Release Date(s)1982 (June 20, 2017)
Studio(s)Astral Films/Embassy Pictures (Scorpion Releasing)
- Film/Program Grade: D
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: B
Humongous crossed the Canadian border in 1982 and eventually found itself amongst the plethora of VHS horror rental fodder. Mostly forgotten until it was resurrected by Scorpion Releasing in 2011, it never quite managed to leave much of a mark on the genre, winding up as little more than a footnote – mostly for director Paul Lynch of Prom Night fame. The film opens with the violent rape of a young woman, and many years later, a group of boating teenagers find themselves marooned on an island, supposedly inhabited by the woman. Unfortunately, they’re all now at the mercy of a monstrous giant who is hungry and looking to make them his next meal.
While Humongous certainly has plenty going for it in a story sense, it end ups being an extremely boring film. Most of its running time is devoted to an abundance of dialogue, much of which is exposition in the second half. The actors themselves do what they can with it, but there’s simply no spark or momentum to any of it. The kills themselves, of which there are few, are relatively quick, even in the unrated version. It also opens with that unpleasant rape scene which is off-putting right from the get-go. But regardless, Humongous is tedious with or without it. The only real positive that I can give it is that it’s now finally possible to make out what’s going on in it. It’s always been a dark film and with its previous murky VHS presentation, it was almost impossible to watch, never mind the quality of it.
Speaking of which, Scorpion Releasing now brings Humongous to Blu-ray via a new HD transfer of the R-rated cut. The unrated cut is also included, but the footage is incorporated via SD inserts. It’s likely that the original film elements are lost or gone forever, especially for such a forgotten and uncared for film. Right off the bat, Scorpion has a message before the film starts informing us that the presentation has been culled together from various sources. As is, it’s still a relatively strong presentation, considering what the original VHS release had to offer. Everything is a little mixed, including grain levels, fine detail, texturing, and color reproduction. Black levels are super deep with improvements in shadow detail, contrast, and the overall brightness of the film’s look. Leftover damage includes slight instability, scratches, discoloration, speckling, and density issues. However, if you’ve only ever seen this on VHS, this transfer will definitely be an upgrade for you. The sole audio option is an English 2.0 DTS-HD track. First and foremost, this track comes with a built-in flaw. From around the 00.25:00 mark to the 00.45:00 mark, there is an obvious echo. My guess is that when creating the master, two tracks of audio were being used in the timeline, and they simply forgot to mute the unusable one. Otherwise, the track is fine. Dialogue, score, and sound effects are clear and offer plenty of support without other major distractions or distortion. It’s not amazing, by any means, but it offers up a mostly good sonic experience. Unfortunately, no subtitle options have been included.
Other than offering both the R-rated and unrated versions of the film, other extras have been carried over Scorpion’s previous DVD release, including an audio commentary with director Paul Lynch, writer William Gray, journalist Nathaniel Thompson, and moderator Katarina Leigh Waters; the Katarina’s Nightmare Theater mode; and the film’s theatrical trailer. The only new extra is an interview with actor David Wallace (now David Wysocki).
Like many of these obscure horror movies being given HD upgrades, completists will probably get more out of checking out Humongous than most other folks. It’s not an overly fun movie to watch, but if you’re a fan of the genre and you’re looking to consume anything and everything you can find, then Scorpion Releasing’s Blu-ray of the film is your best ticket.
- Tim Salmons