NORTH OF THE BORDER HORROR: Humongous (1982)

Director Paul Lynch also brought us the Canadian cutter Prom Night and here, he starts the action off with a bang: on Labor Day weekend 1946, a drunk (Page Fletcher, the title character from HBO’s The Hitchhiker) rapes Ida Parsons at a party her rich father is throwing. She is saved by her dogs, who attack the man before she smashes his brains out with a rock.

36 years later, preppy bros Eric (David Wallace, Mazes and MonstersMortuary) and Nick are taking their father’s yacht on a weekend getaway with their girlfriends, Sandy (Janet Julian, who was TV’s Nancy Drew when Pamela Sue Martin left the series) and Donna (Joy Boushel, Terror Train) and their sister, Carla (Janit Baldwin, Gatorbait, Phantom of the Paradise).

After a day of staring at girl’s asses while feeling up other asses (this movie has more nudity in the first 11 minutes than nearly every movie that will come out this year), fog comes in and teh boys save a shipwrecked fisherman named Bert. As he recovers from hypothermia, he tells them of Dog Island, the home of lumber baroness Ida Parsons (remember her?) who lives on the island with only her wild dogs for company. It’s at that point that Nick wrecks the boat into — DA DA NA — Dog Island!

Bert gets wounded. Carla gets lost. Nick walks into the woods and gets killed by a gigantic shadowy character. Meanwhile, Sandy and Eric attempt to find Ida Parsons.

While all this is going on, Bert goes into shock so Donna tries to warm him up by stripping nude. As you do. As she lies across his frozen body, the shadowy thing tosses her into the rocks and then rips off Bert’s head.

In the middle of all this, Sandy and Eric discover not only Ida’s house, but Carla, who is alive. You know who isn’t? The dogs of Dog Island, who are all skeletons inside cages.

Our protagonists find a nursery full of dusty toys and a cobwebbed crib, as well as Ida’s diary, filled with frightening photos and insane scribblings of her sick child, who she intended to keep free from sin. And oh yeah — they also find her skeleton.

Everyone wises up and decides to leave Dog Island. They gather some supplies and make their way to the basement, where they find the bodies of Nick and Donna. 

So the story everyone decides to go with is that this shadowy monster is Ida’s son, who somehow lived, and has been driven insane by his mother’s death. He’s incredibly strong, an amazing tracker and sees any outsiders as a threat. You’d think they’d get the fuck away from the house, but no, they go back to get matches and Eric gets killed. His back gets broken all Bane style and Sandy runs to Ida’s room to hide.

When the shadowy man gets there, she wraps a blanket around her head and acts as if she is Ida. I love this scene so much, as we never see the monster and only a brightly lit Sandy. Her words are measured and forceful, but as we look at her face, we can tell she’s never been more afraid in her life.

Just when Sandy thinks she’s safe, she tries to leave the room. However, the mutated man-child realizes her ruse and chases her to the boathouse, where he crushes Carla’s head along the way. Even setting this maniac on fire won’t stop him, because it’s 1982 and this is a Canadian slasher film.

You know what does stop him? A big signpost that impales him. Usually, slashers get stopped by impalement, have you ever realized that?

At the end, Sandy is left alone on the dock, decimated by the fact that she’s had to kill a human being and feeling the loss of her friends. And we notice — she now looks a lot like Ida.

Humongous is sleazy and bloody fun, with a unique killer and plenty of atmosphere. Sure, it’s a slasher, but it has a way better premise than kids stuck at a summer camp or a cursed calendar date. I’ve heard comparisons to Joe D’Amoto and George Eastman’s Antropophagus, but this has none of the over the top gore of that film. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty here.

There’s also a minimalist score by John Mills-Cockell, which really sets the tone and amps up the mood. He also worked on Terror Train and was one of the first people to purchase a Moog synthesizer.

Want to see this one? Ronin Flix has the Scorpion Releasing blu-ray reissue of the film, complete with the American R-rated and Canadian unrated cuts.

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