“Inhumanoids” (1986)

Not a full review, but holy hell, they do not make cartoons like they did in the ’80s.  If you never saw Inhumanoids as a child, it’s entirely possible that, viewed now, it won’t leave the same mark on you that it left on me. If you did see it when you were young, though, I’m willing to bet that, like me, you were impressed by its sophisticated dialogue (for a kids’ show), confused by its complex narrative, and traumatized by its scary, scary monsters.

Not to mention its catchy, ridiculous theme song.

This is another of those glorious ’80s cartoons that was produced by Hasbro and animated by Toei. Predictably, several of the great voice actors from such shows as Transformers (my other passion) and G.I. Joe were also involved in Inhumanoids. In fact, there are so many similarities between all three series that it’s not hard to imagine them taking place in the same universe.

The premise of the show was simple enough: in grand Lovecraftian fashion, an ancient race of giant monsters, the Inhumanoids, is discovered and inadvertently awakened in present-day California. It turns out that these monsters have lived under the earth’s surface since before humanity appeared. Earth Corps, a group of scientists-cum-superheroes, are the only people with the knowledge and tech skills to fight back. The Inhumanoids consist of three monsters: Metlar, the leader; Tendril, the vegetable muscle (who looks kind of like Cthulhu); and my personal favorite, D’Compose. The Earth Corps scientists are aided in their fight against these monsters by another group of ancient creatures, the Mutores, who have fought against the Inhumanoids for ages.

Was Inhumanoids horror? That depends on your definition.

Does this fit?

Let me be clear: I love this show. The Wiki article, linked above, does not fail to note the unusual violence and dark tone of the show; and these are the reasons why Inhumanoids merits inclusion here. This shit is dark and freaking scary. The idea that the earth itself is concealing the most horrible, threatening, evil creatures humanity has ever faced was a pretty scary thing for a kid in the ’80s. There are interesting implications about notions of hell as a subterranean realm, too: D’Compose and his undead minions are one obvious reference to a supernatural Otherworld under the earth’s surface. Metlar, who looks an awful lot like conventional images of Satan, is another.

Sure, the show suffered from some of the spotty coloring, crappy frame rates, and other gripes that plagued syndicated cartoons of the time. But the memories will live forever.

Pictured: Memories.

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2 thoughts on ““Inhumanoids” (1986)

  1. Right? This stuff was mainstream, though–it ran along with Jem on Sunday mornings. You could conceivably have watched D’Compose turn an innocent woman into a giant ravenous zombie, then clicked over to watch the Gummi Bears. You know, if you’re into stark, grim contrasts and had a dark childhood.

    Ahem.

    Exit stage left, even.

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