Horror Becomes Her - Humanoids from the Deep (1980)
Horror and films directed by women are both big blind spots for me, so I am taking this deep dive into some of the more outre films I have come across in my movie watching.
Humanoids from the Deep was notably one of the victims of Roger Corman’s interference. Before Corman insisted on changes, the movie certainly had the signs of being a solid thriller about a female scientist Dr. Susan Drake (Ann Turkel) trying to get to the bottom of a mysterious series of deaths at an ocean town, even if it felt very much like a rip off of Jaws. It even had an interesting arc where Dr. Drake turns out to have been indirectly responsible for the creation of the monsters and that she is trying to make up for the wrong that she did. But Roger Corman insisted on his usual naked woman policy and even hired second unit director James Sbardellati to include scenes of naked women being violated by the monsters. Ann Turkel and director Barbara Peeters were so unhappy with the final product that they asked for their names be removed from the film but they refused.
Honestly, I don’t think there was much of a movie there in the first place, but the inclusion of nudity definitely did not improve the picture in any way. If the film had been more focused on Dr. Drake and her guilt over inadvertently giving birth to these creatures, then it would have been a lot more compelling. If the film had wanted to make a greater point about violence against women, then Corman made sure to drown that message at sea with the excessive nudity and lingering on female bodies. Humanoids wouldn’t have been a great movie if it had been left alone, but it would have at least had an interesting portrayal of a female intellectual.