Sunday, February 5, 2012

Animal attraction: HUMONGOUS(1982)

The early and mid 1980's saw a surge in "slasher" horror films as any self respecting horror movie fan knows. "The Friday The 13th" and "A Nightmare On Elm Street" film franchises kicked off in 1980 and 1984, respectively. As a horror movie fan I've always been drawn to the major horror film franchises but I also have always taken a keen interest in lesser known horror films, especially those from the '80s and made on smaller budgets. To that end I have been methodically seeking out and buying these '80's horror movies on official DVD whenever possible.

One of these films, a Canadian horror movie called HUMONGOUS, had been available only on VHS through Astral Video(Canada/1990), Embassy Home Entertainment(USA/1990) and New Line Home Video(USA), these tapes making the rounds in countless Blockbuster Video and other discount movie rental stores throughout the '90s. No longer. Scorpion Releasing's Humongous hit retailers on November 15, 2011. This 1982 movie, also known by its alternate title of "Dog Island", is directed by Paul Lynch and is his second directorial effort after 1980's slasher horror Prom Night. On an estimated budget of $2 million(Canadian), Paul Lynch's "Humongous" is finally available on quality DVD.

The film's story: in 1946, debutante Ida Parsons, after rejecting the bumbling romantic advances of a drunken guest at the Parsons Island family lodge, is brutally raped by her inebriated suitor "Tom". Hearing the woman's screams, two dogs belonging to Ida Parson's father escape their pen and subsequently kill "Tom", mauling him to death.

Flash forward to thirty six years later. A group of young people take a small recreational yacht out for a trip on a lake. They encounter and rescue a shipwrecked man who warns them to stay away from the jagged rocks of "Dog Island's'" coastline. "Bert" also tells them of the island and its lone inhabitant, a reclusive old woman who has sequestered herself in a lodge and who is rarely seen by anyone anymore. Despite "Bert's" warning one member of the group, while drunk, takes the wheel of the yacht and steers it right into the rocks. The group escape just before the boat sinks. The group of young people now are stranded on the island. One of them ventures inland in search of a phone at the lodge...and doesn't return. The stranded group of young people, hearing animal like cries emanating from the woods, decide to look for the lodge. Finding the lodge, the group discover that it was once inhabited by Ida Parsons, now dead. They also learn she left behind a bastard, disfigured son who now resides on the island alone, the son feral and feeding on the local animal life of the island. The immediate problem for the stranded group: the feral man is now hunting them...(no other spoilers)...


Humongous is much less gory than many of its counterparts in the slasher horror genre. That said there are stomach churning "shock" scenes aplenty including a fully grown german shepherd hoisted up in the air bare handed by "Humongous"(the film's grotesque bad guy) and then its neck quickly snapped by the film's antagonist. Other shocks include a victim having her head crushed barehanded by the villain and a male victim jacked up and literally broken in half by the feral human monster.

Paul Lynch, who shot this film in and around Ontario, Canada uses the woods effectively in this movie to convey the sense of isolation by the stranded survivors of the wrecked yacht.

The makeup effects used to render "Humongous" are decent and the full reveal of the monstrous bad guy doesn't happen until near the end of the movie. The feral "son" is a hulking, hairy and vicious wild man in every sense of the word. The animal like grunts, snorts, growls and roars of "Humongous" are very effective and definitely lend to the menace of the deformed and feral maniac.

This movie is definitely a hit or miss proposition for horror movie fans but is, I think, an absolute must have DVD for fans of older horror movies.

Scorpion Releasing has done a great job with their DVD release of this movie, which is uncut, in anamorphic 1:78.1 widescreen and with disc extras that include an audio commentary(by the film's director and writer), original theatrical trailer and an alternate(R rated) version of the opening scene of the movie.

One common complaint of those who have this watched this movie on TV and on VHS is how dark many of the shots in this film are: the Scorpion Releasing DVD remedies that problem.

The new DVD release is available for sale at Amazon and very affordable: Humongous DVD

Click the title of this blog entry or the DVD cover art image above to access the Scorpion Releasing DVD for sale at Amazon.

The film's trailer: