Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Humanoids from the Deep (Barbara Peeters, 1980)

As we open in the murky depths of the waters just off the coast of Noyo, California, we can't help but notice a scaly, webbed hand pawing at a fishermen's net. Don't worry, I'm going to get into a heated debate with myself over who has the nicer set of thighs, Denise Galik or Lynn Theel, it's just that I would like to make this point. [Ten minutes pass] And that is? Oh, I'm sorry, I was just thinking about the prospect being sandwiched between Miss Galik and Miss Theel's luscious thighs. The point, man, make the bloody point! As I saw the scaly, webbed hand pawing at the net, I thought to myself: Great, not another cheesy monster movie where the creature rarely ever appears onscreen. And I didn't think this because I thought the filmmakers were trying to create an air of mystery around the creature, but because their monster–to put it bluntly–probably sucks a ton of ass. Even though we have to wait quite some time to see the "humanoids" in Humanoids from the Deep (a.k.a. Das Grauen aus der Tiefe), when do finally show up I was shocked by the level of craftmenship that went into their creation. Then, as the end credits were rolling, I saw name Rob Bottin listed as the creator and designer of the "humanoids." The name seemed familiar, so I did a little digging. And guess what? He designed the gooey monstrosities in The Thing! In other words, he's responsible for what I consider to be the gold standard when it comes to creature effects. This didn't change my opinion of the "humanoids" in this film, as I already thought they were awesome, it just added an extra layer of goodwill. Aww, what a cute story. Big deal, you like slimy monsters. Can we talk about you know what? You mean the Galik-Theel thigh-off? In a minute.


I'd like to mention director Barbara Peeters. Hey, wait, ain't "Barbara" a ladies name? It is (nothing gets past you). While it's not typical for a woman to direct a film about a bunch of upright sea monsters who terrorize a small fishing village, you can totally tell that Humanoids from the Deep was directed by a woman. How? I have two words for you: Hand holding. I don't get it. Lot's of movies have characters that hold hands. Yeah, romantic comedies. The amount of hand holding in this film, which features multiple scenes that involve sea monster rape, is off the charts. So, what you're saying is, because Barbara Peeters is a woman, there's more hand holding than usual? That's exactly what I'm saying. Chicks dig hand holding. It's a bonding thing.


While we're on the subject of women, the character of Johnny Eagle (Anthony Pena) seemed to have a strange feminine energy about him. But the film was written by a couple of men. Hear me out. Playing a First Nations resident of Noyo, California, Mr. Eagle opposes the building of the canning factory (fishing is the town's life blood) on so-called "Indian land." Of course, all the white folks in Noyo approve of the canning factory, as they think it will create jobs for the locals. Anyway, the stoic manner in which Johnny Eagle carried himself reminded me of one of those burly Harlequin cover models. Okay, now you're just being silly. Am I? Actually, you're right, it is kind of silly. But I got to admit, if I was a straight woman, I'd be swooning over Johnny Eagle left and right.


The scene where Johny Eagle, oozing righteous indignation from every single pore, carries his dead dog into the gymnasium where the locals are dancing to pseudo polka music made my p-p-p-pussy wet.


Remember that bit about how great it was that a woman directed Humanoids from the Deep? Yeah, well, I'd like to backtrack from that statement. Don't get me wrong, I still think Barbara Peeters did a terrific job. It's just that it has recently come to my attention that she had nothing to do with the scenes that I liked so much.  Which scenes are those, you ask? Well, I'll tell which. Any scene that involves an attractive woman being attacked by a "humanoid" was apparently shot by second unit director James Sbardellati.


Okay, now that I cleared that up. Who is killing all the dogs in the fishing village of Noyo, California? Baron, the dog belonging to a no-nonsense fishermen named Jim Hill (Doug McClure - you might know him from such films as Tapeheads and Shenandoah) and his tough as nails wife Carol Hill (Cindy Weintraub), is torn apart by a slimy creature. How do they know it's slimy? For starters, there's a trail of slime leading to the beach where they found Baron's mutilated body. That's not the important part. What is, however, is the fact that Carol says, "let's follow it," when she sees the slime trail. I have to say, Jim picked a real winner with Carol. I mean, she wants to follow a trail of slime.


Getting ready to attend a party that is in conjunction with the 75th Annual Salmon Festival, Peggy Larson (Lynn Theel) and her luscious thighs are about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting populace. So proud of the upper portion of her shapely legs, Peggy can be seen hiking up her skirt while making out with her boyfriend Jerry (Meegan King) in the parking lot.  Judging by the way they're pawing at one another, I don't think they're going to make it to the party. They didn't miss anything. The president of a canning company gave a speech and we're introduced to Dr. Susan Drake (Ann Turkel), a lady scientist hired by the canning company to assure the locals that the salmon population will not decrease as a result of the canneries opening.


Most of the excitement, in fact, takes place out in the parking lot, where Johnny Eagle gets in a fight with Hank (Vic Morrow), a racist reactionary, and his goons, over the death of his dog (Johnny's dog was the only dog not killed under mysterious circumstances). Since one vs. six isn't exactly a fair fight, Jim and his brother Tommy (Breck Costin) jump in to help Johnny even the odds a little bit.


Speaking of fair fights, are you ready for the battle between Denise Galik, who plays Linda Beale, a leggy artist, and Lynn Theel, who, like I already said, plays Peggy Larson, over who has nicer thighs? You are? That's wonderful. It's too bad the battle wasn't more spirited, as Lynn Theel's thighs blew Denise Galik's out of the water. Seriously. It was no contest, as Lynn is packing a pair of Ann-Margret-quality thighs.


I have to say, though, Denise Galik does look amazing while sitting cross-legged on a rocky beach. But this contest is all about thighs, and Lynn Theel is the clear winner in that regard.


Is she, though? Is she what? The clear winner? I don't know what you mean? After kicking Linda's ass in the thigh contest, Peggy decides to splash around in the water. Can you blame her? She wanted to cool her thighs, because... yeah, yeah, they're smoking hot. While frolicking with Jerry, who is wearing a skimpy pair of jean shorts (you're welcome ladies), in the water, Peggy is on top of the world. Winning made-up contests and looking good in a bikini has its advantages, it also has disadvantages. Really?!? Horny humanoids from the deep will want to mate with you.


Bursting out of the water, a humanoid rips a chunk of Jerry's face off (great gore effect) and proceeds to drag an unamused Peggy ashore so that he may rape her on dry land.


Soon afterward, a tent-dwelling bosomy brunette in a red headband (Lisa Glaser) is the next to be raped; I like how her boyfriend's ventriloquist dummy continues to move its eyes long after her boyfriend's hand has been removed from his wooden tuckus.


It would seem that the men of Noyo are being killed, while the women of Noyo are being raped; there's a scientific explanation for this. Anyway, putting their differences aside, the town decides to band together to find out who's responsible for these brutal attacks.


If you thought you had seen the last of Peggy's substantial thighs, think again. Stumbling across a human leg sticking out from a pile of seaweed, Dr. Susan is shocked to discover that it's Peggy's leg, and that she is still alive. Don't get too excited, Dr. Susan, who is teamed with Jim and Johnny, has to fight off wave after wave of pissed off humanoids.


When they realize that tonight's the big salmon festival, and that there are literally hundreds of humanoids roaming around out there, they hurry back to warn the others. Who's bright idea was it to carry on with the salmon festival? Who do you think? The mayor; all he cares about is money. To the surprise of no one...well, that's actually not true, Miss Salmon (Linda Shayne) looked genuinely surprised, as did Mad Mike Michaels (Greg Travis) of K-FISH. Okay, let me rephrase that. To the surprise of some, the humanoids lay waste to the salmon festival the only way they know how. And that is, of course, by employing their number one skill: Flesh tearing.


Oh, look. Miss Salmon is about to be raped by an humanoid. Yawn. Wait a minute, what's this? She's fighting back?!? Go, Miss Salmon! Go! Yeah, bash its head in with a rock, you plucky sex object. That will teach them not to mess with Miss Salmon. I'm afraid the same, however, can't be said for everyone else, as the humanoids are killing and raping Noyo residents left, right and centre.


If you're wondering what happened to Carol Hill, and why I described her earlier as "tough as nails"? Well, wonder no more. Left alone with her infant son (her husband is busy shooting humanoids near the town's ferris wheel), Carol Hill must battle a long-armed humanoid using whatever she can find lying around the house. And I must say, even though Peggy and the bosomy brunette in the red headband don't put up much of a fight, I liked how the female characters, like, Carol Hill and Miss Salmon, stood their ground in this film. I've read that it's traditional for female characters to be tough in Roger Corman produced horror movies, but I like to think Barbara Peeters had something to do with the moxie the women display when faced with mortal danger in this film. I guess I'll end on that note. No, wait. I'll end like this: Do you like films that feature female empowerment interspersed with sea monster rape? You do?Well, what are you waiting for? Watch this movie!



2 comments:

  1. Having lived in small towns much of my life, a lot of this film looked familiar to me. The local politics, not the fishman rape. And I'm with you on Miss Salmon; I do so love a beautiful woman who can take care of herself.

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  2. Miss Salmon is the poster girl for not getting raped by a sea monster in a carnival setting.

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