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Rated R
Copyright 1980 New World Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 12 September 2002

The Characters:  

  • Jim and Carol Hill - Doug McClure and... actress! They appear to be among the levelheaded minority in town.
  • Johnny Eagle - The quiet, but dedicated to what he feels is right, Native American. So darn tired of racist white men that he begins making references to Custer's last stand.
  • Dr. Susan Drake - Female scientist who gets no respect. Part of that could be her ability to flirt with married men (not entirely one-sided at times). She is also an avid photographer.
  • Tommy and Linda - The young man is Jim's brother. He is beat up pretty bad, first by Slattery's goons, then by the monsters. She dies after driving a truck off a bridge. In this case wearing a seat belt did not matter.
  • Jerry and Peggy - He loses half his face. She is impregnated by an amorous sea creature.
  • Hank - The town's ineffective sheriff.
  • Slattery - Vic Morrow! As the human antagonist, he is either drinking with his "boys" or slinging insults at Johnny Eagle.
  • The Monsters - Spawned when coelacanths dined on experimental salmon, their leapfrog up the evolutionary chain caused one minor problem: the total and utter lack of a skull. Poke one in the head hard and it would probably forget the piano lessons (if you could teach a bipedal, mutated coelacanth how to play the piano).

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Writers long ago discovered that women find rape and impregnation by the offender to be repulsive (well, duh). So, how does a low budget horror movie capitalize on such an emotional reaction? By making the rapist something other than human. Be the monster (or alien) tentacled, fanged, clawed, or slimy, the human female is always sought after for coitus nastius. Roger Corman inflicts the ladies of Earth with yet another sexual predator in "Humanoids from the Deep."

The fishing town of Noyo is floundering (only one, I promise), but a large corporation proposes to open a cannery. Many citizens want the jobs that the plant promises to provide, but Johnny Eagle is opposed to the idea. He has seen the steadily decreasing catches. Increasing the fishing fleet will only hasten the decline of already overtaxed salmon populations. Slattery does not like Johnny anyway; that the Indian would deny the town fiscal respite fuels the antagonism.

One ugly fisherman sets out to cast his nets, but runs into deadly trouble. His kid is more interested in a comic book than helping, something big gets caught in the net, and a series of mishaps causes the boat to explode. Honestly, the level of clumsiness portrayed aboard the doomed trawler is on par with a Jerry Lewis film. Except, in those people never burn to death. Neither do kids fall overboard and get pulled under by lurking sea creatures. About the kid getting munched: a huge amount of blood wells up, almost as if the brat was little more than a blood-filled bladder.

The first signs of ill portent for the town come early in the morning. Jim discovers the family dog's corpse tangled in seaweed, while Slattery and the other fisherman find a slew of dead dogs at the dock. Every canine, except for Johnny Eagle's, is dead. The coincidence does not go unnoticed by the racist captain, but the audience knows that Johnny is innocent.

A dance is held in Noyo to celebrate the arrival of the cannery representatives. Peggy is brushing her hair when a serious case of the willies hits. She picks up a knife and stumbles through her house, jumping at everything (and I do mean everything). Peggy goes to the front door and sees a shadow that betrays the presence of someone (or thing) on the porch, then the knob is slowly tried. Five seconds later, Jerry jumps out from the left side of the screen. The girl yells at her boyfriend for scaring her, plus possibly becoming a casualty. The fact that someone (or thing) was just trying to open the front door is forgotten. It could not have been Jerry. What in the HECK are these two thinking? Besides nookie, we know they are thinking about that. Anyway, eventually they do go to the dance. A fight breaks out when Johnny Eagle shows up with his dead dog, accuses Slattery of killing it, and vows to stop the cannery at all costs.

Johnny invites Tommy and Peggy over for a fish fry the following afternoon. It is after dusk when Slattery and his goons perform a trawling motor-by attack. The Molotov cocktails immolate the cabin, but the fire is not the real danger. A number of monsters attack the two men as they fight the fire. Peggy is also attacked as she drives the truck back to town for help. So, by the night's end, Peggy is dead, Tommy is gravely wounded, and the mistrusted Indian has seen the aquatic menace firsthand.

The only person who really believes Johnny's story is Jim. Although, Dr. Drake does too, but she does not count because she is an outsider and a woman (not my fault, blame the screenwriter). The three unlikely allies use Jim's boat to look for signs of the creatures, including fishing for them. How daft is that? The monsters are going to bite down on a hook and sinker? Okaaaayyyyyy.

Drake's uncanny knowledge of the creatures leads the group to a lair along the seashore. The inhabitants attack; only a liberal application of bullets spares the woman a battering of fish batter and the men scaly death. Susan reveals that the cannery was experimenting with DNA-5, a growth serum. A storm damaged a holding tank and released thousands of treated salmon into the sea. Her hypothesis is that lurking coelacanths ate the salmon and the growth hormone caused evolution to shift into high gear. Now the prehistoric fish must mate with human females to further their development, while human males are perceived as a threat.

I am happy with the gender I was given, but, at times, being a man is something to be outright thankful for. Yes, the painful "clawed to death" ending will be just fine. You ladies are welcome to the blessing of having sex with a hideous creature. For those wondering, I mean the fishmen, not Ron Jeremy.

Noyo's annual salmon festival turns into a slaughterhouse when the monsters attack. Women are scooped up by amorous coelacanth suitors, while dozens of men are proved to be little more than blood-filled bladders. Pressurized too, for blood literally erupts from any wound. One monster did me a personal favor though. A girl was skating around the festival and unhappily reminding me of Xanadu. The creature appears to be no great fan of that film either. Good fish, good fish...

Eventually, armed townsfolk start shooting the rampaging monsters, while others grab whatever is handy. One fishman has the unfortunate experience of reliving Rodney King's ordeal. A number of humans use clubs and other implements to beat the living bejeezus out of the creature. Jim's contribution to the battle is a little less effective. He and Susan pump gas into the center of the harbor and set it on fire. Now, this might have worked in a film with a larger budget. As it is, the result is a small fire on the water's surface. One exceptionally stupid monster is burned to death, but Darwin was obviously gunning for him anyway.

Back at the Hill homestead, Carol fights to keep horny fishmen at bay. Armed with drain cleaner (that she uses like pepper spray - ouch, serious ouch) and a knife, she must hold out until her man returns. Can Carol do it or will she become the next contestant on "The Mating Game?"


Nathan Shumate wanted to explore the sexual side of fish, so please make sure to read the Cold Fusion Video review.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Children, dogs, and ventriloquist dummies all have ESP.
  • When you have the willies, everything is out to get you, even the dirty dishes.
  • Women do not enjoy dancing with short men.
  • Molotov cocktails pack more explosive power than a keg of black powder.
  • Fish love trucks.
  • Scientists cannot pronounce "coelacanth."
  • Amphibians are flammable.
  • Women's pupils contract during labor.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 6 mins - This ugly guy is having the worst day of his life.
  • 7 mins - Okay, that was an understatement.
  • 19 mins - We are having some fun now!
  • 44 mins - One of these days the town should invest in an ambulance.
  • 57 mins - I am confused about the climate in Noyo. People are wearing vests, but she has on a bathing suit and the disc jockey is clad in a Hawaiian shirt.
  • 63 mins - Continuity error: Carol had just showered when we first saw her.


  • Slattery: "I'll tell you one thing: you're not going to stand in our way."
    Johnny: "That's what Custer said, Slattery."
    Slattery: "I know. You won the battle, but we won the war."
  • Slattery: "Hey Jimbo, what do you think about this gal? She'll do great things huh?"
    Jim: "I'll believe it when I see it."
    Susan: "You'll see it."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note humanoidsdeep1.wav Johnny: "Somebody killed my dog, Slattery. You got any ideas?"
Slattery: "Well, that's a coincidence, somebody killed seven of our dogs last night at the dock."
Green Music Note humanoidsdeep2.wav Jim: "What the hell's going on? What happened to my brother?"
Hank: "Well, you're not going to believe this either. They're telling us it was some kind of sea monster."
Slattery: "That's right, sea monsters! They burned his house, attacked you brother, even took their dead away - right?"
Green Music Note humanoidsdeep3.wav Dr. Drake talking about the humanoids.
Green Music Note humanoidsdeep4.wav Dr. Drake: "Hold it! We think we know where these things come from, but we have no idea how many there are."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliphumanoidsdeep1.mpg - 2.6m
Dr. Drake, Jim, and Johnny Eagle have stumbled upon a nest of the monsters. Lucky for them, they are armed. Look at how tough the creatures are, taking multiple shots from a rifle before going down!

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