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Inhumanoids

Entry updated 1 November 2021. Tagged: TV.

US animated tv series (1986). Hasbro, Marvel Productions, Sunbow Productions, Toei Animation. Created and mainly written by Flint Dille. Directed by Ray Lee. Voice cast includes Michael Bell, William Callaway, Ron Feinberg, Ed Gilbert, Chris Latta, Neil Ross, Richard Sanders and Susan Silo. Thirteen 22-minute episodes (but see below). Colour.

Like its fellow animated Television series G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1983; vt Action Force); Transformers (1984-1987) (see also Transformers [2007]) and My Little Pony (1986-1987), the series were linked to a Hasbro Toy line. 15 shorts were originally broadcast on the Television Anthology Series Super Sunday (1985-1986, vt Super Saturday), then edited into both the video film Inhumanoids (1986) and the first five episodes of the series.

The Earth Corps is a government funded research team which investigates mysterious events under the Earth's surface (see Underground). They are muscular bantering Scientists in weaponized Powered Armour; the core members are leader Dr. Armstrong aka Hooker (Ross); Dr. Bright aka Digger (Sanders); Dr. Augutter aka Auger (Bell) and Dr. Slattery aka Liquidator (Callaway). As they present one of their discoveries – a Dinosaur preserved in amber – to a museum, an oil rig drilling deep into the Earth releases Tendril (Latta), a tentacled Monster. The rig's owner, industrialist Blackthorne Shore (Bell), comments: "So, the ancient documents were right." Tendril goes to the museum, freeing the humanoid dinosaur, D'Compose (Latta), from the amber: the pair go on a rampage, tossing cars at helicopters and tossing helicopters at statues, before escaping into the ocean. The Corps ponder the causes of this destruction: was it due to Aliens, toxic waste mutation (see Mutants), "or were they a mass illusion created by the stress of modern living?"

Liquidator discovers sentient redwoods called Mutores, who explain Tendril and D'Compose are Inhumanoids whom they had imprisoned long ago: they will now be going to free their leader, Metlar (Gilbert). Meanwhile, Blackthorne, angry at their investigations, pressures a corrupt Senator (see Politics) into ending the Corps's funding: however his honest sister, Sandra Shore (Silo), tells the Corps she will bankroll them if made a member: they agree and, aside from twisting her ankle on one occasion, she holds her own alongside the male team members. Blackthorne's attempts to coerce the Inhumanoids fail: the fifth episode – and the climax of the film – sees Metlar foiled in his attempt to crack open the Earth's crust using stolen Russian nuclear Weapons, with the Inhumanoids imprisoned once again.

The post-film episodes begin with a self-aware (see AI) and bitter Computer freeing the Inhumanoids and the jailed Blackthorne. The latter escapes with evil Genetic Engineer Dr. Manglar (Callaway), who falls into a pool of toxic waste, to be resurrected by D'Compose, becoming the Zombie Nightcrawler (Feinberg) – even D'Compose is horrified by his appearance, crying, "What have I wrought?" Subsequent storylines include stopping Russia's reckless attempt to kill the Inhumanoids by flooding the Earth's core; a cult using D'Compose to turn disaffected youth into giant zombies; the Earth's magnetic field being reversed, turning Metlar good but also pulling the Van Allen Belt into Earth's atmosphere (as it does so, buildings begin to bend).

The stories are almost non-stop action but the human characters – called "surface dwelling flesh slugs" by the Inhumanoids – are largely forgettable. There is also some Clichéd Satire. Though always silly and violent, Inhumanoids early on played it fairly straight, only occasionally sending itself up. From episode 10 the tone became more flippant, whilst body Horror increased (both responses to learning the show was ending). For example, the new monster ­Gagoyle [sic] devours its baby siblings and bites off D'Compose's arm; whilst the Inhumanoids fall in love – Metlar with the animated Statue of Liberty, who proves to be a sitcom harridan. The show differed from the other Hasbro series in being built around a continuous narrative rather than having a separate story each episode. [SP]

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