director Barbara Peeters
In the realm of urban legends and the sorts of hype and rumors that one grew up with as a teen in my time, the notoriety of Humanoids from the Deep may have been something purely unique to me and a couple of friends. I, myself, had never seen it, but in hearing the description of the story, about these monsters that come from the sea and rape women on the beach with lots of sex and gore…well, I thought it sounded astounding. Hard to believe. But was told it was true.
I don’t know how many of my friends told me about it. Who knows, it could have been just one with a particularly lurid account of the film. But it stuck with me and for nearly 30 years, I have had it rather dubiously on my list of movies that I wanted to finally see. It’s funny how elusive some things can be.
The funny thing about the lurid details that I recall, three decades hence, but they really were not exaggerated exactly. This is a movie with Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)- like monsters terrorizing a seaside town and, indeed, quite explicitly raping the women. And pulling their clothes off and showing their breasts. (Some of these things were a bit more of a pure draw at those more tender years.)
The raping thing is rather unusual though.
I’ve come to think about the slasher film that it is indeed rather odd that the killers only seek to kill and not to rape the nubile young beauties therein. There is this whole trope of punishment for sexuality that runs through the genre, a sort of Puritanical revenge, if you will. But the thing about slashers is that they are in a sense closer to a true life type of criminal, a random human killer, serial or spree. And in life, those killers often are sex-driven as well as purely physically violent and murderous. Why is it that in your average slasher/horror film that rape is not a motive, not an act?
I feel that there is something much more significant beneath the potential answers to this question. And I’m sort of balking at going beyond raising the question at the moment.
But these Humanoids from the Deep very explicitly rape the female victims and are in the narrative even trying to expand their biology somehow in the process. These monsters, designed by Rob Bottin, are some weird Creature from the Black Lagoon meets Alien (1979) meets low end Roger Corman. They’re kind of cool and weird.
Apparently, Corman asked for more explicit sex to add to the violence and had the rape scenes added later to spice up the film without director Barbara Peeters’ or others’ knowledge or consent, so maybe it’s not such a random thing to glom onto. It certainly adds a seediness to the affair.
The affair, the film rather, stars Doug McClure and Vic Morrow. And it reels between real cheap and pretty decent throughout. Some of the film is better produced and some of the sequences are shoddier. It also has a mild Jaws (1975) element running through it, all with weird science gone wrong and blood and gore.
It’s quite good in its way. And now some deep-seeded need within my movie-watching soul has been slaked.