Saturday, June 2, 2012

Humongous (1982, DVD Review)

Director: Paul Lynch
Cast: Janet Julian, David Wallace
Scorpion Releasing / Region 0 / Not Rated / 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / English Mono / 94 minutes
Disc Features: Watch this in “Katarina’s Nightmare Theater” format with our hostess Katarina Leigh Waters or play feature only / Alternate Pre-Credit Sequence / Audio Commentary with Director Paul Lynch, Writer William Gray and Horror Journalist Nathaniel Thompson; moderated by Katarina Leigh Waters / Original Theatrical Trailer
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I recall two things about Humongous from when I watched it as a kid. One, the terrifying beast who haunted my dreams for a solid week. The second thing was that ominous feeling of doom I experienced during the whole ninety minutes. When I heard this was released on DVD, I was chomping at the bit to re-live my childhood fears. It seems my memory is a tad skewed. How did I forget about the brutal rape scene at the beginning? Was I half-asleep and missed the wooden acting and low-budget film direction? And that hideous beast is nothing like I remembered in my nightmares. This isn’t a condemning of the film, on the contrary.

The plot of Humongous is basic. A group of teenagers go on a boating trip that goes horribly wrong. After blowing up the boat through an odd set of circumstances, they end up on a strange island where they find a solitary house and plenty of picked clean bones. One by one, the teens get 86′d as the lead actress puts together who lived on the island and the details about the mutated monster that currently stalks the island.
The main thing that stays true for Humongous no matter how old I am is that effective sense of doom throughout its duration. On that alone, I can recommend this film. But as a monster movie, you don’t get to see enough of the creature to really feel like the long wait paid off. The characters are pretty much cardboard cut outs, and their acting is just as stiff. From a gore standpoint, the killing is pretty tame. In a nut shell, this is a moody chiller that’s a slow burn, but despite its shortcomings, it’s a decent trip down memory lane.
Scorpion Releasing’s DVD is well above the quality of the prior VHS release, though due to the low-budget quality of the movie, it’s not going to look pristine. The audio is fair, but keep the volume somewhat high so you can catch every word of dialogue. The audio commentary is a bit dry, especially when it comes to director Paul Lynch not remembering as many details about shooting the film as the fans would like to hear. But make no mistake, Scorpion Releasing knows how to unbury even the most neglected, misbegotten movie and bring it to our DVD shelves.

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