Review: Humongous (DVD)

Scorpion Releasing brings this schlocky early 80's Canadian slasher to an uncut DVD for the first time!

  • Director: Paul Lynch
  • Starring: Janet Julian, David Wallace, John Wildman, Janit Baldwin
  • Year: 1982
  • Runtime: 94 Minutes
  • Company: Scorpion Releasing
  • Format: DVD
  • Discs: 1
  • Video: 1.78:1 - 16:9 Widescreen
  • Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Region: 0
  • Released: 11/15/2011

The golden age of horror (late 70's - 80's) spawned numerous amounts of films that are deemed classics of the genre but also offered an endless void of low budget, trash cinema that melted our minds and entertained us for all the wrong (or right) reasons. Films from this country and all around the world have played their part in defining the genre we love so dear and turning us into the cinema lovers we are today. Even Canada, our northern neighbors have churned out some truly impactful horror films (My Bloody Valentine, Videodrome, Black Christmas) that are now classics thanks to legendary directors such as David Cronenberg, Bob Clark, etc. Not every film can emerge with such impressive accolades, as evidenced by Z-budget hallucinogen fare such as Things and other schlocky features that graced video stores with their entrancing box art. Humongous is a film that's far from a classic but nowhere near bottom of the barrel, it resides somewhere in the middle making it a micro must see effort that deserves your attention.
Labor Day, 1946 at a party on a secluded piece of water locked property dubbed, "Dog Island" because of the owners numerous pack of german shepherds that reside there. The owners daughter, Ida Parsons, is savagely raped by a disgruntled party goer after his sexual advances are denied. Ida's dogs break loose from their cage and rip the rapist to pieces before she bashes his skull with a killing blow. 36 years later we meet a group of twenty-somethings who stumble across the island via yacht when they rescue a stranded fisherman who fills them in on the urban legend of Dog Island, before washing up on it themselves after an on-board scuffle causes their boat to explode. Hungry, cold & wounded, the group journey's into the heart of the island to search Ida's secluded cabin for help. Instead they find a pissed off hulking, disfigured psychopath that is none too happy with their arrival.
Humongous is a grainy, backwoods monster romp that has trademark slasher elements but also a serious back story that deals with rape, deformity and loneliness that wouldn't seem out of place in a drama. As mentioned earlier, Ida Parsons is raped and bans herself to the island, but we find out through diary readings she gave birth to a mutant bastard child (I'll let you guess who this is) that was hidden from the world because of it's evil. This seems hokey and a standard alibi nowadays but here it's presented very straight laced with a slightly melancholic theme that adds to the overall atmosphere. Then the tits start to show and the blood starts to flow reminding you that this is in fact a horror film. Director Paul Lynch (Prom Night) finds what a nice balance between the two, which wasn't customary for a film of this kind.
Throughout I kept getting a Madman and Friday The 13th: Part 2 (Humongous even directly copies a famous scene from this, you'll notice it right way) vibe since here we're dealing with woods, idiotic young adults and fuck faced mommas boy maniacs, which is actually a compliment. Humongous is a bit of a slow burn, surprisingly taking time to set up a story instead of throwing it out the window, which is refreshing. Seeing this uncut is quite a treat as it's definitely bloodier with many nasty bits in all of it's practical FX glory. Humongous has lied in obscurity for way too long, going unnoticed by non-hardcore horror buffs not in the know, which is a shame. Hopefully this film has a bit of resurgence amongst the community since it's well deserving of it and a bit of an essential minor 80's slasher hybrid.

  • Video
Humongous makes it's uncut DVD debut thanks to Scorpion Releasing, also presented in it's original Canadian cut also for the first time in a 1.78:1 widescreen transfer. Good news is Humongous is finally watchable and has been saved from it's shoddy analog VHS tape transfer that fans have had to deal with for years. This disc is much brighter and easy on the eyes but still has quite a few missteps that keep it from getting high marks. The film is sourced from a tape master since it's original elements were near impossible to secure. Sporadic grain, noise and other imperfections are present but it's nowhere near unwatchable. It certainly suits the aesthetic of the film, especially while watching after midnight but leaves you wondering what could have been.
  • Audio
The discs sole mix is a Dolby Digital Mono track that is all front and no surround. You definitely have to turn the speakers up due to some low dialogue scenes but other than that it's serviceable.

Bonus Features
  • Audio Commentary - Director Paul Lynch, Writer William Gray, Journalist Nathaniel Thompson & Moderator Katarina Leigh Waters
The writer and director of Humongous Paul Lynch & William Gray deliver an informative track filled with tons of interesting behind the scenes info and studio jargon. It's a talky track that never bores thanks to Mondo Digital's Nathanial Thompson with help from Katarina Leigh Waters always keeping the conversation moving forward. Definitely a great listen for fans of the film.
  • Intro - "Katarina's Nightmare Theater"
TNA wrestling star Katarina Leigh Waters (who bares a striking resemblance to cult siren Caroline Munro) intros the film quite toung-in-cheekily while preparing us for the feature film. A lot of uproar was heard throughout the online cult community about Ms. Waters involvement with these discs but it's nonsense, Katarina does a fine job with what she's given and respects these neglected films.
  • Alternate Opening
The original R-rated opening sourced from the original VHS tape tones out all the gore and cuts what little bare skin is supposed to be shown from the rape attack. It also displays how truly awful the film looked on tape, making it near impossible to see the onscreen events.
  • Trailers
An original trailer for Humongous is included as well as several other current/upcoming titles in the Katarina's Nightmare Theater line such as Final Exam, The Pyx, The Incubus, The House on Sorority Row & The Devil Within Her.