31 Monsters in 31 Days: Humanoids from the Deep

Rising from the depths of Roger Corman’s New World Pictures comes HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, the 1980 cult classic (kinda) directed by Barbara Peters. In some territories it was released as MONSTER, and could’ve been shown in others as THE CREATURE OF THE BLACK LAGOON FOR SEX OFFENDERS.

HUMANOIDS is sheer, unabashed exploitation, serving up copious amounts of grue, monsters, and nudity–with a couple of slight detours along the way for story. Corman has boasted in the past for hiring female directors, insisting
that he only uses the right person for the job, but I don’t think anyone’s buying it. Utilizing Barbara Peters behind the camera seems more like a preemptive strike against feminist critics who would chastise the film for being crude and misogynistic (a fair response, given HUMANOIDS’ throughline of slimy fish-men who emerge from the sea to rape human women). And his plan apparently backfired, with additional sequences of skin and bloodshed needed to be shot by another director, as Peters’ original cut was insufficiently exploitive.

(Another amusing but rather sleazy story is that Corman originally titled the production BENEATH THE DARKNESS to entice actors who would otherwise avoid something called HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP.)

The film, however, is a lot of fun, and whatever one thinks about gratuitous sex and violence both elements are handled well. The creature effects are great (orchestrated by a young Chris Walas) and the ending features one of the most notorious closing images of the era. Not much of a date movie, but enjoyable for fans of the three B’s.

A stilted, uninspired remake appeared on Showtime in 1996.

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