Friday, April 27, 2012

10 Slashers That Could Benefit from a Remake: HUMONGOUS (1982)

Now that we're well into 2012, something has occurred to me: it's the first year in a decade that has no slasher remakes scheduled for release. While the remakes have swooned the box office with usual great success, very few horror film movements have drawn up as much protest as the dreaded remake craze did.

It's pretty obvious, looking back, as to how studios and producers chose which slashers were deemed worth remaking - they were the slashers that were original moneymakers upon their original release. HALLOWEENTHE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACREFRIDAY THE 13THPROM NIGHTTHE HILLS HAVE EYES, and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET were all monster successes and pop-culture phenomenon's. Even more cult-y slashers like BLACK CHRISTMAS and MY BLOODY VALENTINE had earned a solid enough reputation to guarantee a solid fanbase.

But when you really think about it, doesn't the thought of remaking more well-known slasher films seem to sort of juxtapose what a remake stands for? Shouldn't they be remaking films that are less-known and more dated, to bring them to a modern-day audience? While 2012 might not have any remakes on its schedule, I can guarantee you that a second wave of remakes will eventually come along. But when it does, it should be focusing its efforts on the movies that actually could benefit from a redo. As we take a break from remakes in theaters, here's the ten suggestions for films to consider a redux for, and ways to take the original movie and make it fresh and modern without spitting in the face of the original's fans (here's looking at you, Rob Zombie!).


Director Paul Lynch, who helmed 1980's surprise hit Prom Night, followed-up two years later with another, different slasher flick. While Prom Night was a teenage high school whodunit, his 1982 venture Humongous was a backwoods survivalist slasher with a monstrous killer. Ultimately, Humongous was far less successful than Prom Night, and Lynch's career took a dive out of horror movies into a rather successful and long-running TV-directing run. 

Humongous took place on the doomed "Dog Island", where a virginal young woman was raped, but then with the help of her vicious German shepherds she killed her attacker. Years later, "Dog Island" is abandoned, with the exception of some wild dogs. A group of teens become shipwrecked and stranded on the island. Little do they know that the child of the rape has grown up into a savage monster with a taste for blood.


There is something about the concept of Humongous that is quite appealing - the adventure of battling a monster while stranded on a strange island. But as anyone who has seen the film knows, there isn't much adventure. Instead, its a poorly lit and rather uneventful flick that fails to offer the excitement that its premise eludes to. Honestly, when the title is "Humongous" and the term "shipwrecked" is in the plot description, you'd expecting something a little... bigger.

Adventure is necessary in a Humongous remake - a grand, explosive horror epic with a real monster (not some deformed moron) taking out island intruders. Epic is what Humongous needs to be. It reminds me of the story of the Minotaur: the half-man, half-bull demigod who battled Theseus on the Island of Crete. Wouldn't a 300-style, IMMORTALS-inspired slasher set in Ancient Greece be simply the best?

In the Humongous remake, it would focus on a monster on the fictional "Dog Island" terrorizing a group of shipwrecked people. Just imagine the gory 300  violence tossed into a brutal slasher flick - it's like a movie geek's wet dream. And now, after the mega-successes of 300 and Immortals, is the time to do it. I mean, if you're going to make Humongous, you've got to be "humongous."

To put a spin on things, the shipwrecked folks should not be some privileged teens from Athens or something, but they should be deadly pirates that have kidnapped a trio of beautiful virgins from a simple Spartan village to take as their captive slaves/brides. A storm at the hands of Poseidon leaves the pirates and their captives stranded on the mythical "Dog Island", where they hear the howling of savage dogs. The only problem is, they never actually see any dogs. Not living ones, anyway.

While the captive girls attempt to escape the pirates, and everyone who's stranded slowly begins to realize that a monster of some kind is hunting them, there needs to be some kind of hero to battle the monster. In steps a warrior, straight out of the Trojan Wars, who has set out to rescue his kidnapped bride. It's like THE PRINCESS BRIDE, only a gruesome slasher flick. But will the heroic warrior arrive in time to save his bride not only from the lethal pirates, but also from the monster?

And speaking of the monster... he needs to be pretty humongous. Like a real beastly monster. And his back-story needs a little tune-up, to make him less of a Jason Voorhees impersonator and more of his own beast. In this version, some fantasy would be taken into account with the monster's origins. His mother would be the equivalent to a witch: an evil priestess to Hades who was banished by Zeus to Dog Island, where he sent the worst criminals of Greece. There she is repeatedly raped by ghoulish villains, eventually becoming pregnant and giving birth to the hideously deformed child that would become the monster. The monster killed everyone else on the island except for himself and his mother. When she eventually died, he was left as the savage guardian of Dog Island.


The film would start out with the pirate Draco and his band of bloodthirsty pirates kidnapping two beautiful women from the small Spartan village Kyparissi. These women are the beautiful Areti, whose looks could "outshine 1000 sunsets," and her companion Theodora, who lost her lover in the Trojan War. Draco and his men believe that the beautiful women will be worth quite a price, and even if they can't sell them the pirates will certainly find uses for them.

The pirates and their prisoners sail out into Aegean Sea. But in their travels, a vicious storm leaves them shipwrecked, and most of the crew dead. The only survivors are Draco, Areti, Theodora, the slave Danae, and Draco's three men Pyrrhus, Cleon, and Sophus. They take refuge on the nearest island, which just so happens to be Dog Island. 

While the girls all plan an escape, the pirates begin to notice that something isn't right about the island - they hear a howling dog, but have yet to see any animals at all. They know something isn't right. While out hunting for food, Cleon is killed by something. Literally torn apart, limb from limb. His raw flesh is feasted upon. The girls use his death as a chance to escape into the thick forest of the island. Soon, Draco and his men are hunting down the women, and whatever beast they fear wants them for food.

Meanwhile, back in Kyparissi, the honored Spartan Warrior Callias returns home from the Trojan War to some bad news - he was betrothed to Areti, and when he learns she has been kidnapped, he consults a local seer for information on her whereabouts. He is told she is on Dog Island, but is warned that there are worse things hunting her than the pirates. The Dog Monster stalks the island - it is the son of a cursed priestess and 100 rapists (yes, just like Freddy), and its own doomed curse is to guard Dog Island. 

Now, Callias has to travel to Dog Island to rescue his beloved Areti. As he ventures out into the Aegean Sea, things heat up on the island. Areti, Theodora, and Danae must outsmart Draco and his remaining men long enough for Callias to reach them. But once Callias does reach them, he will have to fight his greatest enemy yet: the Dog Island Monster!

The Adventure

The Humongous redux is both a horror movie and an adventure movie. It is a slasher movie where characters are targeted and killed by a mysterious single killer, but an adventure story in its setting and themes. In honesty, the 1982 original Humongous really wanted to be an adventure movie, but it turned into a rather bland slasher film. Maybe it was budgetary constraints, or poor writing and acting, or just a lack of creativity. But whatever it was, Humongous did not really add anything unique to the slasher genre.

On the flip side, the remake has the perfect opportunity to make itself epic - a huge spectacle of monster movie madness, ancient action, and modern day gore. Not only would the story allow for cool sequences featuring the Dog Island Monster tearing people apart, but it would also grant the opportunity to the film's hero, Callias, to become a certified badass. The grand finale where the monster and the hero face off would be well worth the wait. 

Plus, in this version, you would have to actually see what's happening. The original was so dark and poorly lit that it was hard to follow the characters or story. And the deaths would be gruesomely fantastic (no one would just die from getting thrown onto some rocks). 

The Characters

Callias. Male, 30s. Honored, revered Spartan Warrior who fought in Troy. Is very skilled with a bow-and-arrow and a spear. Ripped and muscular and extremely handsome; looks like a Greek god. Will risk his life for his country and his love.

Dog Island Monster. Male, 30s. Disgusting creature. Big and hairy... a mix between a human and a wolf. Has a taste for human flesh. Was raised on the principle of evil and hate. 

Areti. Female, 20s. Callias’ bride-to-be. Stunningly beautiful - a magnificent sight. Rivals Helen of Troy’s beauty. Virginal, and passionately in love with Callias. She would sooner die than betray him.

Draco. Male, 40s. Ruthless, intelligent, and feared pirate. He once fought with the Persian Army, but became a rogue pirate. He’s pretty skilled with a blade. He believes that when he covets something, it should be his. And he covets Areti.

Pyrrhus. Male, 40s. A wanted criminal responsible for slaying entire villages and a rapist. He joined Draco’s league of pirates, and quickly became his right-hand man. He’s missing an eye, but retains his sadistic style. 

Cleon. Male, 30s. A pirate in Draco’s army who would do anything to please his master. Somewhat of a buffoon, but still dangerous. He was rejected from the Spartan Army, and became a criminal as a result. 

Sophus. Male, 20s. A young, upstart career criminal working for Draco. His father was once among Draco’s ranks, and he plans to follow in his footsteps. One of the better looking pirates with a bit of charm. 

Theodora. Female, 20s. Shy and sensitive friend of Areti, she was also kidnapped by the pirates. Her husband was killed in Troy. She does not rank with Areti’s beauty, but is still stunning. 

Danae. Female, 20s. Raven-haired, exotic, and beautiful foreign girl who was kidnapped by Draco a while ago, and has been his slave ever since. She has a vengeful side and the wits to survive, when the time is right. She allies herself Areti. 

The Witch. Female, 40s. The Monster’s cursed mother. A Priestess of Hades, she was banished to Dog Island by Zeus, and it was there years ago that she was repeatedly raped by the worst criminals in Greece. 

Final Thoughts

A slasher film set in ancient times has never been done. At least, I can't think of one. But ancient myths and slashers have a lot in common - they both are built around sins of the past coming back to punish the characters of the present. Setting a slasher film in ancient times would not only be unique, but it could lead to a potentially riveting new sub-genre... just imagine all the places a slasher could take place - Rome, China, Medieval Times, the Renaissance, the Age of Exploration, the Civil War... the possibilities are truly endless.

The original Humongous is lacking severely. Even thirty years ago, when it was first released, the film probably was too cheesy and poorly made to really retain any audience, and that's why Humongous did not gain a cult audience like Prom Night or any of the other countless slasher fans. But at the core of its plot, Humongous is aching for a chance to really show slasher fans what its made of. And give them a blood-soaked epic adventure in the process. 

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