Mendocino County begins about 70 or 80 miles North of San Francisco on U.S. 101. The strong coastal winds and small population keep the air clean and crisp and the temperature moderate. The seaside burg of Fort Bragg is one of the county’s coastal jewels and has managed to maintain relative prosperity thanks to the fishing and timber industries.
Upwards of a dozen films have been shot in Fort Bragg, including ‘The Russians are coming, The Russians are coming’,’ Overboard’(1987), and The Majestic’(2001). So what Hollywood power broker got the most out of this Pacific paradise? Kurt Russell? Garry Marshall? Jonathan Winters? Jim Carey? In any other case one of those guys would’ve undoubtedly won out, but nobody, nobody can exploit a location like Roger Corman( except maybe Russ Meyer).
In 1979, Corman brought a small crew including director Barbara Peeters to Fort Bragg to shoot what may well be the early eighties best B-movie. ‘Humanoids from the Deep’ is a pitch perfect low-budget monster flick. If you haven’t seen it, I won't spoil it for you...completely.
8 reasons to love Humanoids...
1) Dialog to die for: Ventriloquist dummy: “ Hey Honey, wanna see my woodpecker?”
Girl: “Will I get splinters?”
2) Monsters that are , ‘Horror at Party Beach’ ,gene-spliced with Alex and his droogs from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and mated with a Coelacanth.
3) Doug McClure’s beer belly, dunlapped to perfection.
4) Doug McClure’s on-screen brother who is Mark Hamil’s dimmer twin.
5) Gratuitous nudity. The girl in the tent is worth the price of admission (Barbara Peeters was fired by Corman because she felt the nude scenes were just solely for purposes of titillation and refused to shoot them. Don’t question Roger when it comes to nudity. C’mon Babs, you’re better than that!)
6) Ann Turkel, hottie in hiding.
7) Gutted puppies, the world’s most lethal Molotov cocktail, A local DJ pronouncing the ‘L’ in salmon, cross species sexual assault, 10 year old boy with a flaming harpoon, and last but perhaps best…
8) Vic Morrow, (Fuck you, John Landis for taking him from us!) When it comes to playing assholes Vic maybe the greatest character actor that ever lived. If you haven’t seen his turn as Coach Roy Turner in the original ‘Bad News Bears’, fuck Humanoids, go get that first.
In summation, ‘Humanoids form the Deep’ as much fun as a bad movie should be allowed to be.
Don’t question Corman!
Caution: Do not be fooled by the 1996 Showtime remake!
Fort Bragg, beautiful, but may now have a meth epidemic…did I forget to mention that before?
Fuck you, John Landis!
For a bonzer Mendocino County Double feature pick up Humanoids’ and Gary Sherman’s less cheeky but very satisfying ‘Dead and Buried’ (1981).