Humongously Underrated: Humongous (1982) - A 35th Anniversary Retrospective - Dread Central
Connect with us

News

Humongously Underrated: Humongous (1982) – A 35th Anniversary Retrospective

Published

on

Humongous

Director Paul Lynch’s Humongous was lumped in with all the Canadian slashers that came out during the early ’80s, which included Lynch’s other contribution the rather good Prom Night (1980). It is very similar plot wise to the earlier 1980 Italian film Anthropophagus directed by Joe D’Amato… except this is actually decent, and not a dreary plodding mess. Although, the title in review here has its detractors accusing it of being just as dull, and it has wallowed in obscurity ever since its release, while Anthropophagus has undeservedly achieved cult status. This is no classic but it does not deserve to be as under-seen as it has been these past thirty-five years, and it certainly does not deserve its current pitiful 4.4 rating on IMDB.

The pre-title sequence is a typical slasher troupe, in which the depiction of a past traumatic event has horrific repercussions on the future generation in the present day setting; tragedy begets tragedy. On Labor Day weekend in 1946, a drunken man rapes a young woman named Ida Parsons in the woods outside of her island family home, where her father is holding a party. SPOILER ALERT – When the family’s vicious guard dogs break out of their pen, they attack and maul her rapist. She then commands them to stop, picks up a rock, and bashes him in the head with it a couple of times killing him – END OF SPOILER.

After the somber title sequence, there is a narrative jump of 36 years, and we are introduced to a group of four teens. They are the squabbling preppy bothers Eric (David Wallace) and Nick (John Wildman), their sister Carla (Janit Baldwin), and the brothers’ respective girlfriends – Sandy (Janet Julian, who would go on to star opposite Christopher Walken in Abel Ferrara’s underrated 1995 film King of New York) and Donna (Joy Boushel). They are all going out for the weekend on a yacht belonging to the father of the three siblings.

That night during the trip a fog settles in, and hearing cries out in the sea they rescue the shipwrecked fisherman Bert (Layne Coleman). Aboard the yacht, he tells the group how he was wrecked offshore of Dog Island, the home of Ida. He tells them how she has used her family’s fortune to live a reclusive life, only venturing out for two annual trips to the mainland to buy supplies she needs and does not talk to anyone, and that her savage dogs roam the island.

Nick is frightened by this story as he hears the cries of wild animals coming from the island. He runs to the top of the yacht to turn it around to go back to the mainland, but instead damages the fuel line causing it to explode. With the Yacht on fire, they all abandon ship except Carla who is still down in the cabin. The group wash up on Dog Island with Bert seriously wounded, Carla missing, and there is something more monstrously dangerous for them to worry about than dogs.

After this first half hour, it is a little slow to get going in the second act as much time is spent with the kids just wondering the island, which is one of the film’s common criticisms. However, I think the director always finds ways to keep the story moving along at a suspenseful pace. Brian R.R. Hebb’s darkly lit cinematography, and the simple use of John Mills-Cockell’s effective minimalist synthesizer score, heightens the tension in scenes and encapsulates the proceedings in a fantastic creepy atmosphere.

The film is powerfully brutal in places. SPOILER ALERT – Especially in the aforementioned gruesome and disturbing rape and savaged by dogs opening sequence – END OF SPOILER. With the exception of moments like this, this is not an overly gory affair in the majority of it slasher set-pieces, so gorehounds will more likely be disappointed.

The Monster’s back-story is told to us by the teens discovering a diary, which as well as setting up the terror that’s in store for them and us, it has an underlying sadness that draws our sympathies. The director shows his monster only in parts during the second half hour, and it is not until the third act in the exciting climax that we see his huge frame in full view, but his grotesque deformed face is concealed in darkness until the final scenes. I think this was a smart play by Paul Lynch, as it adds to the suspense and it makes his antagonist even more frightening for it.

The small group of young people features likable characters, including the final girl Sandy, but with the exception of Nick and Donna, who are a pair of obnoxious pains in the asses. The acting is adequate and is serviceable to the needs of the material; the cast achieves in what is asked of them.

When the film was released first in the US, it was badly cut for an R rated version, whereas the later domestic Canadian release was unrated. The picture of the VHS release was a little too dark and was barely watchable during crucial moments. Thankfully, this was fixed with the transfer for Scorpion’s Releasing’s full-uncut DVD.

Under-seen and unfairly maligned, there is not much to dislike about Humongous... aside from Nick and Donna. Atmospheric, brutal, sleazy, suspenseful and tense, a monstrous villain, and an energetic finale, this is an entertaining little slasher flick. Recommended.

Humongous

Continue Reading
Comments

News

Go Christmas Caroling with The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Published

on

Given that I personally have gone Christmas caroling with various lunatics hopped up on eggnog, what the hell… why not go Christmas caroling with The Killing of a Sacred Deer? Dig on this latest clip!

Look for the flick starring Colin Farrell (Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, In Bruges, 2009) and co-starring Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (Best Actress, The Hours, 2003) to hit Blu-ray, DVD, and digital on January 23rd. Yorgos Lanthimos directs.

Special features include “An Impossible Conundrum” featurette, and the package will be priced at $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

Synopsis:
Dr. Steven Murphy (Farrell) is a renowned cardiovascular surgeon presiding over a spotless household with his ophthalmologist wife, Anna (Kidman), and their two exemplary children, 12-year-old Bob (Sunny Suljic) and 14-year-old Kim (Raffey Cassidy). Lurking at the margins of Steven’s idyllic suburban existence is Martin (Barry Keoghan), a fatherless teen he has covertly taken under his wing.

As Martin begins insinuating himself into the family’s life in ever-more unsettling displays, the full scope of his intent becomes menacingly clear when he confronts Steven with a long-forgotten transgression that will shatter the Murphy family’s domestic bliss.

Continue Reading

News

Which Monsters May Be Making Their TV Debut in Junji Ito Collection?

Published

on

Studio Deen’s highly-anticipated anime anthology Junji Ito Collection has been building buzz, especially since its new teaser dropped weeks ago. Eagle-eyed fans who are well-acquainted with horror mangaka Junji Ito’s body of work will spot some familiar faces in the new trailer, brought to the small screen by showrunner Shinobu Tagashira.

So, who among Ito’s famous menagerie of monsters may be making an appearance in the show when it airs next year?

Oshikiri Toru

Oshikiri is the morally-questionable highschooler who begins to question his perception of reality in Hallucinations, a series of some loosely connected one-shots. Oshikiri’s a little on the short side, with an even shorter fuse. One thing he’s not short on is moneyas evidenced by his impressive, albeit creepy, mansion. We’ve yet to see which of his adventureswhich range from murder to parallel dimensionswill be his television debut.

Yuuko

The once-chatty Yuuko falls ill and sees her worst fears come to pass in Slug Girl, the famous one-shot whose brand of body horror is sure to feel like a distant cousin (or maybe a predecessor?) to Uzumaki‘s “The Snail” chapter. It offers little in the way of answers but is best enjoyed in all its bizarre glory.

The Intersection Bishounen

In Lovesick Dead, one of Ito’s longer standalone stories, an urban legend causes a rash of suicides when young girls begin to call upon a mysterious, black-clad spirit called the Intersection Bishounen. The custom catches on quickly among teenagers, out late and eager for him to tell them their fortune in life and love, since his advice is to die for. Literally.

Souichi Tsujii

A long-running recurring character in Ito’s manga (probably second only to Tomie herself), you’ll know Souichi by the nails he sucks on or sticks out of his moutha strange habit borne out of an iron deficiency. He’s an impish kid whose fascination with the supernatural makes him the odd man out in an otherwise normal family. The morbid pranks he likes to playfunny only to him—don’t do much to endear him to his peers or relatives, either.

Fuchi

The titular character in Fashion Model, Fuchi works as a professional model for her, shall we say, unique look and Amazonian stature. When she and another actress are hired by a crew of indie filmmakers, Fuchi shows them that she doesn’t like sharing the limelight. She also makes a cameo in a couple of Souichi’s stories, and in them he finds her genuinely attractive. Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder.

Continue Reading

News

Nemo Rising Signing Happening at Dark Delicacies on December 23

Published

on

Author C. Courtney Joyner will be signing copies of his new book Nemo Rising at Burkank’s Dark Delicacies horror store on Saturday, December 23 at 4pm. You can get the full details of the event and directions on Dark Delicacies’ website.

Nemo Rising will be a sequel to Jules Verne’s 1870 masterpiece Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and will see President Ulysses S. Grant recruiting the notorious Captain Nemo to destroy a gigantic sea monster which has been responsible for sinking ships. The gigantic eight-tentacled mollusc can be seen on the book’s cover below, and it looks like Nemo will have his work cut out for him.

Joyner also worked on the screenplays for the Full Moon films Doctor Mordrid and Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys, whilst his previous books include Hell Comes To Hollywood and the Shotgun series. If you can’t make it to the signing, Nemo Rising will be released in the US on December 26, and in the UK on January 13.

Nemo Rising Dark Delicacies Signing Details:
​Nemo Rising will be released on hardcover from Tor Books on December 26th, 2017.

JUST ANNOUNCED: On December 23rd at 4:00 PM, C. Courtney Joyner will sign copies of NEMO RISING at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, California!

C. COURTNEY JOYNER is an award-winning writer of fiction, comics, and screenplays. He has more than 25 movies to his credit, including the cult films Prison, starring Viggo Mortensen; From a Whisper to a Scream, starring Vincent Price; and Class of 1999, directed by Mark Lester. A graduate of USC, Joyner’s first produced screenplay was The Offspring, which also starred Vincent Price. Joyner’s other scripts have included TV movies for CBS, USA, and Showtime. He is the author of The Shotgun western series and Nemo Rising.

Continue Reading

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Trending