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Back to the Drive-In: Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

04.09.2012by: JimmyO

Ah the smell of gasoline, oil and popcorn! The Drive-in was a cultural phenomenon that thrilled audiences for several decades. Where else can you drive up in the comfort of your car and watch a double feature with a terrible speaker hooked on the window. It was a place where families could catch a flick like SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT while the young children look just a couple screens down at some flick loaded with sex, guns and gore. With that in mind, we here at AITH plan to titillate and thrill as we look back at some of the grooviest, goriest and scariest flicks this side of grindhouse cinema. Welcome to Back to the Drive In!

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (1980)

THE TICKET!

I love HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP. When director Deborah Peeters attempted to make an environmental horror flick, producer Roger Corman felt the need to add a ton of T & A, plus a heaping tablespoon of gore for good measure. It is so obvious the film was shot by two directors that it is slightly distracting from what is a ridiculously goofy b-movie. The more somber tone - directed by Ms. Peeters - takes itself much too seriously yet the bad script keeps it unintentionally riotous. However when the bikinis come off and the ample nudity arrives, it is clear that somebody else was making a cult horror lover’s dream come true.

One thing that makes this creature feature stand out is its utter lack of political correctness. Within minutes of the opening credits, a young boy is killed. Soon after that all the dogs in town are ripped to shreds. Once upon a time when this film was made – and even still to a lesser extent – you just didn’t mess with children and animals. Besides the fact that this flick consists of monsters violently raping bare naked ladies (not the musical group) and impregnating them with their scaly seed, this is not a flick you’d take your mother to see. HUMANOIDS is a cross breed of “intelligent horror” and sleazy chiller, a perfect drive-in flick that stars Vic Morrow, Doug McClure and Ann Turkel and a whole mess of ridiculously silly men in suits.

BEST SCENE TO GET YOUR DATE HOT AND BOTHERED!

Ironically, the best scene to get hot and bothered by does both… Why is this guy (an amateur ventriloquist) having his “dummy” convince this girl to get naked? I’ve heard of getting a woody but this is ridiculous. Thankfully this chick is really into it and soon sheds her clothes all the way down to her bare necessities. Sure the lovely lass has an extremely hot body which is really all that matters, but watching the dummy and the puppet ogle her is downright bothersome. Thankfully her willingness to go naked conquers all. Too bad that once we see her seductively strip with an entertaining view of all her goodies, one of those damn men in suits comes to attack. Bad monster, bad!

SCENE THAT WILL HAVE YOU LAUGH SILLY

You wanna have some fun? The unintentionally comical carnival of crazies of a finale is one way to do it. You’ve got topless beauty queens, a dude who can shoot anything from any angle, and you have a bunch of large-headed beasties running around “terrorizing” townsfolk. These humanoids are kinda pussies to be honest. If it wasn’t for the large number of them, anybody could put ‘em out with a little bit of persistence. Big and dumb and horny is an adequate description of these bumbling fish-men. This sequence seriously borders on slapstick aside from the decent score.

SCENE THAT WILL HAVE HER/HIM JUMPING IN YOUR ARMS!

When a cat jumping out at you is one of the few times you jump, you know the scares are a little weak. However, when Jerry (Meegan King) and Peggy (Lynn Theel) have a little fun on the beach, Peeters is able to give the flick a little bit of fright. As the two lover’s get frisky, Jerry keeps trying to scare his girl. Yet when he is pulled under for real, she thinks it’s another joke. That is until she finds half his face ripped off. As she runs for shore, the creature pulls her down and tries to have its way with her. Thankfully, the use of POV of the girl is used more than the actual beast… a wise choice. This is the one rape that seems a little more dark and deadly than the others. And yes, rape is always ugly but when you see a large green fish man doing it, it tends to lessen the impact. This is by far the “scariest” scene in the flick. It just might not necessarily be as much fun as the carnival conclusion near the end. That shite is insane!

GROOVE TO THE MUSIC!

James Horner did the music folks. Seriously, James “TITANIC” Horner did the music and frankly, it ain’t all that bad. Sure it gets a little redundant at times but it is one of the most effective elements in this here shindig. The use of orchestration gives this chiller a little bit more class than just using a keyboard. Horner treats this campy flick with some respect and it certainly stands out. However, the real treat is the musical stylings of Jo Williams and the Whitewater Boys. Yeehaw!

AN IDEAL DOUBLE BILL WITH:

If you are looking for one helluva gill infested double bill, why not stick with HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP and finish it off with another Roger Corman classic… PIRANHA! The original 1978 flick features a smokin’ hot Heather Menzies-Ulrich and Bradford Dillman kicks fish butt all over in this flick. Frankly this Joe Dante directed feature is the better of the two films by far thanks to some really funny dialogue and bloody kills, but together? You’ll never want to go back in the water again with killer fish, or large-headed fish men for that matter.

GET HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP HERE!

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