Humongous: Canadian VHS Slasher Will Grow On You

If you’re old enough, Canadian slasher movie Humongous might look familiar. Even if you never saw the movie, you probably caught the VHS cover along the top shelf in the horror section. Yet even at the height of the slasher movie cycle, Humongous didn’t make much of an impression. Its director, Paul Lynch, fared much better with his more generic slasher, Prom Night. Today, horror fans will have a hard time finding it. Humongous isn’t available on any streaming service. To date, no major home video company has offered a remastered edition of it on Blu-ray. In fact, Humongous is the definition of obscure. But this Canadian slasher deserves a look from diehard horror fans.

Synopsis

On a late summer weekend, a brutal assault on a remote island summer home leaves a young woman physically and emotionally scarred. Years later, a group of teens are shipwrecked on that same island after an accident. But the summer home looks long abandoned and the island seems uninhabited save for a handful of viscious dogs. As the teens look for a way off the island, they quickly learn there is someone – or something – else on the island with them. And it’s big and hungry.

Humongous Overcomes Cheap Look With Distinct Atmosphere

Humongous has a lot going against it. In addition to its generic slasher premise, director Paul Lynch’s opening scene – a brutally uncomfortable depiction of sexual violence – will turn off many viewers. Though it mixes exploitation and slasher elements, Humongous is also a surprisingly bloodless affair. All of the movie’s nighttime scenes are poorly lit. And much of the action is poorly edited. One death occurs off screen and you’ll have a hard time knowing what happened to two other characters. In addition, Humongous never gives you a clear look at its titular monster. By today’s standards, that would be a huge ‘no no’.

...Humongous boasts an atmosphere that – intentional or otherwise – gives the movie something of a creepiness factor.

Yet in spite of all its warts, Humongous is a surprisingly good B-slasher movie. What Humongous has working in its favour is something that can’t be replicated. Like the best midnight movies, Humongous boasts atmosphere that – intentional or otherwise – gives the movie something of a creepiness factor. Much of this atmosphere comes courtesy of the movie’s synth score. Turn the lights off and watch the movie and its score has a certain unnerving impact. To some extent, it’s reminiscent of Shock Waves‘ omnipresent soundtrack. Furthermore, Lynch gives the movie an overall feeling of sadness to the proceedings that hangs over everything.

Humongous Makes Up For Slow Pacing With Better-Than-Expected Final Act

Following its gut-wrenching opening, Humongous adopts a slow approach to its material. Lynch takes his time putting his characters on the island and even more time letting loose his monster. As a result, we spend a lot of time with the cast for better or worse. No one in the cast will look familiar and for a good reason. On the plus side, leads Janet Julian and David Wysocki turn in competent performances. At least they’re not distracting. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast is pretty wooden.

On top of these positives, Lynch makes up for a low budget with some interesting camera angles.

Nevertheless, Humongous hits its stride in its final act. Astute horror fans will notice a bit of cribbing from Friday the 13th Part 2’s climax. But imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and, here, it works. Even with the poor lighting, David Wysocki’s death scene is pretty memorable. And if there’s a lack of gore, one character’s head-crushing death makes up for it. Moreover, the Final Girl ‘cat-and-mouse’ ratchets up a bit of tension along with a good final jump. On top of these positives, Lynch makes up for a low budget with some interesting camera angles. And the movie’s closing moments are more haunting than you’d expect from this sort of movie.

Humongous an Above Average Slasher That Exceeds Its Budgetary Limitations

Most, if not all, of the criticisms of Humongous are valid. Poor editing, poorly lit, wooden acting, and derivative – Humongous still works in spite of these problems. Horror fans have celebrated other obscure horror movies like Just Before Dawn and another Canadian horror outing, Rituals. In all fairness, Humongous sits on par with each of these movies. What it lacks in budget, it makes up with atmosphere. Eighties gorehounds will be disappointed, but B-movie lovers may find something to appreciate here.

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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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