first real introduction to this film was back in the late 80's when
friends told me I had to see it... how great it was. How it
was just like an old-fashioned monster movie.
can be dangerous things. I remember sitting through perhaps twenty
minutes of this; then fortunately something happened and we had to
turn off the VCR. Probably one of my friends' current girlfriends
entering, deciding the naked woman shrieking under the monster was
my fault, and kicking me in my already game knee; she did that a lot.
We did not like each other very much. So like I said, friends can
be dangerous, especially their girlfriends.
no, I'm talking about friends who are diletantes in the genre
fields. They liked it because it had blood, gore, and naked chicks.
If that's all you're looking for, well, here's your movie - you need
read no further. Scroll down and order the puppy. Come to think of
it, that might explain the outlandish success of the Ilsa movies...
us look at our plot: An evil fish cannery (about the most original
element of the movie) has been experimenting with something called
DNA-5, which accelerates the growth and size of frogs and, eventually,
salmon. When tidal surges wreck one of the experiment's holding tanks,
the DNA-5 dosed salmon escape and are eaten by coelacanths, of all
things (those are the extraordinary "living fossil" fish,
thought extinct for millions of years until they started getting caught
again - off the east African coast!). The DNA-5 forces the
evolution of humanoid fish-men overnight, and they attack a small
fishing community. And, oh yeah, they want to bump their evolution
up another step, so they lust after human women, for procreation purposes.
Now let us look at the ingredients of this mish-mosh:
A psychic toddler who can sense the presence of the fish-men before the family dog. Which leads to:
Dead dogs (4 in all)
A Spring-Loaded Cat (hiding in a doghouse)
A Spring-Loaded Dress
A Spring-Loaded Dish in a Kitchen Sink
A Spring-Loaded Boyfriend (a false scare deemed so good it's used twice)
A telephone with a bell on loan from Big Ben
One woman in negligee lounging in front of open window
One Shaky's Pizza Parlor Band
One Scientist Who Has Tampered in God's Domain (Ann Turkel, and since she is a woman, is referred to as "a great little scientist")
One Hero By Default (Doug McClure)
One sociopathic redneck (Vic Morrow)
One Noble Red Man who is ecologically aware, and, being an Indian, is exceptionally good at kicking fish-man butt
One atomic molotov cocktail
One Ventriliquist's Dummy (babes will willingly undress for a ventriliquist's dummy)
One Salmon Festival (Amity Beach on the 4th of July was taken)
One painful radio DJ nicknamed "Madman"
Three rapes (at least)
rapes are one of the problems I have with the movie. Monsters Lusting
After Our Women has long been a cliche in the world of the B-film, probably
going back even farther than King Kong; what could The Creature
from the Black Lagoon or Octaman
possibly have wanted with the female objects of their
desire? In Humanoids from the Deep the implicit is made explicit;
against all reason, these monsters want to mate with human women. Though
the sequences are mercifully short, they are still distasteful and,
much like the movie that contains them, pretty unnecessary.
most of its running time, the movie seems to take
the slasher film as its model - wander off,
engage in hanky-panky, and die. Well, you die if you're male.
If you're female, you get terrorized for a time (standard for slashers)
and then raped. The single instance when the monsters pick on one of
the "safe" female archetypes - a mother with a small child
- they wind up not only minus a hand, but doused with oven cleaner and
eviscerated with a butcher knife, as Mom goes Jamie Lee on them. For
other victims, however, the dexterity of the fish men is indeed extraordinary,
as claws that can remove half a face with one swipe can also nimbly
pluck a bikini top from it's bosomy resting place. These cross-species
miscegenations result in the final, derivative piece of this cinematic
One Alien chestburster-style
monster baby birth
haven't even started on the other absurdities within the movie: Jimmy
Eagle's magic shirt, that cleans itself of blood in-between takes; the
fact that one spear from a speargun is more effective than several rifle
bullets; the way that the fish-men's rapid evolution has given them
Metaluna Mutant-type exposed brains, rendering them vulnerable to the
common two-by-four (one of their intended victims - who is topless,
of course - does serious damage to one with a rock); and the
fact that, outside of water, the fish-men are extremely flammable.
Where are your atomic molotovs now, Vic Morrow?
Barbara Peters (or sometimes Peeters) later claimed that Roger Corman's
World Pictures later inserted more nudity and gore shots than she had
originally intended, which may explain the somewhat fractured nature
of the flick. Peters might have been (understandably) uncomfortable
with the Mars Needs Women sub-strata; the picture certainly picks up
when we leave this part behind and the heroes discover one of the monster's
nesting places, and the later, climactic attack upon the Salmon Festival.
Even then, however, the movie never reaches the heights it requires
to distinguish itself from other, similar films. The only thing it has
to recommend it, outside the typically fine Rob Bottin monsters, is
what Fred Olen Ray calls "the cheapest special effect" - naked
women. And there are better reasons to see naked women than screaming
under some guy wrapped in foam latex.