There’s no denying that Roger Corman has made his mark, not just in horror, but in a film as a whole. His countless producing/directing credits are far too numerous to name. His films always had a low budget grindhouse charm to them, which was amusing in its own right.
However, sometimes they had the potential to be even more than that, and none are a better example of this than 1980’s Humanoids From The Deep. This movie first popped up on my radar a few weeks ago, when it was recommended via the Shudder Hotline (more on that here).
It’s a perfectly fun and campy monster movie, but upon digging into the making of the film, it becomes quite clear that it wasn’t the movie originally intended…
Ahead of Its Time
A lot of people don’t realize that Humanoids From The Deep had a female director, Barbara Peeters.
She had experience with B-movie horror, and had even dabbled in directing adult film, but she was the one of the rare female voices in a genre dominated by men, even more so 40 years ago.
But she was sadly fired from the production of Humanoids From The Deep, and doesn’t have any movie directing credits since.
Though, she did continue to direct episodes of TV shows in the 80’s including Renegades, Remington Steele, and Falcon Crest.
It’s hard not to imagine that her dropping out of film entirely may have had to do with a bad experience after being fired from this movie.
Giving in to Gratuity
Reportedly the entire reason that Peeters was fired by Corman, was because she refused to add scenes of the titular Humanoids ripping off women’s clothing to expose their nude bodies. Peeters felt that this went too far into gratuitious nudity.
While she certainly had experience with grindhouse before, it seemed that Peeters wanted to strike some sort of balance, and wanted this movie to be more than that.
Star Ann Turkel was initially excited to work on a “smart sci-fi” movie that would never come to fruition.
After production ended, Corman brought in second unit director James Sbardellati to add scenes of the Humanoid creatures ripping off the clothing and even sexually assaulting women on the beach.
These were the very scenes that Peeters refused to shoot, and even the main cast was unaware of it.
Some even tried to have their names removed when they found out about the graphic nature of it. Ann Turkel even went on several TV shows and criticized Roger Corman for doing so.
No one obviously expected this movie to be the next Citizen Kane or anything like that (the ending was even admitted to be a complete rip off of Alien).
But the more graphic and sexual nature of it crossed a line for many of the actors, as well as Barbara Peeters, and some audience members.
Extreme violence and uncomfortable subjects is nothing new in the realm of horror, but there’s a world of different between using shock value to make a point or explore an idea, and gratuitous nudity just for the sake of it.
What do you think of Humanoids From The Deep? Were the graphic reshoots necessary? Is it still a cult classic? Let us know in the comments!
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