Original title: L’Umanoide
Director: Aldo Lado
Starring: Richard Kiel, Corinne Clery, Leonard Mann
Light years beyond tomorrow…
If an european or asian movie does great these days, the you can be sure that the americans will produce a remake (or ripoff) of it within 1-2 years. Back in the 70’s and 80’s however it went the other way around. When The Exorcist hit big then you had Antichrist, Beyond The Door and plenty more italian ripoffs and even turkish ones with Seytan. The main difference is that these where knockoffs where the producers didn’t buy any right to produce a domestic version, but the end product was usually the same as today. It’s the original that holds up the best while the other is simply a rehash of the same story.
I went into Aldo Lado’s The Humanoid thinking this would be a fun Star Wars ripoff. The pictures I had seen had Darth Vader look-a-like, it had stormtroopers, laser beams and all sorts of typical Star Wars stuff. What I found however was a movie that seemed to be dressed like Star Wars, but had its own thing going on. If the costumes had been different, then I doubt it would be labeled as a ripoff at all.
The Humanoid is a typical good vs. evil story. On the evil side you have Graal, who is the Darth Vader look-a-like, played by cult hero Ivan Rassimov (Eaten Alive, Shock, Jungle Holocaust). He has escaped from exile and is after revenge on his brother named simply Great Brother. Oh, and he also wants to rule the galaxy of course. With him is the gorgeous Lady Agatha played by Barbara Bach (Spy Who Loves Me, Black Belly of the Tarantula) who is the queen of this evil empire and keeps her youth by a serum made by the third guy in this evil threesome Dr. Kraspin played by Arthur Kennedy (The Sentinel, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie). Kennedy is after revenge on his earlier assistance Barbara Gibson who had him put into the loony bin. Although a bit crazy, Kraspin is also very smart. He has invented a way to create humanoids by using small parts of a Kappa Element (a little box with some nuclear stuff in it that they stole from the good guys).
And in the other corner there’s the good guys! Barbara Gibson is a scientist and teacher played by the french beauty Corinne Clery (Moonraker, Hitch Hike). She is teaching a young asian mastermind Tom Tom (Marco Yeh) who has some sort of Yodalike traits. Nick is a Han Solo type of character played by Leonard Mann (Cut And Run, Flowers in the Attic) and the biggest character and showstealer is Golob played by Richard Kiel (Eegah, Spy Who Loves Me). Golob is the first (and only) human go gets turned into one of these humanoids and has to display both a good side and a bad side. Kiel does an amazing job with his role and even if he is in the company of several great actors, he is definitely the most enjoyable one in the film.
After Golob is turned into a humanoid, he is sent to kill the Great Brother but Dr. Kraspin makes him go after Gibson instead. He is then turned back to the good side after Tom Tom doing some magical stuff on him. Gibson is then kidnapped by the evil ones and Tom Tom, Golob and Nick goes after them to rescue Gibson and to prevent the bad guys from sending out a bomb that would turn thousands of people into evil humanoids.
The movie is directed by Aldo Lado under the funny pseudonym George B. Lewis (if you for some reason aren’t aware of it, Star Wars is of course made by George Lucas). Lado is mostly known for his video nasty entry Night Train Murders and the giallo’s Who Saw Her Die? and Short Night of Glass Dolls. He does a good job with this, even though the effects are bad even for 1979. The set pieces however look great and you can tell that everyone involved had their heart set in making this as good as possible. The script has some bad parts, especially when it comes to the dialogue.
Disregarding all it’s flaws, The Humanoid is a movie filled with charm. I can’t give it a better rating considering all the technical problems with the movie, but it’s a movie I think should be seen by sci-fi fans and I’m sure even Star Wars fans will find something likeable in it.
Note: Check out the incredible website dedicated to this movie at www.golobthehumanoid.com!