Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days Of 80's Movie Slashers: 10/27 - Humongous (1982)

Day Twenty-seven:

From Embassy Pictures
Original Theatrical Release Date: June 11th 1982
DVD: No (Coming Soon)

Plot: Young people crash their boat onto an island that's is seemingly uninhabited. They eventually find themselves fighting for survival as the titular character is alive and well on the island... and very hungry.

Readers, I am so very sorry for this late posting. I was stuck on an island without any means of outside communication. No phone (lost that when I left it in my pocket and decided to take a swim in the pool on Tuesday--but that didn’t matter as there’s also no Cell Phone service on the Island, anyway) no WiFi, no TV and I think the only newspaper available was from Tuesday of last week. It is then truly fitting that Thursday’s post just so happened to be the deserted Island-set Humongous. Just like a young Jamie Lee Curtis in Haddonfield High School learned, Fate has a way of sneaking up on you.

At some point in life, you might ask yourself what would you do if you were stuck on a deserted island like in the film. I’m not one of those persons. I do not want to be stuck on a deserted island. Nor do I want to put myself in a position where I might be stuck on a deserted island. And I certainly don’t want to think about what I would have to do if that situation arose. No good can come of it. For one, you can plan it out in your head all you want, but I think the reality just might be a bit harder and more frightening than that picture.

Frightening for me comes in a very small form... Think about all those mosquitoes, biting gnats and bugs! The main culprit for my torture was what the locals called "NoSeeUms"--Small enough to not spot right away, but you sure can feel them!. It’s enough that they spent all day yesterday and this morning eating me alive (I think I have literally 50 bites) imagine spending weeks? Months? Years?! I’d end up being a half eaten, talking corpse right out of a Stephen King short story. I might adapt to my environment as they say you do, but, these bugs know I’m a city boy, and they are totally gunning for me. I’m dead meat.

Also, the superstitious side of me fears that if I think too much of these things (I definitely should not dare speak them aloud!) then they just might happen. And finally, why do I have to think about putting myself in this scenario when I can watch Movies where people fall into it themselves? I’ve always considered Movies as a form of therapy. Without them, I’m sure to be a crazy mess. I would more than likely start thinking that this Island I was on just might turn out to be a place I’d never escape. It’s enough that I’m not able to get my little writings out to the World Wide Interwebs on time, but to not be able to flip through the TV to see ads for old people who can drive their scooters to the edge of the Grand Canyon? What am I, an animal?! Am I a mongoloid without a family, a home, building blocks and a dream to one day be a TV Talk Show Host in the unassuming style of Dick Cavett, Mike Douglas or Tom Snyder?

I’d imagine The Movie Humongous wasn’t so put through the publicity machine where it’s young stars guest starred on such shows or their early 80’s counterpart. The Film was released by Embassy Pictures, which as it turns out, was not the best Studio in the world and didn’t make it past the mid-80’s. They did release the occasional wonderful Film now and then and had come up with great poster art for the Film. The Trailer also has a certain charm to it. Their biggest folly came in their Home Video division as it’s VHS was famously transferred incorrectly (were they actually sleeping while they did this?) and it’s print was way too dark to make out of a lot of the Action. For years this has marred the Film, and a lot of potential fans ended up dismissing the Film because of it.

Now if you really love Humongous, and I’m one of the few who really do, then you probably already understand why. Regardless of it’s beyond muddled transfer, and this is a Film that already used a lot of natural lighting in it’s Cinematography in the first place, there are several treats in store for you. The aforementioned Island setting is one that I like to see as it adds to the creepiness and gives the film a more claustrophobic feel (the kids crash their boat with no foreseeable way to get off) and again, I can let them go through all the trouble of having to worry about that while I am not sitting somewhere comfortable, sipping a sweet tea (ah, the south and their sweet tea--lord bless ‘em!) and finally being able to post this damn thing.

Nick and Donna are quite the duo and have some really wacky and combative dialogue. For example, in bed during sex...

Nick: You blew it Donna! This was your last chance at this bed; an historic occasion.
Donna: Yeah right, Nick. Everything with you is an historic occasion.
Nick: Well if you’d have cum, that would have been a historic occasion!

Nick seems to have a really distraught view of the world, but because he does, it makes his actions and motivations that more interesting to watch. Donna is definitely not the typical slut of these films. There’s a warmth behind her eyes and she really does have good intentions. And golly, she picks berries like the best of them! Headband sporting Sandy has a great outfit and look. By the end of the Film she does win you over a bit more. She has a knack for sleuthing and shares notes with Amy Steel’s Ginny from Friday The 13th Part II with how to deal with deformed sons in a bind. David Wallace (A handsome actor who was also the lead in 1983’s Slasherific Mortuary) as Eric does a good job in portraying a guy who just wants to keep his head above water and get his family and friends out of this mess.

The look and feel of Humongous is one that is not captured all that often in Horror Films. I think anyone can plop their camera down on an Island, run around with it, create fake tension with a shaky camera. There is something at once both restrained and creative at play here. The Filmmakers occasionally use dutch angles (especially when it’s titular character comes around to say hello) and the minimal lighting and emphasis on dread and mood come into play very nicely. Paul Lynch for the most part is known as a serviceable, workmanlike Director, but Humongous gives you a little something extra now and then. His artistry comes through in the way he attempts to deliver a solid story from beginning to end.

From it’s prologue to it’s mesmerizing early credit sequence and down to it’s final shot, Humongous always keeps me hooked. Even if I couldn’t absolutely see everything. Thankfully, I eventually got hold of a copy of an Canadian VHS Tape from the Astral Label and the quality was a bit more brighter than the Embassy Tape and the Film’s darker moments, especially during the chase sequences, were considerably more effective. Even better the Film is coming to DVD next month from the Scorpion Releasing Label and is promised to be the best transfer of the Movie yet. I can't wait.

On the Island last night I learned to be man enough to know that I’m just not going out there in the dark. I know my place. The bugs have made it clear. My place is definitely at the Movies. Whether they be in a darkened Movie Theater or at home. It’s the best place to be.



Stephen Langlois said...

You really unearthed an obscurity here. I have yet to see this, but it sounds a bit more inventive than your average, early-80s horror flick. I'll have to put it on my list. Thanks for the great review!

Stephen Langlois said...

Also, that's a great poster.

Cinema Du Meep said...

Thanks, Stephen!

I really love the poster. They sure don't make 'em like they use to!

Jahirul Islam said...

VHS video is inconvenient in today's digital world, and there are a lot of people who want to convert their older video recordings to DVD. You can certainly find a service that will make this conversion for you. 8mm Video to DVD Transfer

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