Friday, December 30, 2011

Salmon Dave!

Humanoids from the Deep  (New World Pictures, 1980)

Before the Camera:

Hi, he's Doug McClure - you may know him from such films as Warlords from the Deep, and The Land That Time Forgot!
Ann Turkel  (Ravagers)
Vic Morrow  (1990: The Bronx Warriors)
Cindy Weintraub  (The Prowler)
Anthony Pena  (Porky's II: The Next Day)
Denise Galik  (Get Crazy)
Lynn Theel  (Without Warning)
Meegan King  (Blue Sunshine)
Breck Costin  (The Man with Two Brains)
Hoke Howell  (Kingdom of the Spiders)
Don Maxwell  (The Bees)
Linda Shayne  (Screwballs)
Miss Salmon 1980

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Barbara Peeters

Produced by Martin B. Cohen, Hunt Lowry, and Roger Corman

Written by Frederick James

Story by Frank Arnold and Martin B. Cohen

From the wondrous days of Roger Corman's New World Pictures comes this drive-in classic about creatures attacking a small community in the Pacific Northwest. Starting off with a terrific cast of old pros, this one gets off to a pretty quick start and never lets up. It's local salmon fisherman against the Native Americans in the town of Noyo - apparently they put out a statute against Yogurt and it really caught on... The fishermen, led by cranky Hank (Morrow) are working for themselves but supplying all their catch to the local cannery, and they're perfectly willing to go to any lengths to keep fishing the waters around the town. The Native Americans, led by Johnny Eagle (Pena) are protesting, as the delicate ecosystem the fish live in is being destroyed by overfishing and by the cannery's scientific efforts to produce more and larger salmon. Thrown into the mix are good guy fisherman (McClure) and his new pal, the cannery's lady scientist (Turkel), who realizes that apparently some of those experiments have proven a little too successful as large, fishy bipedal things start attacking any townspeople they run across. And while they are nasty and deadly, they don't just want to rip your face off. Oh no. They're looking to get to know the ladyfolk better. A lot better, if you take my meaning and I'll bet you do. (And if you don't, just read that poster tagline up there.) So even as the humans in town are at each others' throats, the humanoids outside of town are massing for an all out attack. Who will survive, and what will be left of them?

That's right, Ann Turkel - bring a camera to a gunfight!
This is definitely one of the best to come out of the Corman stable from any of his many different periods of production. It takes some good actors, puts them in a plot that mixes racial drama with a little nugget of message inside (definitely a part of the blueprint for any Corman New World picture) and then throws in gory attack scenes from some impressively realized man-in-suit monsters created by the incredible Rob Bottin. There's copious blood and nudity, and bonus features like a brief appearance by Linda Shayne as a beauty queen in the carnival climax.
Miss Salmon 1980
I was always impressed that a movie this graphic - including the attacks on the ladies - was directed by a woman. The bonus features on the disc, however, make it clear that while the ever-shrewd producer put a woman at the helm at least in part to stave off critic and protestor attacks on a flick with several scenes of monsters raping women, the initial end result did not provide all the necessary intensity that Corman knew would make the movie work. I don't want to spoil the featurette for those who enjoy them, but he does say that while the initial director's cut did provide horrendous bloody death for every attacked man in the movie, it then shied away from showing anything at all when a woman was attacked. And although I'm sure it hurt ol' Rog right in his wallet to do it, he went ahead and ponied up enough dough for a second unit to go out and shoot much more graphic shots to be used in the attack scenes. The end result of these disparate elements is a gleefully nasty trash classic that takes the old "monster chasing the female hottie" trope and shows it. All of it. Right there on screen. As a result, I understand this one isn't for everyone, but if you want to see a perfectly formed example of Roger Corman's factory product mixing exploitation with social commentary, here's one you'll want to pick up.

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At around 36:20 Breck Costin doesn't want to know who's come to see him. And then at approximately 47:28 he doesn't seem to be happy anywhere.

Eye Candy ?

In a cast with quite a few attractive ladies - we're welcoming two to the list:

Lynn Theel - for wearing the sexiest lingerie during a
fishman attack I've ever seen:

Linda Shayne - for making such an impression
with forty seven seconds of screen time.

Welcome aboard, ladies!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Humanoids from the Deep is the Catch
of the Day, if you're looking for fun entertainment on the
trashy side..."

Thanks as always, Mr. Man. Until next post you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Fully agree, Humanoids is an absolutely kick-ass monster flick with loads of tension, gore and atmosphere. Love how they shot the fairground-scene. They only had a carousel and a Ferris Wheel, but in the movie it looks as if the whole fairground was waaay bigger :)

    Did you see the 1996 remake? God, what a piece of shit.

  2. LOL Love this movie! See if they'd just let more of ladies behind the camera, think what we could do. And they say we can't do monsters...Well, a woman is responsible for that sparkly poser calling himself a vampire. ;)

  3. Maynard - I just showed this to a nephew who tends to like his movies somewhat newer - and it was my first viewing in probably 15-20 years - and it completely holds up - really a corker of a movie! And you're right - the filmmakers really did do a wondrous job making what little they had look like so much more - from the Humanoids to those fairground rides! I actually taped the '96 version off Showtime back then, and it still sits unwatched in the back of the Video Vault. I'll mush through it at some point - there will be a certain amount of entertainment value for me just from the re-use of the footage of the original - I love movies that use huge chunks of other movies as padding, for some strange reason.

    MB - I know, right? Every time Corman had a woman direct, the results were always at least a tiny bit more interesting than usual for his product. Viva Corman! Viva Lady Directors!

  4. LINDA SHAYNE! Or, as I like to caller her, BOOTSIE GOODHEAD!

  5. I'm hunting this one down! The film looks crisp and I want monsters!

  6. This looks way too trashy for me not to check out. I'll be hunting for this one, thanks to you. Great review!

  7. Count - Bootsie she remains, in my heartt.

    Kaijinu - I hope you can get ahold of it monsters you will get - I'll keep an eye on your blog for a review!

    M.H. - Please do - I'll watch for a review over at your place, too! Thanks for the kind words!

  8. I have been telling some younger friends about this movie for YEARS. I was ecstatic to see it on Netflix Instant Viewing. sigh. Awesome Awesome Awesome.

    1. It's a helluva good popcorn flick! I'm glad you've been spreading the word! The Blu-Ray looks AMAZING, by the way!