Humongous (1982) VHS Review


Dir. Paul Lynch                 93 mins
Embassy Video

When Andy decided on a slasher month, particularly the ‘slasher you’ve never seen but always wanted to’ aspect, it was a bit of a challenge to come up with something. I browsed the horror section in work to no avail, then it hit me – VHS! All the hours spent pacing my local video library as a teenager, ogling these awesome, vibrant sleeves – THIS is the format to review. So I cracked opened the door of my VHS storage room and waited for something unwatched to catch my eye to send me back to my formative years… and there it was, Humongous.

This Canadian slasher was undoubtedly a prominent fixture in the video stores of the 80s. Its teasing painted artwork simply showcasing an open peep hole with an bloodshot eye gazing through and the tagline ‘MAN OR BEAST?’ in bold white capitals. It was time to end that 25 year wait, and time to relive the romance of muffled sound and auto-tracking icons.

After a handy reminder that I must track down ‘Codename: The Soldier’ following an array of trailers, we open in 1946 during Labor Day weekend where we find Ida Parsons (Shay Garner) being pinned to the floor and raped by Tom Rice (Page Fletcher). During the rape, Tom is mauled to death – pretty graphically by one of Ida’s dogs, which then leads us to the present day. Brother’s Eric and Nick are taking their girlfriend’s Donna and Sandy out on the family yacht, with friend Carla also coming along for the ride.
As night begins to fall they spot a small craft nearby frantically releasing flares and in obvious need of assistance. They manage to pull alongside the boat, rescue the gentleman on board and take him onto their yacht. It’s not long before he tells them they’re just off the coast of Dog Island, the home of lumber baroness Ida Parsons who has been holed up their alone with her many dogs for the last 35 years.

With this intriguing insight into their surroundings, it’s not long before the group manage to somehow set fire to the boat, thus conveniently finding themselves marooned on the aforementioned Dog Island where a battle for survival is about to begin. Are Ida’s dogs still alive somehow, or is there something far more sinister lurking in this remote wilderness?

As with the majority of 80s slashers, we’re treated to some gloriously campy acting along with some of the most ridiculous excuses for the ladies to disrobe that I’ve ever seen. There is perhaps a slight lack of gore, especially after the gruesome dog attack at the start of the movie, and it is punctuated by long periods of dullness as well as a creature that at times just looks like a pair of furry monster gloves. Having said that, that’s part of the charm of it as well, and generally it’s everything any self-respecting slasher should be.
Was it worth the wait though after seeing it on those yellowed video store shelves all those years ago? Of course! It was a great excuse to crank up my VHS player and relive some classic 80s slasher cheese. I’m not sure whether I’ll be tweeting Arrow Video mind you to urge them to release it on UK DVD, but that said, it’s a product of its time and probably enhanced by viewing it on the format it was originally released on.

5 out of 10

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