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Western Animation / Inhumanoids

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"The evil that lies within! From down in the fiery depths of the Earth where nightmares begin!"

Inhumanoids was a 13-episode Western Animation show by Sunbow Entertainment that aired in 1986. Like most '80s cartoons, it was based on an accompanying toyline, which was made by Hasbro.

The main story focuses on a group of scientists called the Earth Corps, who discover an enormous monster, D'Compose, encased in amber in the Big Sur. Unknown to the Corps, D'Compose is one of a race of horrors known as the Inhumanoids, who were sealed under the Earth long ago. Another of these eldritch abominations, Tendril, is discovered and freed by a Corrupt Corporate Executive, and Tendril in turn frees D'Compose. Joining with their leader Metlar, the Inhumanoids are again a menace to the world. With the help of the Mutores, the elemental beings who imprisoned the Inhumanoids in the first place, the Earth Corps step up to put down the monsters again.

The show in its day had a lot of Family-Unfriendly Violence and remains a great source of scares. More importantly, it was an unusual kids' show for its use of good subplots, strong pacing and suspense. Unfortunately, the toy line failed due to the major gimmick of the monster figures' sheer size (14", almost as big as the kids in the ads!) making them too expensive for many parents to buy, and so the show lasted only thirteen episodes.

They seemed to be on their way to debuting in the Hasbro Comic Universe, as hinted in issues and interviews with the creators of G.I. Joe (2016), but it turned out to be other creatures called the "Fatal Fluffies" (see the Trivia page for why).


  • Achilles' Heel:
    • Metlar can be paralyzed by magnetic fields.
    • D'Compose can be burnt by sunlight, which also returns his undead minions to normal.
  • Action Figure File Card: The toys had them.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Cypher, a linguistic computer is intended to communicate with Tendril and instead breaks him out, and then frees Metlar.
  • Alliterative Name: Sandra Shore's first and last names start with S.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Metlar erected the Pyramids of Egypt as monuments to Sslither, as well as creating huge sculptures in China in his honor that became the inspiration for dragons. Eventually, he rebelled and sealed Sslither away in his favorite temple in Burma, a temple that Metlar built for him.
  • And the Adventure Continues: After saving Auger's life, Earth Corps dump their TV jobs to resume protecting the world from the Inhumanoids.
  • Animesque: Coincidentally, the animation style of Inhumanoids has much in common with '80s anime, compared to most other cartoons made in the US at the time, even Sunbow's other shows.
  • Antagonist Title: The title refers to the gigantic monsters the Earth Corps spend the series fighting.
  • Ascended Extra: Hector Ramirez, a sleazy TV tabloid reporter who appeared in minor roles in several other Marvel/Sunbow cartoons, becomes a recurring character who shows up in almost every episode of Inhumanoids.
  • Back for the Finale: The last episode involves a massive battle royale where most of the recurring characters show up.
  • Beneath the Earth: At least half of every episode is spent beneath the Earth.
  • Big Bad: Metlar is the main antagonist, seeing that he's the leader of the Inhumanoids and he schemes to take over the entire world as well as destroy the Mutores trying to stop him and the other Inhumanoids.
  • Bizarchitecture: D'Compose's lair Skelweb features an entire medieval town — including at least one cone castle — inverted and attached to the ceiling.
  • The Brute: Tendril does most of the tasks involving physical labor for the Inhumanoids.
  • Body Horror: A fair number of scenes feature grotesque anatomy, such as D'Compose's tendency to turn people into undead, decaying abominations and Dr. Manglar becoming a skull-faced brute with a spine-like tentacle for an arm named Nightcrawler.
  • Caged Inside a Monster:
    • D'Compose used his ribcage as a prison.
    • This is Gagoyle's main shtick - he can gobble his victims whole straight to his stomach, which is transparent. Then bystanders can watch as they are slowly dissolved by its acid. Thankfully, Gagoyle can vomit anyone out intact, sans their dignity.
  • Call-Back: In episode 11, after Metlar finishes animating the Statue of Liberty as his fiancée, she complains that she wants a television. In episode 12, she spends most of the episode watching it while nagging at Metlar. In episode 13, all three Inhumanoids are depicted watching the same television.
  • Calling Your Attacks: D'Compose has a habit of screaming out "DECOMPOSE!" in a long, drawn-out shriek as he uses his zombifying touch.
  • Came Back Wrong: Dr. Mangler drowns in toxic waste, and is Stripped to the Bone by it. One of his minions brings his skeleton to D'Compose to resurrect him. The resulting abomination, who dubs himself Nightcrawler, is enough to freak out D'Compose himself.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Sandra Shore's brother Blackthorne Shore doesn't even deny that he's a depraved bastard. "
    I'm not sick, I'm evil!
  • Combat Tentacles: Tendril has tentacles that he uses to fight.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The animated series received a comic book tie-in by Star Comics a month after the end of its run (based on the early episodes of the show). The comic lasted four issues and ended on a cliffhanger where Sandra Shore was zombified by D'Compose, probably due to the somewhat abrupt cancellation of the show.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Many characters end up walking harmlessly past lava, though admittedly the Earth Corps are always in their Powered Armor when they do so and Metlar is explicitly a being of living metal.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Blackthorne Shore, who deliberately brought back the Inhumanoids in the hopes of controlling them, and had a senator in his pocket defund the Earth Corps so they couldn't stop him from awakening Metlar.
  • Corrupt Politician: Senator Masterson, who Blackthorne bribes into doing what he wants several times over the course of the series. In "The Surma Plan" it's suggested he's even for sale to the Russians.
  • Creepy Good: The Mutores, despite being good guys, are definitely monstrous. The Redwoods, in particular, you would mistake for evil until they start talking. Looking at their hideous toy version, nobody would blame you for thinking they were bad guys, too.
  • Crystal Prison: D'Compose was trapped in amber before it escaped.
  • Cut Short: The show's comic book adaptation ended at the fourth issue with Sandra Shore being zombified by D'Compose and was cancelled before the story could continue. Likewise, the show ended with all the villains still on the loose.
  • Darker and Edgier: The show was noticeably much darker in tone than most cartoons and toy lines of their day. Some of the later episodes like "Primal Passions" and "The Masterson Team" veer sharply toward comedy, though.
  • Dem Bones: Skelweb is defended by warriors who are animate skeletons.
  • Disney Villain Death: Metlar kills Gagoyle by throwing him into a lava fissure.
  • The Dragon: D'Compose serves as Metlar's right-hand man.
  • The '80s
  • Dumb Is Good: Tendril is the least intelligent of the Inhumanoids, and by far the least evil.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Episode "The Surma Plan" involves the Soviet military trying to destroy Metlar by flooding his fortress at the Earth's core, which will create an explosion even he couldn't possibly survive. Earth Corps tries to stop this after they run the numbers and realize the explosion would be so powerful it would blow the entire planet to smithereens.
  • Ejection Seat: As with GI Joe, all pilots were shown bailing out of their damaged planes, helicopters, etc. with visible parachutes. Same goes for pilots of ground vehicles like tanks escaping before their vehicle gets destroyed.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The hideous beings led by Metlar. Their origin story speaks of their imprisonment long ago.
    • Gagoyle and Sslither, while not part of the core triad of Inhumanoids, are just as bad.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Attempted and failed with Blackthorne Shore. The two times Sandra is turned into a monster by D'Compose, Blackthorne reacts in horror, even shouting "I never meant--!" the first time he sees this—except minutes later Blackthorne seems to completely forget about her and leaves her to her fate while trying to kill the heroes. A later episode even has him try and kill her by downing the plane she's in with the heroes.
  • Eye Patch Of Power: Blackthorn Shore has an eyepatch.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Lasers are everywhere. Even the police have them — shooting out of .38 revolvers! Too bad the lasers don't do much except for the laser cannon on the Earth Corps vehicle (that one was strong enough to take a limb off Tendril). Makes a bit more sense than in other cases, given that they share a universe with other shows where laser weaponry is common.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The cartoon is much more violent than most of its contemporaries, especially some of the deaths!
  • Five-Episode Pilot: The first story arc is a self-contained five-episode arc where the Inhumanoids are set free and the Earth Corps fight to help the Mutores reimprison the gigantic monsters.
  • Foreshadowing: Sslither is mentioned in several episodes before he is finally introduced, even in a blink and you'll miss it reference as early as episode 7!
  • Genius Bruiser: While Metlar is probably not a genius, he's certainly smart enough to give the geniuses of Earth Corp a challenge when combined with his might and supernatural powers. He's got a good understanding of engineering given he was the builder of several world monuments and can think in terms of long term goals.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Stella Blaze certainly did when Derek saved her from Tendril. They later do a "Mr. Foam" commercial as Dr. Derek and Mrs. Stella Bright.
  • Green Rocks: Galvacite, a boulder that produces super-charged magnetic fields that can power up Magnokor... or induce a personality inversion for all metallic lifeforms... or cause the Van Allen Belt to destabilize and peel away, causing Earth to be fried by the full force of solar radiation.
  • Happy Ending Override: The Five-Episode Pilot ends with Earth Corps victorious and the Inhumanoids all imprisoned again. Almost immediately they're freed again so the show can continue.
  • Henpecked Husband: Metlar becomes this after falling in love with and animating the Statue of Liberty. It gets to the point where not only does she work him worse than his former slave-master Sslither did, he's happy to de-animate her and put her back on her pedestal off-screen because he's just that sick of her nagging.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Sandra Shore, who uses her money to promote beneficial projects, and doesn't just pick up the tab for the Earth Corps after they're defunded thanks to her brother, but actually joins the team.
  • Infinite Supplies: Averted, early in Earth Corps has their funding yanked and are then privately bankrolled by Sandra Shore. In a later episode it then goes on to acknowledge the high mortality rate of their equipment (especially TVs with Auger around), when Liquidator asks him to take it easy as their bank account's getting low again.
  • Informed Attribute: Auger is introduced as an archaeologist. We never see him take any notice of the amazing archaeological finds like the medieval ruins in Skelweb.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: The show is in the same universe as The Transformers, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and Jem, as evidenced by all three featuring appearances by Hector Ramirez and Jem featuring a cameo by D'Compose on a television set in the episode "Broadway Magic".
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Sslither, a demonic snake-like Inhumanoid who used to rule Earth and who kept Metlar as a slave until he rebelled.
  • Kent Brockman News: Hector Ramirez, as shared with the other shows.
  • Kaiju: The Inhumanoids are essentially giant monsters causing havoc, despite being smaller than most Kaiju, and being intelligent and able to talk.
  • Love Potion: Episode 11, "Primal Passions", is about Earth Corps accidentally applying this to the Inhumanoids. D'Compose falls in love with Sandra Shore and tracks her down to turn her once again into an undead monster, Tendril falls in love with a robotic copy of himself being used for a movie, and Metlar falls in love with the Statue of Liberty!
  • Magic Pants: Being infected by D'Compose and turned into a thirty-foot tall zombie does destroy Sandra's armor in the process, but when cured, there is, "miraculously", enough of her clothing left to cover her.
  • Meaningful Name: Everyone in Earth Corps and the Redwoods, too.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Like pretty much every cartoon based on a Hasbro property, this one was made to promote a toyline. A major reason only 13 episodes were made was because sales suffered from how expensive the ginormous Inhumanoids figures were.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Blackthorne learned about the Inhumanoids and then decided to set them free so he could Take Over the World. But it seems to have somewhat escaped his thought process that beings powerful enough to terrorize humanity into submission would be correspondingly difficult to control. He rarely has much of a good reason why they should treat this "flesh slug" any differently than all the other ones they want to wipe out once they've gotten what use they can out of him. Some of his later plots like freeing Gagoyle and Sslither are just so he can have someone to protect him from the various people and monsters he's pissed off through a string of shortsighted judgements.
  • Mook Maker: All three main Inhumanoids accomplish this in different ways: D'Compose transforms victims by touch into undead horrors from human height up to his own size, Tendril can chop off his tentacles that then regrow into versions of himself, and Metlar can animate armies of statues as intelligent warriors.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Who the HELL names their kid "Blackthorne?"
    • Or "Manglar" for that matter?
  • Neck Lift: In episode 5, a pissed-off Metlar shows just how much mightier he is than D'Compose and Tendril by giving both of them a Neck Lift at the same time.
  • Never Say "Die": Zigzagged bizarrely. For all the horror in the original miniseries, the rule is played hard and straight ("If his friends release him, we're ended.") but later episodes, while paradoxically becoming lighter, seemed to scrap the rule half the time ("Die, mortal flesh-slugs! Die!").
    • This is a weird case, in which you can't say "die", but saying "death" is A-Ok.
    • The Inhumanoids semi-regularly refer to death as "the dark silence".
  • No Ending: "Auger for President" ends with all the villains at large again.
  • Non-Human Undead: D'Compose and some of his undead army obviously weren't human before becoming zombies, if they were ever alive to begin with.
  • One-Steve Limit: Not that they were used very much, but Herc and Nightcrawler's real names are both "Herman."
  • Painful Transformation: Felt by Sandra Shore after D-Compose touched her cheek. You can hear her bones growing all throughout the transformation. Other transformed victims of D'Compose are implied to get the same.
  • Personality Swap: Magnokor and Metlar switched alignment after the former boosted their magnetic powers through a boulder of galvacite to finally defeat their arch-enemy.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Sslither is capable of breathing both flames and lightning.
    • Metlar sits somewhere between here, Extra Oredinary and Magma Man, as his primary ranged attack is horking up great wads of magma/molten iron and hurling them at people.
  • Police Are Useless: The cops are certainly powerful, they were attacking the Inhumanoids with helicopter gunships that were armed with lasers and missiles. Too bad, it did squat though at least no police died in the fight as they parachuted out of their damaged gunships.
  • Powered Armor: The Earth Corps scientists wear special armor designed for subterranean exploration. These are strong enough to withstand an Inhumanoid giving them a firm squeeze, though the recipient does note that a few rivets are popping.
    • Tank Goodness: Tank's Earth Corps armor was crafted from his own battle tank.
    • Flying Brick: Sabre Jet's armor allows him to fly and fight.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Auger is Earth Corps' toughest, most volatile member. And his power suit is bright purple.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Magnokor's two halves, Crygen and Pyre.
  • Religion of Evil: D'Compose garners a cult of teenagers devoted to being turned into abominations during a short-lived alliance with Blackthorne and Nightcrawler. Metlar also starts one in a tie-in storybook, "Cult of the Great Protector".
  • Rock Beats Laser: Shooting an Inhumanoid with a laser does squat, hitting him with a large rock will make him run off in pain or even knock him out.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: All of the Inhumanoids except for Gagoyle are evil beings who have been imprisoned for eons when the series begins.
    • D'Compose is trapped in a huge boulder of amber.
    • Tendril is imprisoned in a subterranean cell 2 miles below the surface of the Earth.
    • Metlar is bound by Magnokor's magnetic field.
    • Sslither is petrified until episode 10.
  • Science Hero: Earth Corps are scientists using their knowledge to combat the Inhumanoids and help the Mutores reimprison them.
  • Sequel Hook: The last episode ends on all the villains still on the loose.
  • Shared Universe: Hector Ramirez, a pastiche of Geraldo Rivera, is the subtle link between this, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, The Transformers, and Jem due to appearing in at least one episode of each.
    • And Sabre Jet begins as pilot Brad Ambruster. Savvy viewers could recognize him as the former G.I. Joe member Ace.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Tank.
  • Sleazy Politician: Senator Masterson. Every other problem the heroes encounter stems back from him. In episode one he's cutting their funding because he's friends with Blackthorne Shore. By the end of the series, he's outright allied with the Inhumanoids themselves to get elected as President.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Averted. Sandra Shore is grabbed by her brother's security goons and manages to fight them off even after one of them has made contact with her forearm. They're really not very good goons.
  • Super-Strength: Everyone who isn't a human bystander has it on varying scale. The Earth Corps in their Power Armor are perhaps the weakest of the lot but still strong enough to do superhuman feats of strength, then there's the human-sized minions of D'Compose and Metlar who are strong enough to kill a mutore one on one if they get the drop on them, the mutores in turn are powerful enough to overcome D'Compose and Tendril if they rush them in small numbers, the large minions of D'Compose and Metlar who border on being on the Inhumanoids level and the mightiest are the Inhumanoids themselves with Metlar by far the strongest.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: Liquidator's chemical spray seems to have a concentrated chemical for every occasion, such as spraying incoming magma with liquid oxygen to freeze it into a rock shell for their tank.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Earth Corps seems on the verge of a fistfight with each other at times.
  • Terrible Trio: Lacking the numbers for a team of five, the Inhumanoids consist of three giant monsters. Gagoyle and Sslither are opposed to the Inhumanoid trio.
  • This Is a Drill: Auger has, yes, an auger attached to his exosuit.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Blackthorne, really; why would you free Tendril in the first place? To confirm that Metlar lives? Okay, but... just what in the world would you want to enslave him for in the first place? Just what is that supposed to do that will benefit you? Then you make — and break — an alliance with Nightcrawler and D'Compose, and then you run off and reawaken Sslither.
    • Senator Masterson really isn't that much better. The first time we see him is when he's taking a bribe from Blackthorne to hand over the blueprints of Earth Corps' Powered Armor and revoke their funding. When, let's remember, subterranean monsters bent on the extermination of humanity have already appeared with it being heavily implied the worst is yet to come. What's he going to spend the money on after Metlar purges the surface world in fire?
  • Toyless Toyline Character: The toyline did not include figures of Sandra "Ms. Navigator" Shore, Anatoly "Tankmaster" Kiev, Brad "Sabre Jet" Ambruster, Blackthorne Shore, Gagoyle or Sslither. However, most of them were planned for the canceled second year.
  • Treants: The Redwoods are a race of these who helped bring down the Inhumanoids ages ago. They give some information to the Earth Corps, but make it clear that since humanity caused the return of the Inhumanoids, it's their problem, until convinced otherwise.
  • Unfortunate Names: The team leader, whose main weapon is a grappling hook, has a code name which is the common nickname for prostitute.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Blackthorne cries out for the Earth Corps to save him from Tendril in one episode. When they do, he shouts, "Thanks, SUCKERS!" and runs off.
  • Was Once a Man: Herman Manglar dies horribly, and is brought back as the hideous undead monstrosity Nightcrawler. He's delighted with his new condition.
    D'Compose: It is hideous!
    Nightcrawler: And I trust you will make me even more so.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: D'Compose, badass human-corrupting zombie dinosaur man is vulnerable to two things: sunlight and tree sap.
  • Weaponized Landmark: One of the animated-statue guardians of Metlar's lair appears to be the Colossus of Rhodes. In a later episode, Metlar animates the Statue of Liberty. Subverted, as he marries her rather than uses her as a weapon.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Severing Tendril's tentacles caused their pieces to grow into new Tendril creatures, yet what became of the umpteen Tendril-clones spawned in this manner was rarely addressed. Apparently they get re-absorbed by the main Tendril or they die off-screen like uprooted plants. In the Star Comics mini-series, Metlar tells Tendril that his clones will no longer be necessary, and then Tendril causes them to decay away.
    • Also when Blackthorn frees Ssslither, the original ruler of the Inhumanoids to have a powerful ally against...pretty much everybody by that point in the show. After Ssslither get his butt kicked by Metlar, he just sort of wanders away. And nobody ever thinks anything of it.
  • What Measure Is A Nonhuman: Does an episode need someone to die? Then a generic Mutore will die. But if a jet or helicopter gets destroyed, the human pilot will always be ejected safely.
  • What Have I Done: Bringing D'Compose to San Francisco was truly a big mistake...
    • This not only counts as Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, but also a Plot Coupon, too.
    • D'Compose himself falls into this as well; when he reanimate's Dr. Manglar's remains into the hideous Nightcrawler, he backs away in fear, muttering "What have I wrought?"
  • When Trees Attack: The Redwoods are sentient trees that give assistance to the heroes every so often. Also, Tendril, being a plant-based Inhumanoid, is a hostile version.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Sabre Jet may be Ace of the G.I. Joe Team in theory, but he has a different appearance and voice (switching from Pat Fraley to Neil Ross) than he did in the G.I. Joe cartoon.
  • Your Size May Vary: The flaw this show is best known for is the size of the giant monsters changing between episodes or even frames. In one episode they look about 20-30 feet tall and can fit indoors; in another, Metlar is just as tall as the Statue of Liberty.