Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

Man, fish-men love the ladies. Have you ever wanted to see a bunch of aquatic horrors gore and claw men to death and then forcibly strip and sexually assault women? If so, you should think about talking to someone, but that’s what this movie is about, so I’ve got something for you!

Basically a small coastal town in California has a new canning company coming in, but the local Native Americans aren’t a fan. Racism abounds from the cannery’s local henchmen, until dogs get murdered and teenagers disappear. Then the fish-men show up, and they’re here to kill all the men and rape all the women! It’s kinda like Animal House, only with more violence and gill sex…but the same amount of drinking. Seriously, these guys drink a lot of beer.

Getting past the fact that this movie is basically about rape, there are some other aspects to examine…like namely that the film originally didn’t contain so much rape. The director, Barbara Peeters, did a film that showed the men get murdered, yes, but the rape scenes weren’t nearly so graphic. But producer Roger Corman was having none of that. He changed the name of the movie from Monster to Humanoids from the Deep and had other directors shoot as many nude scenes and graphic fish rape sequences as the MPAA would allow to really amp up the exploitation. And you know what? The intercut footage really shows. You’ll go from suspense to sudden “OH MY GOD THAT FISH-MAN IS DOING THE NASTY WITHOUT HER CONSENT” to suspense at the drop of a hat. The juxtaposition gets weird and messes with the flow, but it makes for an entertaining drinking game to figure out what wasn’t originally part of the film.

To top it off, Corman apparently didn’t tell Peeters he was doing this, nor actress Ann Turkel, so when they saw the final cut, they had no idea it had happened. The press slammed Peeters for making such an exploitative movie, and she tried to take her name off the film but was unable to do so. This sucks, because I don’t know what is Peeters and what isn’t, so I am not sure who to praise for what I like. In particular, seeing fish-men rip their way up from the docks and surprise crowds of people at the town fair is awesome. The ongoing story of racism in a small town is also well done, even if only one guy represented an entire tribe of peoples. The heroes also get the snot kicked out of them, so by the end they’re all bruised and swollen. It’s a good touch to show how beat up they are.

Oh, and I absolutely love the monster designs, which are both kinda campy and slimy gross at the same time. It’s like The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but with even more slime, fur, fangs, and the inability to understand the word no. If you liked that movie but need more gore, rape, and going behind the director’s back, Humanoids from the Deep is for you! And also maybe consider serious psychological help.

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