A mackerel will rape your girlfriend: “Humanoids from the Deep”

October 10, 2012

It’s weird. Despite being a perennial favorite on late-night TV throughout the ‘80s and ’90, and enjoying a healthy DVD release, you cannot find Humanoids from the Deep anywhere. It’s out of stock on Amazon, no longer in Netflix’s DVD library and has even been “rotated out” of its Instant Library. What does that mean, “rotated out?” There’s nothing physical to move. What, they needed that 700MB of space real badly? Is it sitting on a Darth Vader-shaped USB drive on some Netflix geek’s desk? I ask this, because Humanoids from the Deep has always had an air of notoriety swirling about it, and I sense some stealth censorship going on here. Well, let this be a message to both our candidates for President: a country where I cannot watch a movie about fish-men having sex with big-breasted women is not a country I want to live in. My right to watch horny aquanoids is pretty much guaranteed in the Constitution (more implied than overtly stated, but it’s in there). I should not have to buy a second-hand copy on the Internet. I’m not alone in this, right? I’m not, right? Right? Okay, let’s just get on with it.

Roger Corman produced  Humanoids from the Deep (also known as Monster), so you know it’s good. In Noyo, a (real) small town in Northern California, there’s trouble brewing—even before we get to the rapist fish-men. A fishing town, Noyo has watched its catches dropping to nearly nothing. This was 1980, and that sort of thing was pretty common. Noyo’s last, best hope for a comeback is the building of a massive cannery by a company called Canco (hey, Corman don’t pay for originality) that will bring scientific methods of revitalizing the fish population. The local Native Americans, however, ain’t so thrilled about Canco’s plans, and think they have Love Canal written all over them.

“Maybe if we shoot at the fish…”

The locals and the Native Americans mix it up a lot, but, hey, do we really care about this? No we do not. Because as Canco plots to move in, and the Noyoans (Noyoyos?) bicker about it, large fish-people begin attacking the population. And not randomly, either. First they take out the watchdogs. Then they go after the women (it’s like Al Pacino said in Scarface, “First you get the feesh, then you get dooags, and then you get the weeemen!” You know, or words to that effect). And they’re not going after just any women, either. Nope, these are discriminating fish-man monsters. You know, like horny fifteen year-old boys are discriminating.

Check it out: I think he’s peacocking!

What we get in short order is a serious of sequences in which bikini-clad cuties watch in horror as their boyfriends are mauled to death, and then they are chased by fish-men until their bikini-tops fall off (it doesn’t take long). Then they’re subdued and raped by the fish-men. Now, yeah, you could argue this is in bad taste—and conceptually, it kinda is. But you have to view the sexual assaults on a thematic level, in which the fish-men clearly represent the ravages of scientific capitalism (hence their green color and exposed brains), and the big-boobed women represent our mother Earth. On that level, the sexual assaults are in perfect thematic alignment with the rest of the movie. Plus the rubber fish-man suits are so  bulky, the actors in them can’t do much more than just roll around on top of the chicks, so it lacks something, viscerally. There’s no fish-wang or anything.

The good news is that Todd Akin says you can’t get pregnant from this…

Eventually, a scientist who works for Canco blows the lid off things by revealing that the company did indeed inadvertently create these monsters in their attempts to breed larger fish. Wouldn’t you know it? The fish-men attack an oceanfront Salmon Festival (no, really), and lay waste to place. But the townspeople aren’t pushovers and fight back (even Miss Salmon beats one into submission with a rock…after her bikini top is torn off), and then torch the fish-men’s, um, rape-room.

“Where’s the corn-dog stand?”

Alas, there is one final twist, as the film ends with one fish-man rape-victim gorily giving birth…to a fish-child! Well, yeah, that makes sense I guess. As much as anything else in this movie, I mean.

Humanoids from The Deep was released in 1980 during the bad ol’ days when wrecking the environment was pretty much the national pastime, and filmmakers took a bold stand against it by making really crappy horror movies like Prophesy (not the Christopher Walken one), Frogs, Day of the Animal and Phase IV, so you’ve probably seen this movie before. It just takes it on faith the viewer will distrust the evil corporation and side with the noble Native American and not ask questions like, wouldn’t wiping out the fish population be somewhat counter-productive for a canning company?  It also features such ‘80s mainstays as Vic Morrow and Doug McClure, who add a little class to the proceedings—or as much class as Vic Morrow and Doug McClure can possibly bring.

“Well, at least I have that ‘Twilight Zone’ movie to look forward to…”

Humanoids is also famous for having been a phantom production, with the film’s original director, Barbara Peeters, turning in a fairly restrained cut. Well, if you’re familiar with Roger Corman then you see the problem with this. Corman doesn’t do “restrained.” Rumor is, he had the second-unit director film all the nude scenes (and there are a lot) and then splice them in. The end result was pretty much a surprise to almost everyone involved.

“Mr. Corman assures me this is going to be a tasteful movie.”

Still, I can’t help but love this movie. I mean, it has fish-men raping chicks. Isn’t that what we go to the movies for? Yes, we do. Just admit it. But on top of that…

* I’m pretty sure Vic Morrow was tanked in all is scenes. Wise strategy, really.

* One attack interrupts a three-way between a big-boobed chick, a dude, and the dude’s ventriloquist dummy. As the monster attacks, the dummy’s eyes actually widen in terror. The scene is so batshit crazy it’s just precious.

Yep. This happens.

* The assault on the festival is a thing to behold. Special shout-out to the fish-man riding the carousal.

* One woman fights off a fish-man home-invasion with cleansing products. Corman intended this as a bold, feminist stance. Seriously, he did.

* The fish-men costumes actually don’t look half-bad.

Anyway, that’s Humanoids from the Deep. Better keep an eye on your goldfish next time a big-chested chick is around.


  1. I don’t know how you’ve come up with the metaphor: the capitalism and the mother earth, but it’s so spiritual and intellectual, I’m so proud of you man!

    • Thanks for the compliment. A movie that nuanced clearly is operating on many levels. Like a Pynchon novel.

  2. I like it when individuals come together and share views.
    Great site, stick with it!

  3. Hi, I check your blogs like every week. Your writing style is awesome,
    keep up the good work!

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