1982’s Humongous is yet another Friday the 13th rip-off I saw on cable back in the day, and waited over a decade for it to be released on DVD. I can’t wait until the day I have EVERY 80s slasher on DVD and can do an 80s horror marathon, watching them all in chronological order based on their release dates. Now that is a trip through the 80s I’d love to take, maybe when I’m retired and have the time. And I’ll do it. I swear, I will. It’s on my bucket (of blood) list.
Directed by the man who brought us Prom Night two years before, Humongous came a year too late to feature Jamie Lee Curtis, who’d already moved on to bigger (but not better) things than slasher films. However, it has a noteworthy cast (at least, noteworthy to me), including a dude who was also in the 1983 slasher Mortuary, a chick from the Jamie Lee Curtis slasher Terror Train, and as the main girl, actress Janet Julian, also known as Janet Louise Johnson, who replaced Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew in 1978!
The Hardy Boys/Nancy TWO Mysteries!
It’s not Halloween or Christmas or even Friday the 13th, but it is a special occasion as this movie opens with a 1946 prologue. It’s Labor Day!!! So we officially have a horror movie commemorating the holiday!!! There’s a big party at a house, this woman is looking at all her dogs in a pen in her yard, this dude comes over to hit on her, she runs into the woods to escape him (instead of into the crowd of people only feet away from her), she stops to smoke a cigarette (smoking kills), he catches her, and he rapes her. Right about the time he unzips and tells her he’s going to give it to her good, I was wondering if this is where the name Humongous originated. It just so happens the hottie playing the rapist is none other than the guy from the HBO series the Hitchhiker! Sadly, we don’t get any great shots of his jean-clad ass in this movie. But her dogs get a good bite of it….
Flash forward to 30 years later, which would be 1982. Awesome. Clearly the pinnacle of the slasher era, with big boobs, feathered hair, a boom box, dark blue Jordache jeans, and a cassette featured in the first five minutes. A bunch of kids are out on a boat in the fog and they crash into a rock on an island where some old lady is supposed to live alone with all her dogs. The kids are stranded since their boat catches on fire.
The cool thing about Humongous is that it borrows the realistic dark lighting of the original Friday the 13th. However, this conveniently makes it pretty impossible to see just how deformed our killer “Humongous” is throughout the entire movie. He’s ALWAYS surrounded by a creepy halo of light. The film also manages to keep most of the kills cloaked from our view. It’s really not that gory—although there are some nasty scenes of gut remainders being devoured by rats and bugs.
The film has plenty of 80s slasher goodness, including killer POV in the woods, body reveals, a long chase sequence, the killer popping out of the lake, a Mother Bates moment, and even our final girl doing a Halloween over the banister flip. Then there’s the straight-up Scooby Doo plot. Unfortunately, there’s no Scooby, because any dogs that were on the island are dead. However, we get a blond guy as Fred, Nancy Drew as Daphne (ironic, isn’t it?), and a short and clever chick with glasses as Velma. Seriously, they start to piece together clues they find around the house to solve the “mystery” of Humongous. I was expecting them to start running back and forth through doors in the hall while Humongous chases them to a rockin’ 60s surfer song. But that doesn’t happen, and they fail to figure out why the movie is called Humongous. And I just can’t get enough of saying that word.
One possibility for the film’s title comes from one of the most classic of 80s moments. One of the friends is hurt and shivering on the beach, and the chick who’s watching him comes up with a perfect way to warm him up: she whips out her huge boobs and lays on top of him—a blanket and pillows all in one. Only in the 80s….