What lies before you is the precursor to something truly magical. I can’t speak for Inhumanoids‘ popularity in the ’80s, but the name certainly doesn’t carry the same amount of weight as something like TMNT (I don’t even have to define it, you know what it stands for). Inhumanoids only ran for 13 full 22-minute episodes, but it didn’t start out that way. According to Wikipedia (apply your grain of salt now), Inhumanoids started out as a made-for-TV movie. It ran in 6-7 minute installments alongside Jem and the Holograms, Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines, and Robotix. Inhumanoids did this for 15 episodes, reportedly, and the shorts were later compiled together into movies. The first five episodes are what comprise the “movie.” Both Inhumanoids and Jem went on to later success, getting their own series, but Jem was by far more successful, having 65 episodes versus Inhumanoids’ 13. This is a shame because Inhumanoids begins to delve into such awesome insanity, especially after the first five episodes, that I wish it had ran for however many episodes it would take for it to still be running today.
The first episode opens on an interview with a scientist in a massive suit of armor. True, these scientists aren’t fighting evil yet, so one wonders why they have fully weaponized suits of armor if all they are doing is digging up rocks. Well, these suits, I imagine, are used to survive extreme temperatures, pressures, and other conditions that come with extreme geology. As for their weapons, you’ll find they can easily serve scientific and exploratory purposes – like rock climbing claws, flare guns, and a goop-gun. So, the Earth Corps are like four Isaac Clarkes from “Dead Space.” It’s as awesome as it sounds.
Anyway, it seems the leader of the Earth Corps, Herman “Herc” Armstrong (a name so manly it gets laid more than you) has uncovered a gigantic piece of amber. Deep inside is what appears to be a humanoid creature (inhumanoid is more like it, amirite?). We learn, too, that there has been some strange energy emanating from the piece, and that campers have reported strange things happening in the surrounding forest. Just as things seem “normal” enough, a giant tree branch mysteriously breaks from the trunk of the tree and falls to crush the reporter and Herc. Mr. Armstrong is too damn good for that, however, and he and the reporter survive without a scratch. Now that they’re safe, let’s go see how our soon-to-be-villain is doing.
Elsewhere, Mr. Blackthorne (not an evil name at all, guys) is drilling into the earth and has just reached one mile. One mile is for chumps, and Evilman (see: Blackthorne) orders the drill to go for two miles. It takes all of 2 seconds for shit to hit the fan, as tremors rock the dig site and all we are left with is a retreating green tentacle and an aroused Nefariousname. What I love about Blackthorne is they don’t pull any punches on making him look and sound evil. Already his name is Blackthorne, and in the world of fiction your name pretty much dictates your profession – just ask any Batman villain. Next, they put him in a mysterious trench coat and give him an eye patch. No one who has an eye patch is a nice person.
But enough of things going bad, let’s return to San Fransisco to unveil the great archaeological find! Here we are introduced to all the members of Earth Corps: Herman “Herc” Armstrong, the leader, Dr. Derek Bright, an engineer, Eddie “Auger” Auguter, the archaeologist and builder of the equipment, and Johnathan M. Slattery, a “master of chemistry, spelunking, and sundering arcane sciences.” The giant amber is revealed and everyone is shitting themselves with amazement – but soon it’ll be out of fear as earthquakes begin to ripple through the area. They discover the cause is a giant plant monster tearing up the Golden Gate Bridge.
Well, being the Earth Corps, and professionals, they are ready to suit up and tackle this new scientific anomaly. Dr. Bright analyzes the creature from afar and Auger, being the badass he is, runs out to slice off a tissue sample of the beast for himself. The police are quick to respond, and come in with helicopters and guns that fire freakin’ lasers. That’s one well funded police force, especially in California. Tendril scoffs at such pathetic attempts at his life, and picks up police cars and throws them at police choppers, because he’s that kind of monster. Don’t worry, no one was in the car, and the pilots always manage to eject from the helicopter as it’s exploding without any harm coming to their own person. How? Because ’80s kid’s show.
Tendril isn’t here to just kick ass and chew bubble gum (despite his gum shortage), he’s also here to free his partner in inhuman-crimes: D’Compose. With a name like that, you might expect a monster musician that can only hear D notes – but no, what we get is much better (see: worse). D’Compose was a giant, undead dinosaur-looking creature that was trapped in the amber the Corps had found. His eyes and teeth glow bright red, showing signs of the dreaded GINGIVITIS. Once he’s fully free of the amber, the helicopters pull out all the stops and shoot missiles at the yellow monster. But they go right through the giant mass of decayed flesh – oh no! – and hit the now-exposed gas line behind the beasts. The explosion takes with it the building and the two monsters, never to be seen again.
…But, just to be safe, let’s keep looking for the monsters, okay? Okay. So Earth Corps gets to work in their government-funded bunker trying to deduce what the creatures are and where they may be now. Bright does what all scientists do and keeps a sample of the monster in his lab, unprotected, and showing signs of lively growth. We all know where this is going, but let’s teach Bright how to fish and let him find out for himself. Auger has nothing else to do but be a dick, so he walks around and tears up blueprints to weapons that may come in handy later on in the series. Something you need to know about Auger is that he is a total ass. He doesn’t mess around; he’s just a dick and even the Earth Corps hates him. Earlier, when the other members were narrowly escaping the burning building with Sandra Shore (the woman who introduced them earlier), Auger asked what they were doing in there. A perfectly reasonable question, showing concern for their well being. What does he get? “If you want romantic advice, buy a book.” So either Auger has always been an asshole and they are just doing the same to him, or that one sarcastic comment sent him into this new attitude we will enjoy for the rest of the series. In short, Auger is the Cartman of the group. He’s an asshole and we don’t know why the others hang out with him.
They come to three possible areas to search: the forest where the amber was found, the mine shaft where Tendril was first spotted, and the Atlantic Ocean where the monsters most likely retreated to. Slattery goes to the forest because he’s a dirty tree-hugger and wants to make nice with the trees and the “vibes” he gets from the woods. That’s right, Slattery is going on vibes. Even Bright told him to stop being stupid when he brought it up. Slattery uses some device while in the woods that, I can only assume, tracks vibes. He gets more than he asked for, however, when the device explodes from too many vibes (last time I swear) and the trees begin to come alive around him.
Bright goes to the drill site and lowers himself down into the shaft where Tendril emerged from. The whole time he makes odd grunting and groaning sounds, like the harness is digging into his crotch in the way he likes it. It doesn’t take him long to find some odd markings along the walls, and soon lowers into what appears to be a dungeon. Blackthrone apparently didn’t venture too far from his dig site, however, and is quick to cut the poor engineer’s rope. Bright’s “weapons” are his two climbing claws, however, and he isn’t done in so easily. Blackthorne always comes prepared and orders his men to drop a giant white ball into the hole. Surprise! The ball is a bomb! And we’re left with the sight of Bright being buried alive.
Elsewhere, Auger and Herc venture into the ocean, searching the shore for any signs of Tendril and D’Compose. Well, they get what they came for when D’Compose appears from the shadows and slaps the submarine out of his way. Tendril goes long for the pass and catches the sub, hugging it close to his bosom (heh) and crushing the vehicle like a gorilla petting a kitten. Herc and Auger slap on their oddly shaped helmets and blow the pressure bolts in an awesome maneuver that sends a submarine sized volley of shrapnel at Tendril and blows him away. Herc and Auger make it to the beach just in time.
Slattery is making more progress, however, has he learns the tree-men are not so evil as they appear. Their leader, Redwood, explains to the scientist that he is hunting down the Inhumanoids – a group of ancient monsters that enslaved earth long ago. Redwood, a Mutor, explains that they were able to trap the Inhumanoids long ago, but human intervention has freed two of the three he mentions. Where is the third one? Well, you’ll have to find out on the next episode of the Inhumanoids!