In honor of the March 27th VOD release of the documentary, “Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel”, we’ve decided to dedicate this week’s Netflix Horror pick to Monster or as it was later titled, Humanoids from the Deep.
Humanoids from the Deep tells the story of what happens when you try to manipulate nature with genetic experimentation. Think of it as Jurassic Park with salmon, and humanoids. The movie begins as a small fishing town decides to form an alliance with a corporation named Canco in order to produce larger salmon with the help of a newly created growth hormone. This hormone, of course, isn’t contained to the local salmon population and creates larger humanoid fish that are intent on propagating their species. Yes, that means a large portion of this movie is Humanoids attacking and raping young women, impregnating them with their mutated spawn.
You still with me? If you are, you’re probably a fan of Roger Corman, who made a career out of over-the-top, exploitive, B-movie fare that never shied away from the ridiculous. That’s part of the magic of his work, and this movie, though. You have men in rubber humanoid costumes chasing and mauling people with the dedication and seriousness of any mainstream movie. This movie isn’t playing for laughs. It takes this ridiculous story and presents it to the audience with a straight face, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable; and hilarious.
In true Corman style, most of the sex, nudity, and blood were added without the knowledge of the director, Barbara Peeter. Minus these additions, the movie is a slow burn horror with the emphasis on developing tension. While I’m sure Corman appreciated this, he also knew the cardinal rule of B-horror: no one has ever gone broke by underestimating the audience. The combination of Peeter’s seriousness and Corman’s exploitation style somehow created a movie that is not only schizophrenic but also wholly entertaining.
Don’t get me wrong, Humanoids from the Deep is best as a brew and view with lots of friends and should never be taken seriously. Watch it for the early score by James Horner, who went on to create the soundtracks for Aliens and BraveHeart. Watch it for the Humanoid f/x work by Rob Bottin, who went on to work on The Thing, The Fog, and Fight Club. But most of all, watch it to revel in the fact that Corman and company had the guts to make a movie about Fish Men who attack.