Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Corman Theater : Humanoids from the Deep (1997)

So where was the demand for this?  This actually leads me into a brief discussion of a weird trend in Film and TV that took place.  In the mid-90s, there was a decision to just start re-making a bunch of Roger Corman films.  Remakes- a novel concept.  Granted, the idea of a Remake goes back to such classics as The Maltese Falcon, The Wizard of Oz and even The Ten Commandments.  The Corman films- including She-Creature, Bucket of Blood, The Wasp Woman (for Showtime), The Masque of Red DeathTeenage Caveman and Piranha- don't seem to be in the same league though.  I'd also question the reason for Remaking the film if you're going to reuse so much footage.  Isn't the point to add a lot to it & make it better?  Regardless, this film exists and is back in-print on Netflix (or it was), so let's see what's different about this film.  Read on...
Much like my review of 976-Evil 2, I want to just highlight the similarities and differences.  As a Remake, this plot is pretty much the same.

* They add a scene of a Creature escaping some military men.  I guess that's better than 'Well, they exist.'

* Both films feature the bloody death of a kid on a boat.  It's not the same kid, so two different blond-haired kids die for this film 'series.'
* Speaking of things that look familiar, they re-use the boat explosion from the original film here, but for a different scene.  Same boat though.
* Near the ending of the film, they even shoehorn a scene of people at a Carnival, just because they want to re-use the footage.  The suits are a bit different, making the Stock Footage use a bit silly.
* The Military play a big role here, as opposed to having the townspeople fight off the monsters.  Oh and that Feminist moment is gone too.

* Both films are all about forcing nudity into a situation that doesn't need it.  The two films are about even in that department, although the 1997 version has more of it at the end.

I especially love that the major nudity is done by our heroine's Stunt/Swimming Double...who has red hair.  Yeah, our heroine is actually a blond.
* Both films rip-off Alien (although, the original film was released only a year after the Sci-Fi Classic), but in different scenes.  The 1997 film actually has TWO monster births.  So much for shock value.
* As I mentioned, both films have the same shock Ending.

The 1997 film throws a twist in: the Happy Ending Fake-Out, featuring this film's version of Piranha's Barbara Steele.  She seems to be alright, only to go into monster labor in her car on the Freeway.  The End.
More pulp, but less substance.  While I didn't talk much about the story in the 1980 film, there is a bit of it.  There's a story in this film, but it boils down to a lot of filler.  Bad guy dumping waste.  Hippies protesting.  Lead from Revenge of the Nerds playing macho.  That's about it, save for the Military scenes and the character ripped right out of Piranha.  Seriously, they have a British woman who shows up and explains the science of the creatures.  This is the same role that Barbara Steele played in Piranha, just with a different accent.  To be honest, there is less Monster footage in this one, not even counting the re-used stuff.  It was a bit creative how they mixed up the Stock Footage, but it was still Stock Footage.  The movie relies a lot more on the characters interacting with less Monster footage than in the original, which could be a blessing or a curse (depending on your taste).  Me, personally, I like the 1980 version better.  This does try to refine the background a bit more, although it also muddies it up a bit.  Are they a military experiment gone awry or creatures mutated by waste.  It's kind of both, which is a bit silly to me.  Just pick one, guys!  Overall, the film does a decent job at copying the original's pulpy tone.  As a bonus, that damn dog dies here too...
Next up, a look at a Bert I. Gordon film from the '50s.  How will it inspire a post-modern take?  Stay tuned...


  1. Really, really love the original - really, really hate the remake. The original was thrilling and entertaining while the 90s version is just bland and boring.

  2. I've never hears of a remake actually using footage from the original movie. That's kind of stupid and lazy. Like, "We're going to remake the movie, but we're not really going to try all that hard to make it better." Interesting.

  3. It's more common than you might think, then. Ironically, it seems to happen more in Corman remakes.

    'Barbarian' is a European-produced film that is essentially a Remake of Deathstalker. To save money, they bought 80% of the original film's footage and slapped it in.

    Oh yeah, wait for the final review of the week to see something really lazy...

  4. Good,ol 80's camp, cliche, drive in classic, not much production value improvement for the remake leaving the original the superior film. Now if we could just combine that classic monster movie exploitation, character development and mystery with modern day production value, The Bay 2012, then we would have a movie.