Color, 1980, 79 mins. 43 secs.
Directed by Barbara Peeters
Starring Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, Vic Morrow
88 Films (Blu-ray) (UK RB HD), Scream Factory (Blu-ray & DVD) (US RA/R1 HD/NTSC) / WS (1.85:1) (16:9), King (Japan R2 NTSC) / WS (1.85:1), New Concorde (US R1 NTSC)

Roger Corman’s Humanoids from the DeepNew World Pictures spawned a lot of Humanoids from the Deepdrive-in hits during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and for many impressionable teens, Humanoids from the Deep was a raunchy, gory thrill ride where slimy beasts and gratuitous T&A filled the screen from start to finish. Some of its shock value has since worn off in the ensuing twenty years (though the nasty sting in the tale finale still packs a punch), but this has remained a fond cult favorite among those whose psyches were scarred by it during viewings either in the theater or during its wide availability on VHS or cable TV during the Reagan years. If you're a fan of '50s monster movies but wish they'd gone a few steps further, this is the movie for you.

In Noyo, a fishing village poised directly below an aquatic research center, a series of strange and violent events are beginning to upset the sleepy townspeople. Most of the town dogs are mysteriously slain, a small fishing boat mysteriously explodes, and a few bikini-clad women have disappeared without a trace. Local scientist Dr. Susan Drake (Turkel) pleads for help after the release of a genetic experiment on salmon gone awry fall on deaf ears, and sure enough, it seems mutated beasties are responsible for the mayhem. Corrupt local developer Hank Slattery (Morrow) tries to prevent an investigation and blames the crimes on the local Indian population, but Turkel and nautical hero Jim Hill (McClure) know better. However, can they stop the monsters before the town holds its local salmon festival?Humanoids from the Deep

Humanoids from the DeepBasically a remake of New World’s Piranha with monster suits and a couple of brief but very questionable sexual assault scenes, Humanoids certainly has sleazy entertainment value but also demonstrates just how much difference a talent like Joe Dante can make behind the camera. Director Peeters had nothing to do with some of the more explicit shots of slimy nudity added by Corman at the last minute to give the film some extra kick, though given the demands of audiences at the time with the slasher boom gathering steam, the tinkering made sense. Though competently handled, the peculiar lack of (intentional) humor and generic visual style keep this from becoming an all-out trash masterpiece, at least until all hell breaks loose for the big finale. Thankfully that slam-bang climax really delivers with apparently the entire town being trashed by marauding fishfolk. The austere musical score by James Horner (back in the days when he was also doing fine work for stuff like The Hand and Deadly Blessing) manages to keep things marginally serious, and kudos for avoiding a predictable romantic subplot between Turkel and McClure. While it’s hard to discern any particular gender perspective in the filmmaker’s viewpoint, the climactic scene with McClure’s wife handling herself while under siege is a welcome relief from the usual hero to the rescue scenario. Check out the end credits for a Humanoids from the Deepfew unexpected names like future Terminator producer Gale Ann Hurd (a production assistant here) and director Rowdy Herrington (serving as electrician).

Humanoids from the DeepNew Concorde’s first DVD of Humanoids back in 1999 at least outclassed the muddy print released by Warner Home Video ages ago; the fullscreen transfer removes the 1.85:1 matte from the theatrical version, though the film isn’t framed with much artistry either way. Picture quality was generally good and colorful, though the sound had obviously deteriorated and sounded a little hissy. Also included were the original red-card US trailer and a brief interview with Corman by Leonard Maltin (3m27s). The pricey Japanese DVD (as Monster) came out shortly afterwards, which is matted at 1.85:1 but, far more importantly, restoring a vivid bit of gore footage censored in the U.S. involving a nasty head ripping. However, both of these are blown away by the Scream Factory release (including a shockingly pristine Blu-ray version in 2010) which is 100% uncut and also a reel of partially silent deleted scenes (5m44s), the Corman/Maltin chat, a gallery (6m34s) of international lobby cards and posters, and a grab bag of trailers and TV and radio spots. 
The big new addition here is a making-of featurette (22m45s) featuring Corman, Horner, second unit/assistant director James Sbardellati, and editor Mark Goldblatt charting the process of bringing the film to the screen including the process of selling it to prospective talent as Beneath the Darkness and the late additional scenes to make it more "scary." In 2019, Scream Factory reissued the film as a limited steelbook edition with the same extras but with a new 4K scan from the original camera negative; it's still the uncut version and looks absolutely spectacular. (The brief added bit of unrated gore is obviously slugged in from a slightly lesser source Humanoids from the Deepbut is still great to have.) Also noteworthy is the restoration of the Humanoids from the Deep title card at the beginning instead of the Humanoids from the DeepMonster one seen on the prior Blu-ray.

In 2021, 88 Films brought the film to Blu-ray featuring the same upgraded 4K-sourced scan (running 10 seconds longer thanks to the addition of an MGM logo); the DTS-HD MA English 2.0 mono track is also identical and sounds as good as the film possibly could, with optional English SDH subtitles provided. The first pressing also comes with a glossy slipcase, a foldout poster, and an insert booklet with liner notes by Tim Murray featuring interview excerpts with producer Hunt Lowry. New here are two audio commentaries starting off with Kim Newman and filmmaker Sean Hogan who start off recalling the film's epic U.K. rollout on a double bill (as Monster) with When a Stranger Calls before launching into a cheerful analysis of its place in the Corman/New World roster, the state of the genre at the time, the fuzzy nature of who exactly directed what, Corman's tendency to make water monster movies, and the impact of films like Alien and Jaws. The second commentary features Samm Deighan offering an incisive study of the film's genre blending between sci-fi, horror, animal attack and eco horror movies, and other ingredients that left some critics confounded. Her enthusiasm for the film and New World in general is infectious as she talks about Corman's championing of female directors in genre cinema, and the balance of visceral brutality and suggestion in the more violent scenes. The making-of featurette, Maltin-Corman interview, deleted scenes, trailers (green and red-band U.S. versions and German),a TV and radio spot, and still gallery are all included.

88 Films (Blu-ray)

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Scream Factory (Blu-ray) (2019)

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Updated review on June 1, 2021