Directed by: Paul Lynch
Written by: William Gray
Produced by: Anthony Kramreither
Reviewed by: Brett H.
ďLeave my brother alone for Christís sake, Donna. Ericís not interested in you. He likes Ďem with class. Me, I donít care. I prefer Ďem with a little mileage on them.Ē
After the success of Prom Night, there was nowhere else for tax shelter horror go but to the slasher pool. After directing the commercial success, Paul Lynch went right back to the well and brought forth another Canadian slasher in Humongous, albeit much different. Replacing the city school setting is the thick, woody isolation of the Canadian forest with Jamie Lee Curtis also having moved on, being replaced by some newcomers as well as actors who were relatively unknown, but had some experience under their belts. Back again from the Prom Night days is writer William Gray, who also had written The Changeling, one of the more highly renowned examples of Canuck horror ever made. With the inevitably more Canadian setting in place as well as a giant deformed anomaly, Humongous still bombed with fans and has gotten a reputation for having one of the darkest transfers ever in the history of home video. True, the transfer is very hard to make out, but Paul Lynch doesnít exactly birth a giant 7í4Ē turd by any stretch of the imagination.
The film opens on Labour Day weekend, 1946, with a rich family throwing a little shaker on their lakeside property. Everyone appears to be having a good time, with a bunch of couples making out and dancing to some old music before things take a turn for the worse. A drunk man (Page Fletcher) decides to go up to a lady heís particularly interested in and tries to woo her to no avail. Thereís evidently some history between the two and the woman runs off into the woods only to be followed and attacked. As the man begins to rape her, a dog breaks out of its cage and viciously attacks him, gnawing flesh off the bone. As he lay prone, the woman takes this opportunity to get revenge and finish him off, the experience traumatizing her severely.
36 years later, Eric (David Wallace) and Nick (John Wildman) Simmons go on a vacation with their sister and girlfriends. They spend their time on their boat, drinking a few cold ones and listening to tunes; all the while dealing with Nick, who is about the biggest asshole on the planet. After the sun has set, Nick wants to go all the way with his girlfriend, but she says no and he flips out. He mans the wheel and is determined to get the hell out of there, even if the conditions on the water are terrible. Just prior to this, theyíd met up with a man who had his boat stall in the middle of nowhere and he had advised them to stay put as thereís a lot of rocks in the area. Nick the dick pays no attention to this and sure enough the boat crashes and explodes. The group is now stranded on a deserted island, which the story goes is inhabited only by a weird old lady and her dogs. But, the dogs turn out to be the least of their worries; in fact, theyíve all been eaten. A deformed madman stalks the island and thereís only one word to describe him. Humongous.
To get my slight bias out of the way right off the hop, of all the different slashers out there, the backwoods variety brings me the most enjoyment. Humongous is nowhere near the best slasher of all time, it prefers to mingle with you from an eighties cheesy goodness standpoint. Most importantly, in typical Canadian slash fashion, the characters are all at least moderately likable. That is, except for Nick who is the kind of guy who would pull a loaded gun on his brother just to piss around. Youíre very happy to see him scream like baby before heís put to rest, believe me. The girls are the type that you can bring home to mom and Paul Lynch always seems to have the camera in perfect position to get a good shot of a bikini or an ass whenever possible. The story isnít twisting and turning nonstop, but the plot is very adequate and although the viewer has a pretty good idea whatís going to happen and why, itís still fun watching the mystery unfold for the characters.
It all comes down to three problems, though. The transfer is just so dark that you often canít tell what is going on, and you donít get a true glimpse at the killer at all. You see his silhouette here, his hand there, but the film lacks a scene where a horrifying monster is revealed and every little disgusting detail you thought of throughout the movie is finally shown to be true. In quick and short bursts, you do see his strength as he flings around bodies with ease and his fury while as he crushes a poor girl's skull. The last major problem is a combination of the first problem and the filmís effects. Any gooey moments are disguised under the murky transfer and there arenít too many of them to begin with. Early eighties slashers often under whelmed in terms of grue, so itís no surprise, but the most logical reasoning behind the darkness of the movie is Paul Lynch perhaps not being comfortable with the quality of the mammoth killerís makeup or the gore effects in general, an idea widely speculated by fans. The standard killer POV shots are present when the killer spies on the potential victims and are pretty good, accompanied by a nice growling sound.
The best aspect of the movie is the climax, which lasts a very long time and reminded me of a Friday the 13th sequel. It goes without saying the troubled transfer hinders this as well, you often arenít totally sure whatís going on or what has happened until what little light there is hits something just right. The best scene of the movie has nothing to do with the horror at all. A member of the group is very chilled and begins to sweat from anxiety, so a lovely lady (who had just delivered him blueberries in her top!) opens up her shirt and holds her naked body against him to keep him warm. Gotta love those Canadian survival techniques! Humongous is cheesy fun, and slasher completists will surely want to give this one a try, as should anyone curious. The soundtrack is actually very good and the slasher crowd should at the very least be happy with the creepy music as well as drippy and crackling sound effects during the death scenes. Assuming you can track down a copy of this out of print 80s black sheep and you can come to grips with a very dark transfer, Rent it!
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