Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Creature From The Black Lagoon: Movie Review #15


The Universal Monsters of the 1950's were the foundation for all of our modern day horrors. I remember watching this film as a boy, fascinated by the Creature who lived underwater. Watching the movie 20 years later, I couldn't help but find the man in the fish suit somewhat ridiculous. Something so scary as a child had no affect on me as a grown man. However, this film and this particular monster was the inspiration for my alias on The Big Toe Blog, so I guess I have indeed been affected by the film even today. Just the word "creature" raises the hair on my arms, a term I find identity with, a simple word that embodies all that I enjoy. Horror and monsters have always been an obsession for me, and I owe a great deal of that to the Creature and this film.

It's quite amazing how simple and straight-forward horror was in the 1950's. Creature From The Black Lagoon was shot in black and white in the supposed Amazon, where a team of archaeologists uncover the bones of a creature's hand. They gather a larger crew and financial backing to take the dig even further, hoping to discover a new species. The expedition takes them to the Black Lagoon, which men have entered but never returned according to legend. One by one, the team is soon terrorized by the Creature, a blueprint for the plot of the horror genre for years to come.

The underwater camerawork is impressive for such primitive times in cinema, and several close calls beneath the surface are the main sources of suspense and tension in the film. When our lovely leading lady Julia Adams is swimming in the lagoon (in a sexy one piece white suit, I might add) the Creature treads water beneath her, inches from her heels. Every time the Creature appears on screen we are bombarded with an intense orchestra sound, which is kind of like his on-screen entrance theme. Much like our present killers in horror films, the Creature takes a lickin and keeps on tickin. Throughout the film he is shot with harpoons, the lagoon water is drugged, he is taken captive by the crew, set on fire, but keeps on truckin. The team, determined to document their find, go up against the Creature above and below the surface, cumulating in several intense underwater battles. The Creature supposedly falls in love with Adams' character (Kay), kidnapping her to his cave, where she is of course eventually rescued and the Creature escapes back into the depths . . . or does he?

Rent this movie and get educated. It's a timeless film and entertaining from start to finish, if you can bear with the fish costume. Of course I give Creature From The Black Lagoon 5 toes!

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