Humanoids From the Deep
Directed by Barbara Peeters. Starring Doug McClure, Ann Turkel, Vic Morrow, Cindy Weintraub. (1980, R, 80 min.)
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Wed., June 13, 2001
Humanoids From the Deep arrived at the tail end of the drive-in exploitation boom, with its theme of ecological mayhem brought about by negligent scientists and depressed economic circumstances. It's difficult to pinpoint a true villain here. The scientists are trying to alter the DNA of salmon so that they might grow bigger and faster and replenish the depleted reserves of the area and its diminished livelihood. But a mechanical error causes the unfortunate release of a "bad" batch of salmon, and catastrophe, of course, ensues. The townspeople's fight to protect themselves also reveals their insidious racism: The sole exception to the community's so-called progress is a Native American who suffers the citizenry's abuse. If the townspeople are guilty of racism, however, then the humanoids could be cited for their sexism. Men are mauled to death since they are regarded as territorial threats. But women are the key to the future of the humanoid species and are thus raped by the monsters to perpetuate their genes. Of course, it's a great exploitation plot device to rip more bikinis off the bodies of fertile young women, and reportedly several more inter-species rape scenes were added by other directors after Peeters wrapped shooting. Still, Humanoids features a number of strong female characters, including a lead scientist and another who defends her homestead from the marauding creatures. Also of note is the listing in the credits of Gale Ann Hurd as a production assistant. After this early experience in genre filmmaking, Hurd went on to produce such action spectacles as Aliens, The Terminator, and Armageddon.