It’s no secret that the ’80s and ’90s were a strange time for animation, especially when it came to kids cartoons. The highlight of any childhood would be waking up on a weekday and watching cartoons before school, or waking up early on the weekends for the opportunity to watch for longer periods of time without missing out on your favourites. There are always the classics that people remember fondly as adults such as ‘Scooby Doo: Where Are You?’ and ‘Looney Tunes’ but there are many cartoons that only a few can remember because they were either short-lived or completely bizarre that they seem like a fevered dream. One of these shows is called ‘Inhumanoids’, subtitled ‘The Evil That Lies Within’ since the majority of the series takes place below the Earths surface.
Inhumanoids is a show about humans versus monsters, with some slight overtones of Greek mythology within the backstory, similar to the stories of titans. The heroes of this show are a group of geological scientists, funded by the government for their incredible research into the earth’s deeper secrets using advanced technology that allows them to build incredible machines and powerful mechanical suits of armour. During one of their exhibitions, the group, known as Earth Corps, mistakenly unleashes a terrifying monster on the world and a battle begins to save the earth.
They soon discover that their monster is not alone and that there are in fact a trio of kaiju-like monsters that wish to take over the human world, as they once did centuries ago before humans existed. The humans soon discover more strange creatures that luckily are on their side, from talking tree trunks to sentient granite golems. All of whom can talk just like the evil monsters, though the evil beings seem to repeat their names more than anything, especially the gruesome creature known as D’Compose, who likes to repeat his name like a Pokémon.
Of course, this series wouldn’t be complete without a corrupt human villain as well, so we also have Blackthorn Shore, a selfish industrialist who attempts to control the trio of monsters for his own devious plans. Without a doubt, this often backfires because we can’t have the villain become successful.
The group of kaiju-like monsters. known as the Inhumanoids, are pretty cool by today’s standards, with a variety of different designs, such as Tendril the Lovecraft-influenced hybridisation of a mollusc covered in vines that form its limbs, that feels like an evil form of Man-Thing of Marvel Comics, and that’s probably because this show is, in fact, a Marvel Productions series. Then we have Metlar who seems to be the leader of the Inhumanoids (until we meet the true leader, a reptilian-like monster known as Sslither), and the toughest enemy to defeat. He is a large demon looking creature that has to be imprisoned in an electric field by Magnokor (one of the Mutores a.k.a the good monsters). Finishing off the original trio of Inhumanoids is quite possibly one of the most disturbing creatures in a kid’s cartoons that I can think of, a creature by the name of D’Compose who can turn humans into horrifying skeletal monsters with exposed rib cages, with a single touch. This is by far the most horrific of the monsters, despite his weakness being sunlight (somewhat like a vampire), though not far off is a monster known as Gagoyle, who we see hatch from its egg and then quickly devour its siblings who are also hatching. This is done quickly and without hesitation, making it a rather horrifying scene to witness.
This show is full of bizarre elements, such as the fact that it seems to be set in a somewhat distant future, where every weapon, whether it’s your basic handgun or a vehicle-mounted weapon, shoots lasers instead of bullets. This is most likely due to a rule with cartoons of the time that restricted the use of bullets for violent action scenes, especially in kid’s animated shows. However the fun yet bizarre element is when you realise that despite the technologically advanced weapons and super suits, the Earth Corps can be seen in one episode using a classic rotary pay phone to communicate with someone across the city; a true sign of the times.
For a children’s cartoon series, Inhumanoids was very horrific and somewhat gruesome due to characters with exposed rib cages, and scenes that involved amputations, writhing deaths by corrosive acid, and shrieking creatures, which might explain why this series was short-lived with only thirteen episodes aired. Marvel also released an even shorter-lived comic series that ran for only four issues before leaving the audience on a cliffhanger, regarding Metlar’s escape from imprisonment.
As with many of these old cartoons, each episode of this show started and ended with a macho-voiced narration that summed up the previous episodes or gave the viewer a peek at what was to come in the following episode. Other classic traits include cheesy one-liners, an excellent theme song, and plenty of designs to make action figures for the series. As well as being a Marvel Productions project, Inhumanoids was also a property of Hasbro, so you can imagine why many of the vehicles and characters looked a certain way which I can only explain by saying their design is “action figure worthy”.
Everything from the Earth Corps armour designs, to the appearance of the vehicles, that have many detachable parts and plenty of weaponry for the children to fire plastic rockets from. The Trappeur vehicle also included a crane claw and removable parts so that you could really open up a child’s imagination and recreate scenes from the series.
The show ends on episode 13 with a presidential election and climactic battle for the earth, but sadly due to cancellation, the episode ends on a major cliffhanger for the viewers. Sadly a cliffhanger I doubt we will end move on from, as many have forgotten Inhumanoids ever existed, and only those few who remember it can keep on praying we some form of revival for the sake of the plot to find a reasonable conclusion.
Overall, Inhumanoids certainly stands out from many of the other shows of the late ’80s and early ’90s, especially for its graphic imagery, bizarre concept, and animation that uses a decent amount of split screening. I believe if this show was brought back, it would do better as a modern and more mature series for young adults. There were once rumours that the comic was going to make a comeback but it was soon dropped again without any production. I myself would certainly like to see this concept brought back as either the comic series or the television series.
Leave a Reply