Yesterday’s review was of Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines, so as Inhumanoids originated from that same Super Sunday block and there were some comments about vaguely remembering it, I thought I’d have a look at the five-part mini-series that was shown in smaller chunks (quite obviously, as we’ll get to) alongside Bigfoot and the others.
Inhumanoids is an oddity in that it’s a show named after the villains. They are giant creatures, three main ones:
- Tendril, a giant plant monster, lashing about with his vines and tentacles, the most stupid of the three, who bases himself in the forests and on the land
- D’Compose, a dinosaur-like creature with rotten flesh, exposed rib cage (which he can trap people in), and the power to turn those he touches with his claws into zombies (they can be turned back when exposed to sunlight, which is also his weakness)
- Metlar, a demonic being that lives near the inner core of the Earth, who can bring statues to life with lava
To oppose these are the government-funded (but often screwed) Earth Corps, comprised of:
- Herc, the leader, who despite his heroic manner can speak in a rather sinister way
- Bright, the scientific brain of the group and egotist, pretty much a self-important square
- Auger, the engineer, with the look and temperament of a professional wrestler
- Liquidator, chemist with a far out and spacey personality
They’re then aided by the Mutores, who take the shape of:
- The Redwoods, who transform from trees to long-bodied and long-limbed creatures, protecting the forest (natural enemies of Tendril)
- The Granites, rock men who can be blown apart and reform, living in an underground city (opponents of D’Compose)
- Magnokor, a dual being made up of brother Crygen (blue, cold, cool temperament and personality) and Pyre (red, hot, angry and aggressive), who hold Metlar prisoner in their magnetic trap
Two more characters of note, from the same family:
- Blackthorne Shore, evil billionaire and explorer, who wants to control the Inhumanoids for his own evil purposes
- Sandra Shore, his sister, who is against everything Blackthorne wants to do, and ends up funding and becoming a member of Earth Corps herself
With the cast of characters outlined, we have to talk about the plot. It’s very simple – Earth Corps have unwittingly discovered D’Compose, encased in amber, and bring him to San Francisco like King Kong, and Blackthorne Shore simultaneously releases Tendril from his prison, causing him to go and track down his evil compatriot. As you would imagine, when it’s realised what has been unleashed then the purpose is to put it back in its place.
Writer Flint Dille has spoken and written about the series and some of the things he wanted to achieve with it. There’s a more adult tone and darker and scarier animation. The sky looks murky and foreboding. Lots of shading on the faces of the characters serves to give them sometimes intimidating expressions, hence why I note Herman “Herc” Armstrong expressing a dark side.
This show had a troubled production, and it shows. Scenes just end all of a sudden before people have fully completed sentences, the animation quality switches within seconds, even as part of the same scene. The last two minutes of episode four are reused in full at the beginning of episode five. And some lines of dialogue in episode one reveal that Sandra Shore was originally played by someone else before they recast Susan Silo, as they are left in. These shortcomings aside, there are attempts to be ambitious, such as using split screens and alternate angles.
No faults with the voice acting. Neil Ross plays a trademark character with big balls in Herc, and Michael Bell tries to match that with Auger. Bright is played as aloof without being annoying, and Liquidator alternates well from sounding like he likes the weed to being an action man. Chris Latta provides the mumbling and guttural roaring for the unsophisticated Tendril as well as the pained screeching of D’Compose with the obvious “DE-COM-POSE!” catchphrase as he turns his victims into monstrous creatures. Ed Gilbert presents Metlar as powerful and the wavering sound of his voice makes him suitably evil.
That prior reference to D’Compose’s power helps transition into some of the content, which is nightmarish. Sandra Shore at one point becomes one of his victims and grows into a skeletal demon. Sleeping soldiers at a Russian airbase are changed by him in their sleep and grow horrible, bony protrusions from their head and body. D’Compose himself is an abomination as well, with the ribs that open out and show his pulsing heart and lungs behind them. Tendril gets a bit of himself sliced off early on for further inspection, and it’s shown as painful to him.
I absolutely recommend watching this flawed but engrossing piece of work, although it is difficult to get hold of clean copies, as only Region 2 received it on DVD. I consider myself lucky to have it to watch. The Evil That Lies Within is self-contained, with a cliffhanger, but the subsequent eight episodes are presented as a serial, and I’ll be looking at those next Saturday. In it we’ll see characters die and live again, be crippled and walk again, plus siblings eat one another!