You really have to admire J.R. Bookwalter’s resolve. He had a script about an aquatic monster but had to shoot in March, prompting him to throw out the screenplay and make it all up as he went along rather than scrap the project. Humanoids From Atlantis (1992) is a mess but it’s an endearing one.
You’ll know fairly early on if this movie is for you. If you don’t feel that Ken Adams (James L. Edwards) doesn’t represent you in his Evil Dead II baseball cap, Gremlins 2 t-shirt and his excitement about being able to afford Ghoul School (1990) on tape then Humanoids From Atlantis is not for you. But if you do feel a kinship for Ken and his girlfriend Julie (Sandra Wurzer) or if you’ve ever worked on a micro budget genre film then Humanoids From Atlantis is the SOV flick for you.
Bookwalter’s film very clearly began as a knock-off of the Roger Corman classic Humanoids From The Deep (1980) before necessity intervened. Bookwalter may not have Corman’s “quality” effects but he is able to compensate for that to varying degrees with some self-aware humor and a lot of self-deprecation. Humanoids From Atlantis only really gets into trouble when it gets reflexive; ending with a quasi-metaphysical plot twist of sorts.
When it comes to these SOV productions from the 1990s and early 2000s the best ones don’t take themselves too seriously nor do they come across as insincere. Material from Tempe Digital and W.A.V.E. varies considerably but it is all basically DIY riffs on major mainstream motion pictures. Within this milieu Humanoids From Atlantis isn’t really a bad picture. It just is what it is and you’ll either find something to enjoy or you’ll turn it off.