the peace. Upcoming in the town is the Salmon Festival. Canco is the company trying to put in the cannery. They also have a plan that involves Dr. Susan Drake (Ann Turkel) to get the salmon population back up.

There is a dangerous side effect though. Her experiments might have created a monster that is lurking in the waters. It has rapidly created something that sees man as its only threat. It also sees a chance to breed more of their population with the local women as the synopsis said.

That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is with the pacing of this movie. At heart, it is a monster movie. We are getting these creatures that are attacking. I like that this has an opening sequence that leads to deaths. Then from there, we get them at a good clip. There are people who suspect something is happening and then they’re taken out before the rest of the town can be alerted. This also has a runtime of 80 minutes, which is perfect and it doesn’t outstay its welcome.

Now with that set up, I want to go to the creature itself. This is hinting that something is up with this company and Dr. Susan Drake. She is doing experiments that lead to these humanoids being created. She says something to Jim. There is an explanation later in the movie as well. There is a commentary here as well about the company trying to cover it up. They want to make money, but don’t want to deal with the consequences. I like this subtle jab at capitalism. It isn’t in your face or over the top, but it is still effective. I like that there is a grounded explanation as to why these monsters are here and that humanity is to blame. There’s also an interesting idea that they are vying to be an apex predator and attacking humans. The chance to populate their species as well.

I’m not sure there is anything else that I need to cover for the story so I’ll take this over to the filmmaking. I’ll start with the effects. I love seeing that these creatures are practical. Roger Corman was behind this so I’m not shocked there. They don’t look perfect, but they’re still quite great. The cinematography helps there. We do hide them as much as we can until later in the movie which I appreciate. I think this is shot well overall. Other than that, the soundtrack fit for what was needed.

All that is left to go into would be with the acting. McClure is good as our lead. I love that he’s a good man and wants to do the right thing. He disagrees with Johnny and his stance on the cannery, but he still respects him. That can’t be said for everyone. Turkel is good as our doctor who knows more than we realize at first. Morrow and his group of goons are fine. They are typical for small towns which I appreciate. Other than that, I’d say that Weintraub and the rest of cast are solid. Special props to all the women that get nude. There are a lot of them and it does feel a bit sleazy if I’m honest. It is also interesting to see a young Greg Travis as Mike Michaels, the radio announcer.

In conclusion, this movie was better than I was expecting. We get a solid creature feature that has an interesting eco-horror message underneath. There is sleaze with what the creatures do to women and the amount of nudity. We do get charm with the latter. The acting is solid across the board. This is well made with the effects being a bright spot there. I can’t fully recommend this to everyone though. If you like eco-horror or creature features, give this a watch.


My Rating: 7.5 out of 10