Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Lurking at the bottom of a lake at the end of an Amazonian estuary is the Creature From The Black Lagoon.

After digging for years for prehistoric beasts, Dr Carl Maia (Antonio Moreno) chances upon the fossilised hand of a creature from the Devonian period.

He visits his marine biologist friend Dr David Reed (Richard Carlson) who manages to persuade both his girlfriend (Julia Adams) and a financial backer (Richard Denning) to go ahead with the expedition.

They return to camp to find Maia's support crew dead and, after being attacked by a bizarre amphibious humanoid, they decide to track the creature to its natural habitat to try to unearth the greatest archaeology discover of all time.

Creature From The Black Lagoon is a typical 1950's horror. Overly dramatic music is matched by equally dramatic screams as a hand or a partially hidden face is revealed to the audience with the protagonists unaware they are being stalked.

By modern standards it is very dated with regards to the script and an alleged remake (which may or may not have been abandoned) would probably be very welcome to modernise what is otherwise a very interesting plot.

Truth be told though, Creature From The Black Lagoon is a stand out film in the very saturated market of 1950's horror. Where other producers were making films such as 'The Thing' and 'The Blob', Gillman is a very characterised villain who even verges on having a personality as he tries to steal Adams from her on-screen boyfriend.

Even from a technical point of view, the film excels. With primitive equipment it was always going to be a challenge to create a film that revolves entirely around a body of water but to film in the water at a reasonable depth was practically unheard of. Happily, a method was sought and the creature's underwater habitat was available to watch on the big screen.

While it isn't so much of a horror nowadays, it is still a film of technical genius with an interesting storyline to boot.

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