“Movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash we have very little reason to be interested in them.” – Pauline Kael
When we were children, my brother and I used to stay up late on Saturday nights to watch Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. If you are unfamiliar with her and her show, she introduced and presented B-grade, and below, horror movies. The movies were the usual schlock studios (big and small) turned out for a quick buck or to cash in on some trend and craze. These movies on which we indulged had lots of blood, guts, female nudity, and typically made very little sense when it came to plot and story. All in all, they should have a been an affront to our good Baptist upbringing.
A lot of them were rip-offs of better, more popular films. It was a rare occasion when they were more enjoyable than the movies they copied. If we were in a mood for schlock for schlock’s sake, they hit the spot and they were almost always a good time. You can disagree all you want, but sometimes a third-rate romance in a low-rent rendezvous hits the spot.
Humanoids From the Deep is a good example of quality trash. I’m talking about the original 1980 movie, not the cable remake from the mid-90s. I’ve never seen the remake, so I don’t know if it’s acceptable trash worth watching.
Canning company, Canco, has selected the small town of Noyo, CA, as the perfect sight for a new factory. The residents are split on the idea, with most of them believing it’s a prosperous move for the little fishing village. The local Native Americans disagree as the sight of the new factory is land which is rightfully theirs. This leads to several squabbles between those for and against Canco moving in, an already delicate debate.
Another thing threatening to ruin the deal are the libidinous fish people rising from the ocean intent on violating women and killing indiscriminately. If the shark of Jaws made you think twice about swimming, the lusty fish-folk of this movie should make you avoid every beach and waterway entirely.
Not to fear, though, because what is a movie of this sort without a scientist on the hunt to help save the day. Doctor Susan Drake comes to town to help solve the pesky problem of the horny humanoids from the deep. She actually works for Canco and Canco is actually responsible for the amorous amphibians.
Canco’s research scientists experimented with growth hormones on salmon. The salmon escaped from the lab (because why not) and made it to the ocean where they were eaten by much bigger fish. The big fish of the ocean then mutated into the sex-crazed mutants stalking poor Noyo.
How is all that possible? Science, mofos.
Humanoids From the Deep is bonkers. I think that is a given. Yet, it’s fun, nonsense trash that doesn’t strain the brain. Besides, any movie with Doug McClure (of The Virginian fame and inspiration for The Simpson‘s Troy McClure) can’t be all bad.