Those horror fans among us pitiable enough to have spent our teen years during the 1980s had to put up with a lot. If it weren't bad enough that the '80s was the decade that saw Freddy Kruger begin to de-claw mainstream horror with his wisecracks, the early part of that era saw a veritable tidal wave of cheap Canadian Slasher movies utterly destroy the beachheads of our minds. Note the important adjective here is 'cheap', but know full well that Canada is what put the magic in these movies. Brain destroying magic.
An extra sadly lacking from this otherwise OK DVD release is a collection of radio and TV spots for Humongous - you know the ones, boys. They always ended with the gravelly-voiced announcer spelling out the title, "H. U. M. O. N. G. O. U. S. Humongous". I swear if I didn't know how to spell it before, I had learned after the 1500th time. This chant, and the garish poster art, had me thinking this was going to be the most badass movie of all time, although upon its 1982 release I was still a wee-bit shy of being able to get in to the theaters to see for myself. You can bet I rented it the second it hit the video shelves though!
You can also bet I was extremely disappointed, which is why I'm pretty happy we now can all revisit this king of Canadian Cover Art, the movie poster that barely delivered, this talky, dorky blend of high aspirations combined with a general air of cluelessness, I present to you; Humongous. You wouldn't really think Humongous is a slasher movie, though. It's supposed to be about some freaky, cannibalistic, giant mutant baby or something, right? By the end, you'll be amazed at how much director Paul Lynch and writer William Gray's shocker shamelessly cops from Friday The 13th. (I won't spoil those surprises for you, though, as I can no longer remember them. My notes tell me this is an issue, and I believe them.)
At any rate, the movie opens with a trip to the past, on a remote Northern island, during which a woman is repaid for the swanky party she's throwing by getting raped. It's a shocking and tense scene concluded with a vicious dog attack. It bodes nothing for the next 45 minutes though, as much of this time in the 'present' of 1982 is spent with a more-or-less stereotypical group of young adults arguing with each other on and off of a little boat. The brothers hate each other, the girls just want to party in bikinis and dance to music on cassette tapes, and there's some mysterious guy floating around dazed in a dinghy.
If not for the presence of second-string Nancy Drew actress Janet Julian wandering around braless in a halter-top, boredom would mount perilously. Even though there are arguments, and there is peril, it's all of the TV Movie of the Week variety until the final 20-minutes, during which most scumbag punters will find some reward. Bodies start piling up, people are shoved onto meat hooks, and things become preposterous for all the reasons '80s slasher horror is preposterous.
Despite the presence of a really nice spine cracking and some beautifully stylish work with shadows, nothing is terribly gory, while terror and suspense are kept well within safety levels. Good old Humongous makes up for that by being a pretty interesting killer. He might even be a nice guy. Though ugly and a little tall, he's not that bad, seeming to enjoy pretty much just hanging out in the basement, emerging only when hungry, and resorting to cannibalism only after all other food sources have run out. Heck, not to get all SPOILERY or anything, but Humongous even chooses to sort of calmly agonize in the flames that are fated to kill him, rather than running away or something. Nice guy.
There's more, of course, not the least of which is a Commentary Track with director Paul Lynch, writer William Gray, and horror journalist Nathaniel Thompson. Thompson does of fine job of eliciting a wealth of information from Lynch in particular, creating a solid commentary experience for dedicated fans. An Alternate Pre-Credits Sequence didn't look much different to me - it may contain a few seconds of additional rapin' or maulin' that don't in the slightest change the tone or impact of the scene. The Original Trailer and some other Previews finish things off.