Tag Archives: roger corman

The Fantastic Four (1994)

The Fantastic Four


Today, I’m going to delve into the infamous first attempt to bring the comic book team The Fantastic Four to the big screen: 1994’s The Fantastic Four.

The plot of The Fantastic Four is described on IMDb as follows:

When an experimental space voyage goes awry, four people are forever changed by cosmic rays: Reed Richards, inventor and leader of the group gains the ability to stretch his body and takes the name Mr. Fantastic. His girlfriend, Sue Storm, gains the ability to turn invisible and create force fields becoming The Invisible Girl. Her little brother, Johnny Storm, becomes The Human Torch with the ability to control fire, including covering his own body with flame. The pilot Ben Grimm is turned into the super-strong, super-tough Thing. Together they become a team of super-heroes and use their unique powers to foil the evil plans of villains

The superhero team The Fantastic Four was created by famed comic book masters Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and first appeared in The Fantastic Four #1 in November of 1961. Since then, the team has been a mainstay of Marvel comics, and has made the jump to cartoons, video games, and a number of movies.

The screenplay for this film adaptation was credited to Craig J. Nevius (Black Scorpion) and Kevin Rock (Howling VI, The Philadelphia Experiment II).

The director for The Fantastic Four was Oley Sassone, who helmed numerous episodes of the television shows Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.

The cast of The Fantastic Four includes Jay Underwood (The Boy Who Could Fly, Uncle Buck), Rebecca Staab (The Substitute 3, Love Potion No. 9), Michael Bailey Smith (Men In Black II, The Hills Have Eyes), Joseph Culp (Mad Men), and Alex Hyde-White (Pretty Woman).

The editor for The Fantastic Four was Glenn Garland, who has gone on to become Rob Zombie’s go-to film cutter. His credits include 31, The Lords of Salem, Bunraku, The Devil’s Rejects, Retroactive, and both of Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies.

One of the executive producers for the film was Roger Corman, the legendary b-movie producer and director. As legend has it, he was given a small budget, and the job of throwing together a Fantastic Four movie as quickly and cheaply as possible, so that the rights to the property could be retained for another ten years. Thus, in many ways, The Fantastic Four is considered his creation, and is often referred to as Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four.

One of the special effects makeup artists for the movie was Everett Burrell, whose other credits include Castle Freak, Re-Animator, Troll, Ghoulies, DeepStar Six, Harry and the Hendersons, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Creepshow 2, among others.

The production designer for The Fantastic Four was Mick Strawn, who has served as a designer and art director on such movies as A Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Kazaam, The Hidden, and Candyman.

In 2015, a documentary by the name of Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four was released, which detailed the story of the movie’s bizarre production, non-release, and ultimate cult status.

Including this iteration, The Fantastic Four has been put to film four times. The other attempts, 2015’s Fantastic Four, 2005’s Fantastic Four, and 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, all met with mixed to negative receptions, leading to a popular belief that there is no way to make a Fantastic Four film work in this day and age.

The hit comedy television show Arrested Development has a recurring, thinly veiled reference to the production of this film that runs throughout the show’s fourth season. One of the main character creates a musical adaptation of an unfinished Fantastic Four movie from the 1990s, in an attempt to circumvent rights issues with Marvel.

Because the movie was never formally released, people only managed to hear about it through word of mouth, and see it on unfinished bootleg tapes. Still, the film’s reputation got around. Currently, it holds an IMDb user rating of 3.9/10, alongside Rotten Tomatoes scores of 29% from critics and 27% from audiences.

Personally, I think that there are a whole lot of things to like about this flicks. The costumes, for instance, look pretty great, and are delightfully faithful to the group’s comic book origins. They may be cheesy and somewhat goofy, but that sort of gels with what this particular hero team has always been.

Likewise, the performances and writing are generally pretty good here. All of the key players put in performances that suit their characters, are there aren’t any weak links among them. In particular, I’m a big fan of Dr. Doom in this movie: he way be an over-the-top mustache-twirler, but that is exactly what I wanted from the villain in this movie.

The biggest issues with the film relate to its financial limitations and time constrictions. The effects, for instance, are inarguably cheesy and cheap. Likewise, the audio isn’t great for some of the dialogue, which isn’t so strange for a movie that was never quite finished, and not meant for consumption. Regardless, I think these issues give the movie an added, curious charm, so it hard to fault the movie for them.

The Fantastic Four is certainly no masterpiece, but it may be the most loyal and genuine Fantastic Four movie that the world will ever see. For fans of the property, it is worth checking out. More importantly, though, this is an absolute gem of a feature for bad movie fans: the performances are goofy, the costumes and effects are cheap, and there’s a great behind-the-scenes story to tie the whole thing together.

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Water Foul: Creature From The Haunted Sea

Creature From The Haunted Sea

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Today’s movie is another low-budget classic from Roger Corman: Creature From The Haunted Sea.

Creature From The Haunted Sea was written by Charles Griffith, a frequent Corman collaborator who penned such memorable flicks as Death Race 2000, Attack of the Crab Monsters, A Bucket of Blood, and The Little Shop of Horrors.

The director and producer of Creature From The Haunted Sea was, of course, Roger Corman, who is widely known as the king of the b-movies. Though he has primarily worked as a producer over the years, he also has over 50 directing credits, including The Wild Angels, Attack of the Crab Monsters, A Bucket of Blood, and The Little Shop of Horrors.

The cinematographer for Creature From The Haunted Sea was Jacques R. Marquette, who shot multiple episodes of television shows like The Greatest American Hero, Hawaii Five-O, McHale’s Navy, The Patty Duke Show, and The Streets of San Francisco over his career.

hauntedsea1The score for Creature From The Haunted Sea was provided by Fred Katz, who worked on a number of other Corman movies like A Bucket of Blood, The Little Shop of Horrors, and The Wasp Woman.

The associate producer for Creature From The Haunted Sea was Charles Hannawalt, who has worked with Roger Corman in a number of different capacities over his career, including producing The Beast with A Million Eyes, acting as cinematographer on Dementia 13, and serving as a grip on movies like The Trip and She Gods of Shark Reef.

Creature From The Haunted Sea stars Beach Dickerson (Attack of the Crab Monsters), Robert Bean (The Wild Ride), Betsy Jones-Moreland (Last Woman on Earth), Antony Carbone (A Bucket of Blood), and famed screenwriter Robert Towne, who later penned such movies as Chinatown, Bonnie & Clyde, Days of Thunder, Shampoo, and Mission: Impossible.

hauntedsea3The plot of Creature From The Haunted Sea takes place during a Cuban revolution, where a mobster seeks to profit on the social unrest by smuggling loyalists out of the country with the government’s treasury. However, he plans on killing and robbing the exiled stowaways under the guise of an elaborate fake monster attack. Complications arise in the form of an embedded CIA agent and the appearance of a real sea monster, both of whom threaten the entire operation.

Creature From The Haunted Sea was shot back to back with Last Woman on Earth, using the same crew, cast, and locations in Puerto Rico.

Unlike many of Corman’s more famous b-movies, Creature From The Haunted Sea is an intentionally comedic parody movie, lampooning everything from spy films to gangster flicks to Corman’s own prolific creature features.

Robert Towne is credited under a pseudonym for his role in the movie, taking on the fake name ‘Edward Wain’ in the cast listing.

The reception to Creature From The Haunted Sea wasn’t particularly positive, certainly due in part to the unusual comedic tone. It currently holds a 21% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, along with a 3.3 user rating on IMDb.

hauntedsea4The plot of Creature From The Haunted Sea is impossible to fully understand without a familiarity with the context of the time. The movie released in June of 1961,  which placed it right in the middle of the most heated diplomatic era between Cuba and the United States in the long history between the two neighboring countries. In April of 1961, two months prior to the film’s release, the United States launched the counter-revolutionary campaign known as The Bay of Pigs, which ultimately failed to depose Fidel Castro, whose communist forces had been controlling the country since 1959. Sixteen months following the release of the film, the Cuban Missile Crisis took place, in which Cuba agreed to house Soviet nuclear weapons within eyesight of the Florida coast. This is remembered as the pinnacle of tensions in the Cold War, and the defining moment in John F. Kennedy’s presidency.

What is important to note about all of this is that at the time, Communism’s hold in Cuba was still new, and most believed that it would be ousted by some sort of United States scheme before too long. Not only was there the Bay of Pigs invasion, but the CIA even built up a bit of a reputation surrounding their failed assassination attempts on Fidel Castro, which were frequent enough to justify a wikipedia page. So, the idea that the Communist revolutionaries would need to flee the country on short notice was far from unrealistic in the minds of the American public, particularly given the US Government’s adherence to domino theory, and its proficiency in meddling in foreign governments during the era.

The other aspect of the time that may not be engrained in the public consciousness, but is of note to the film’s story, is the involvement of the mafia in Cuba. For film buffs, you probably recall a famous sequence from The Godfather Part 2 that depicted the 1959 Cuban Revolution foiling a backroom mafia plot to divide the country. In fact, organized crime had a field day with Cuba during the reign of Batista, which was effectively ruined by the Communist revolution and Batista’s fall from power. However, as depicted in Creature From The Haunted Sea, the organized crime elements didn’t entirely disappear overnight, particularly if they had money wrapped up in businesses in the country. Thus, that’s why there are so many wayward American criminals and mobster-types hanging out in Cuba at the beginning of Creature From The Haunted Sea.

On to the nuts and bolts of the film, this movie is actually pretty funny, particularly in how it skewers the spy genre. The film is interestingly more of a spy movie than a monster movie at its core, which certainly isn’t what it appears to be at first glance, and wasn’t how it was marketed.

The storyline is incredibly culturally relevant and political, particularly for a b-movie creature feature. It is still goofy without any doubt, and a lot of jokes fall flat, but there is more to it than just simple comedy, which it had every right to limit itself to. More than anything, the movie provides a fascinating window into the time period, and how the American public viewed Cuba and communism in the country. I was reminded a little bit of an episode of The Twilight Zone that also dealt with a veiled version of Cuba called “The Mirror,” which also released in the latter half of 1961, and is worth checking out.

I can’t very well not talk about the ridiculous monster in this movie, which makes The Creeping Terror look like something Stan Winston or Rick Baker cooked up in a workshop. If you ask me, the goofy eyes are really what ties the whole thing together, and gives the monster its life-like quality. It is actually admirable in my opinion that Corman could laugh at himself and the reputation of his movies with this flick. For a modern example, this movie is comparable to what it would be like if Michael Bay had directed Hot Fuzz, if you could imagine such a thing.

While this wasn’t Corman’s only foray into the realm of comedy, it is certainly the least acclaimed of his three famous ventures into the genre. Both A Bucket of Blood and The Little Shop of Horrors are better polished, more memorable, and more fondly treasured as b-movie comedies than Creature From The Haunted Sea, and I can’t help but think that is partially due to the ad hoc nature of the production, as Joe Dante describes in the video above. When you are literally cobbling together a movie from the screenplay up with spare time while making another movie, there is no way you can give it the attention and care that the feature merits, even if it is in the hands of Corman’s notoriously quick movie-making machine. Even with similar back-to-back situations, like with Dolls and From Beyond, both screenplays were at least fully formed at the outset, whereas Creature From The Haunted Sea was a mere concept when the cast and crew was setting out for Puerto Rico.

Overall, Creature From The Haunted Sea is an uneven comedy with plenty of dead spots, and it was obviously cobbled together and padded out with extra footage. That said, it still has a peculiar charm to it and some solid comedic moments. This is a movie that I would say requires some research ahead of going into it, because it certainly isn’t a conventional Corman creature feature, and shouldn’t be viewed as such. If nothing else, this film is a curiosity worth checking out for its novelty value, if not for its cultural value as a window into a bygone era and into Corman’s own opinion of his movies.

Carnosaur

Carnosaur

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Next up is a little flick called “Carnosaur,” which was Roger Corman’s per-emptive answer to the blockbuster sensation of “Jurassic Park.”

“Carnosaur” was directed and written by Adam Simon (“Brain Dead,” “Salem”), with additional footage done by Darren Moloney, who later directed something called “Andromina: The Pleasure Planet.” The story was based on a novel, also called “Carnosaur,” by the Australian fantasy and science fiction writer John Brosnan. Brosnan was known for using a variety of pen names for his novels, such as Harry Adam Knight, which was used for the publication of “Carnosaur.”

The “Carnosaur” musical score was composed by Nigel Holton, who also did music for flicks like “The Haunted Sea” and “Bloodfist II.” The cinematography for “Carnosaur” was done by a man named Keith Holland, who shot a number of other low budget pictures like “Bloody Murder” and “Neon City.” The two credited editors for “Carnosaur” were Richard Gentner (“Leprechaun 2,” “Against the Law”) and Lorne Morris (“Carnosaur 2,” “Killer Instinct”).

carnosaur7The makeup effects work on “Carnosaur” was done by the two-person team of David Barrett (“Tank Girl,” “Batman & Robin,” “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie”) and Fleur Morell (“Terminator: Genisys,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”). Likewise, the visual effects for “Carnosaur” were provided by the duo of Alan Lasky (“Last Action Hero”) and Mark Plunkett (“Robot Jox”).

The special effects on “Carnosaur” were provided by Magical Media Industries Inc., which worked on such films as “The Gingerdead Man,” “Demonic Toys,” and “Bride of Re-Animator.” This specific team was led by John Carl Buechler, a longtime Roger Corman collaborator who worked on such movies as “Troll,” “Trancers,” “Ghoulies,” “From Beyond,” “Dolls,” “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie,” and “Arena.” The rest of the team included Tuck John Porter (“Space Truckers,” “Red Planet,” “Baby Geniuses”), Bill Zahn (“Battlefield Earth,” “The Faculty”), Jeffrey S. Farley (“The Evil Bong,” “Alligator II”), Thomas R. Dickens (“Theodore Rex,” “Anaconda,” “Hollow Man”), Joe Colwell (“Waterworld,” “Super Mario Bros.”), Ted Haines (“The Master of Disguise,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”), and James Rohland (“Dollman”).

carnosaur6The executive producer for “Canosaur” was none other than Roger Corman, arguably the king of all b-movie producers, who had previously been behind “Humanoids from the Deep,” “Piranha,” “The Little Shop of Horrors,” “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” and countless other memorable flicks. The other credited producer was Mike Elliott, who has worked on more recent films such as “War” and “The Devil’s Rejects.”

The cast of “Carnosaur” is made up of a number of familiar faces, most notably character actor Clint Howard (“Blubberella,” “House of the Dead,” “Santa With Muscles”), Diane Ladd (“Chinatown,” “Kingdom Hospital”), Ned Bellamy (“Treme,” “The Ice Harvest”), Frank Novak (“Independence Day”), Harrison Page (“JAG”), Raphael Sbarge (“The Guardian”), and Jennifer Runyon (“Charles in Charge”).

carnosaur5The story of “Carnosaur” centers on a mad genetic scientist, who has managed to reproduce dinosaurs by modifying chickens. If that wasn’t frightening enough, she is also hatching a plan to replace all of humanity with her new breed of dinos, and the only people standing in her way are a hippie and a janitor.

“Carnosaur” features two different dinosaur species: the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the more obscure Deinonychus, which bears significant similarities to the Velociraptors popularized by “Jurassic Park.” The production actually employed an amateur paleontologist to act as a supervisor for the creature creation, which is mildly astounding given the low quality of the picture.

carnosaur2Diane Ladd, who plays the key antagonist in “Carnosaur,” is interestingly the mother of Laura Dern, one of the primary players in the big-budget inspiration for the flick, “Jurassic Park.” This might have been an intentional casting choice due to the relation, but who knows?

Gener Siskel & Roger Ebert were famously split on their opinions of “Carnosaur” on “At The Movies,” with Siskel giving it a “marginal thumbs up” due to the silliness of the plot and Diane Ladd’s performance. Roger Ebert, on the other hand, gave it an unconditional thumbs down. The disagreement was even joked about in the television show, “The Critic.”

“Carnosaur” ultimately spawned two sequels: “Carnosaur 2” in 1995 and “Carnosaur 3: Primal Species” in 1996. Jim Wynorski (“Chopping Mall”) reused clips from “Carnosaur” for a couple of his films: 1994’s “Dinosaur Island” and 2001’s “Raptor.”

In true Roger Corman style, “Carnosaur” was reportedly shot in just 18 days, for a budget of well under $1 million. It grossed roughly $1.7 million in its theatrical run, making it a profitable little picture. That said, it certainly wasn’t well loved by critics or audiences: it currently holds a 3.4 rating on IMDb, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 11% (critics) and 24% (audiences). It is certainly fondly remembered by good-bad movie fans for the cheesy effects work, however.

Speaking of which, the dinosaur puppets in “Carnosaur” look really bad. In a number of sequences, it is painfully obvious that the creature is actually a hand puppet, which doesn’t exactly inspire terror. It also borders on being kind of cute at times, and never manages to pull off ‘menace’ very well. Even the large T Rex spends most of it’s time in a laser room that would fit in more suitably in a documentary on EDM, which I assume was done because it obscures the details of the puppet. There is also some lazy, POV, green-tinted ‘dino-vision’ used on and off throughout the movie, which certainly didn’t help anything.

carnosaur3“Carnosaur” definitely has no qualms about being a knockoff at its core, and doesn’t even limit itself to the confines of “Jurassic Park.” As with “Humanoids of the Deep,” there are a couple of unsettling monster births a la “Alien,” and there is even a “Night of the Living Dead” inspired downer ending.

The production clearly didn’t have Diane Ladd for very long (reportedly 5 days), and the way they shot her made it clear. Her character, who is portrayed as a bit of a hermit, almost exclusively interacts with other characters through security cameras. Despite the obvious awkwardness caused by this, and the fact that the film’s evil plot is more than a bit ridiculous, Diane Ladd plays her mad scientist role pretty straight. Her performance is certainly not as phoned in as I expected. However, I personally thought it was Ned Bellamy who really stole the show as an eccentric corporate figure behind the scenes, though Ladd is certainly hammy.

carnosaur4One of the things that surprisingly stood out the most for me is how absolutely awful the musical score for “Carnosaur” is. It sounds like something a middle school student put together on a cheap keyboard, and it borders on being grating throughout the film.

Overall, “Carnosaur” is worth watching for the hilarious puppet effects, but not much else. The plot is outrageous to be sure, but isn’t particularly memorable. The same can be said of the acting, which is really just on par for b-pictures. It is probably one of the more memorable Corman flicks from the 90s, and might be worth giving a shot with a group for the highlights.

Water Foul: “Humanoids from the Deep”

Humanoids From The Deep

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Next up in the “Water Foul” spotlight on cinematic aquatic terrors is the 1980 creature feature, “Humanoids From The Deep.”

The story of “Humanoids From The Deep” was conceived of by producer Martin B. Cohen and Frank Arnold, an aging actor. The screenplay was written by William Martin, who notably doesn’t have any other film credits according to IMDb.

The primary director on “Humanoids From The Deep” was Barbara Peeters, who had directed a handful of exploitation films previously, and went on to direct for television programs like “Falcon Crest.” Later on, Jimmy T. Murakami (“Battle Beyond The Stars”) was brought in to direct additional sequences, but didn’t ultimately receive official credit for his work on the film.

The cinematographer for “Humanoids From The Deep” was Daniel Lacambre, who also shot “Battle Beyond The Stars” and “Saturday The 14th.”

The producers on “Humanoids From The Deep” included the legendary b-movie figure Roger Corman, story co-writer Martin B. Cohen, and Hunt Lowry, who has gone on to produce films like “Donnie Darko,” “Last of the Mohicans,” and “Top Secret!”

The effects team for “Humanoids From The Deep” included Steve Johnson (“Big Trouble In Little China,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” “Videodrome”), Shawn McEnroe (“The Howling,” “Cocoon”), Kenny Myers (“Species,” “Galaxy Of Terror,” “Galaxina”), Margaret Prentice (“The Thing,” “RoboCop,” “Total Recall”), Roger George (“Chopping Mall,” “Ghoulies,” “Grand Theft Auto,” “Never Too Young To Die”), and Chris Walas (“Piranha,” “Gremlins,” “The Fly”).

The editor on “Humanoids” was Mark Goldblatt, who also cut such films as “Enter The Ninja,” “Predator 2,” “Super Mario Bros.,” and “The Howling.” He also went on to direct a couple of movies, the cult classics “Dead Heat” and 1989’s “The Punisher.”

The music for “Humanoids” was composed by James Horner, who would later win an Academy Award for his score to “Titanic,” and has received numerous accolades for films such as “A Beautiful Mind,” “Braveheart,” “Aliens,” and “Avatar.” “Humanoids” was one of his first film scores, and his early career featured a number of similar low budget horror and sci fi features like “Battle Beyond The Stars,” “The Hand,” and “Krull.”

Assistant director for “Humanoids From The Deep” James Sbardellati went on to work on films like “Slipstream,” “Frailty,” “The Island Of Dr. Moreau,” “The Beastmaster,” and “She’s All That,” and also got head directing duties for the 1983 sword and sorcery cult flick “Deathstalker.”

The cast of “Humanoids from the Deep” includes Doug McClure (“Cannonball Run II,” “Roots”), Ann Turkel (“Deep Space”), Vic Morrow (“Twilight Zone: The Movie,” “Roots,” “1990: The Bronx Warriors”), Anthony Pena (“The Running Man”), and Hoke Howell (“Kingdom Of The Spiders”).

The story of “Humanoids From The Deep” centers around a seaside town that becomes terrorized by mutated, sex-crazed creatures from the sea. As the plot progresses, it is revealed that the creatures were created as a byproduct from hazardous chemicals and genetically modified organisms that had been introduced into the local ecosystem.

humanoids3“Humanoids” was given a made-for-television remake in 1996 starring Robert Carradine that ultimately aired on Showtime to negative reviews.

Apparently, a fair amount of personnel drama ensued around the filming and post-production of “Humanoids from the Deep.” As mentioned earlier, Jimmy Murakami was brought in to film additional sequences after Peeters refused to do so, specifically because the proposed additions were all focused on increasing the gore and explicit sexual content of the film, which was counter to the original vision for the movie. One of the actors, Ann Turkel, tried to stop the release of the picture after she caught wind of the content of the additional sequences (to no avail).

Reportedly, additional actors had to be hired to play the parts of the monsters after the stunt men on “Humanoids” refused to wear the monster suits.

Menahem Golan (“Enter The Ninja,” “Revenge of the Ninja,” “Ninja III”) had at one point planned to make a sequel to “Humanoids From The Deep” in the early 1990s, but the plans ultimately fell through.

Joe Dante, who had just finished directing the film “Piranha,” reportedly turned down the opportunity to direct “Humanoids From The Deep.”

“Humanoids” went by a number of working titles throughout production in an attempt to give the film a sense of legitimacy and class. Two of these titles were “Beneath the Darkness” and “Monster,” the latter of which was used as the final title in some foreign markets.

humanoids4“Humanoids” managed to gross a reported $2.5 million on an undisclosed budget, which was almost assuredly far less than $2.5 million. The film currently holds an IMDb rating of 5.7, along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 56% (critics) and 43% (audience), making for a generally poor reception.

Even though a lot of Murakami’s extended sequences and extra shots didn’t make it to the final cut, it is clear that there was an attempt to up the sleaze factor from watching the film. The amount of totally unnecessary sexual violence on the part of the creatures (which is never adequately explained/rationalized) is absolutely through the roof, to the point that it even drags the pacing of the film down. The film was interestingly both praised and scorned for the explicit nudity and violence by various critics, creating an contentious division of opinion.

The monsters in “Humanoids” honestly don’t look great, They are certainly better than the typical rubber suit beasts that popped up in flicks like “Zaat” or “Horror of Party Beach,” but this was also made in 1980 and on a budget upwards of $2 million: it should look better than those flicks. In fact, it should look astoundingly better, which it unfortunately doesn’t.

One of the biggest problems with “Humanoids” is that it takes itself a bit too seriously for what it is. Outside of one or two semi-humorous sequences (there’s an attempted seduction via puppet?), this film is dead serious from start to finish, and never feels fun. I don’t understand what something so inherently ridiculous was made with such gloomy style, because it certainly doesn’t do the film any favors.

humanoids5Also not helping the overly serious tone, awful monsters, and way-too-heavy content are the poorly-written characters. Basically, none of the characters are memorable in the slightest, and they seem to all die before you get to know them. For all of the things I dislike about, say, “Lake Placid,” I can give you broad strokes of what each of the central characters was like. Gun to my head, I have no idea how to describe the characters in “Humanoids,” except for that one creep who attempt the puppet-assisted seduction.

Last but not least, “Humanoids from the Deep” is guilty of a whole lot of rip-offs from much bigger and more successful contemporary blockbusters. There is obviously a lot of “Jaws” influence (the attack sequences and POV monster shots, for example) in the film, easily as much as there is from the more obvious predecessors “Creature From The Black Lagoon” or “Horror of Party Beach.” “Humanoids” even goes so far as to rip off the dramatic “Alien” chest-burster with the ending (which looks awful). I am a little surprised that they couldn’t figure out a way to wedge a light saber or a star destroyer into this flick to cover all of the blockbuster bases. In for a penny, in for a pound, right? Regardless, “Humanoids” is a knock-off from top to bottom, and doesn’t have a lot in the way of original contributions.

“Humanoids From The Deep” is like licorice: some seem to absolutely love this one, whereas it incites revulsion from many others. As much as I love b-movies (and licorice), I wasn’t impressed overall with “Humanoids From The Deep.” It is a faithful enough update of the old sea monster classics, but it is definitely missing something. The sexually charged monsters are just weird, and the whole thing is way heavier and more serious than it needed to be. It also feels like a soulless assembly of other successful elements from movies at the time that just don’t work when thrown together. Sexual-themed dread works in “Alien,” but it doesn’t need to be in “Jaws.” If you are into Corman movies, this is probably worth checking out, but it certainly isn’t in his upper echelon of memorable works by a long-shot.