Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

If you’re foolish and read the mainstream media’s criticism of Humanoids from the Deep, you’d likely come away thinking the film is nothing more than a cynically violent exercise in sleazy exploitation film making, made worse than the usual trash because of all the raping the Humanoids do. That’s not wrong of course.

Even after having just watched this filthy drek for the seventh time, I feel as slimy as if I’d just been molested by these deep sea sex maniacs, too! But all that misses the point of the film. And that of course is exposing the dangers of genetically modified salmon!

That’s right – God, Charles Darwin or whatever didn’t create these nasty biped pedos! It was the evil Canco and their amoral scientists! As Dr. Susan Drake finally is forced to confess to local fishing stud Jim Hill (the great Doug McClure of The Land That Time Forgot and SST: Death Flight) they created a gene accelerate called DNA-5 which they injected into salmon in order to grow fish faster. One of their tanks in the ocean broke, the fish got loose and a bunch of prehistoric fish fed on them which caused these prehistoric fish to mutate and evolve really quickly. Now they are ready to bump their briny uglies with our hottest bikini babes who lounge around the beaches at poor, unsuspecting Noyo, California! Crud, Dr. Drake, who did you eggheads not see that coming? Could anything be more freaking obvious!

I can only surmise that all the carping about the movie from some is because they’re being paid off by some shadowy pro-gigantic fish interest group! It’s perfectly understandable to be outraged by what transpires in the film. For instance, after the evil Hank Slattery (Vic Morrow) finds out that Native American Johnny Eagle is getting a big shot lawyer to fight Canco, Johnny is beat up, his dog is murdered and his house firebombed! All because of some fish! And fish doesn’t even taste half as good as hot dogs or hamburgers!

It takes awhile though for the citizens of Noyo to realize that the smell permeating everything isn’t just the usual disgusting smell all fish have. The boat that blew up at the beginning of the movie, the dead dogs (except Johnny’s of course), and the missing young couples who just were out on the beach to enjoy some good clean meaningless casual sex aren’t just the usual small town shenanigans! Once Johnny and Jim’s brother survive being attacked by the Humanoids while trying to put out the fire at Johnny’s house (is anyone having a worse day than Johnny?), Jim is convinced that there’s some sea monsters prowling around that need a serious ass kicking!

But almost as if they know now they are being hunted, the Humanoids turn it up a notch! But what can they possibly do beyond causing Jim’s brother’s girlfriend to drive Johnny’s truck off a bridge and explode (sorry Johnny!) and murdering the town ventriloquist while he was trying to get laid? Salmon Fest!

My god! You mean the annual town festival where people travel from as far as 200 miles away to ride a few lame attractions on the midway and walk on the dirty pier to play rigged carny games and eat genetically modified salmon? The very same Salmon Fest that crowns the sexiest fish mama of them all, Miss Salmon? Jim instantly knows these amorous amphibians would love nothing better than to ravage the very symbol of all that is sexy about his town! What better to showcase the Humanoids’ dominance over Man than such a titillating terror attack!

The film’s final twenty minutes is all out war between the townspeople and the monsters. And these damn monsters find out the hard way that while it may be easy pickings to sneak up on some teenybopper playing grab ass with her boyfriend, taking on pissed off fisherman is something else entirely!

While there are plenty of human casualties with dudes getting gutted and heads ripped off, mankind once again proudly demonstrates that when it comes to inflicting carnage if properly motivated, nobody does it better! Monsters are shot, clubbed with boards, set on fire and Jim’s wife even goes full Norman Bates on one, stabbing it in its rancid guts again and again! You want even more female empowerment? Miss Salmon fends one off by repeatedly hitting it in the head with a rock! While topless! Total feminist move right there!

Clocking in at less than 80 minutes, Humanoids From the Deep, never bores with its generous helping of gore and plentiful monster attacks. The monster suits by Rob Bottin are impressive, with their glistening exposed brains and resemble an aquatic version of the creature from Alien, but without the lame face sucking gimmick. These monsters have no time for such niceties! The end of the film reveals that their reproductive methods are much more efficient and just as explosively bloody!

By the time Johnny Eagle is helping rescue Hank from the creatures, we learn that maybe deep down we aren’t really all so different, especially compared to a bunch genetically mutated freaks who are killing and raping us. And if the film causes us to stop and think about whether it’s worth the risk to try and engineer a better fish stick, doesn’t that make up for how damn scuzzy it all is?

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