We Watched the Creature!
This past weekend's Creepy Classics "Movie of the Week" was CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, as suggested by Paisley Adams of Ligonier, PA. Every weekend we have a featured movie that we invite everyone to watch. Our viewing time is 7:30PM EST on Saturday nights!
After watching the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954), it was a decidedly great time again to visit the Black Lagoon. Viewing at the Adams household - Bob Pellegrino, Ursula Adams, Paisley Adams and myself. It was cold and snowy in the northeast. We received between 8-12 inches of snow over our weekend here....so that trip to the hot, steamy Amazon on Saturday night was welcome. The acting, the pacing, the story....everything is so good in this film. We did make a few funny notes. What happens to "heavy" Richard Denning's body? Does Whit Bissell ever recover from his attack. We last see him still bandged up (mouth and all) and stowed away downstairs. Julie Adams tosses a cigarette casually in the lagoon water....kinda says it all! HA! And, by the way, Captain Lucas rocks! Paisley had a group of creatures watching with her. She brought from her room a Sideshow 8" gill-man action figure, and two stuffed Creature dolls. It truly is a great and fun film. Julie will be returning to Monster Bash this year. It will be great to chat with her again. -Ron A. (P.S. - Hooray Ben Chapman and Ricou Browning!)
I noticed that the music at the very beginning is the same music heard at
the beginning of This Island Earth, another Universal film. I know they
had a large library of musical themes that could be cut and pasted as it
were to fit whatever movie was being made.
It's interesting to me that it has the same music as a sci-fi film because
I see the Creature as a missing link film (pun intended of course!) It was
made as Universal was leaving it's monster series behind and moving more
into science fiction and I noticed elements of both genres. While there
is no overt science fiction plot line - radiation, creatures from another
world etc. the Creature himself looks quite alien. I also noticed that
Julie Adams' character is given an identity beyond the helpless,
attractive woman to be ravaged or simply scared by the monster. In
keeping with many of the sci-fi films that followed, the good looking love
interest is also a scientist. Although in this film she did spend a lot of
time just sort of hanging around waiting to be attacked, looking
fantastic. Hanging on from the horror era, I noticed some shots that
looked a lot like old Universals, were the monster is stalking the next
victim, the people out searching for him while he hides and waits etc.
I never thought much of the film in the past, and looking at it as a
transition film makes more sense. I never really had an emotional
connection to the Creature the way I did to Frankenstein's monster or the
Wolfman. The prologue crash course on evolution hints at some bigger
issues, but it never really explores them. Later science fiction films
all had at least a fleeting suggestion of some bigger questions or meaty
issues. The great ones like The Day The Earth Stood Still explored these
questions to a much fuller extent. I thought Richard Carlson's character
was going in that direction with his desire to let the creature go, maybe
about to launch into a speech about leaving somethings undiscovered, but
it never went there.
That said, it's a fun film to watch again. The Creature looks cool
swimming about, Julie Adams looks beautiful whatever she's doing and the
characters of Dave and Mark bickering over who gets the girl are
Good choice Paisley! I hear we have another Richard Carlson film coming
up next time! (EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS this next weekend)
It was great watching with you all wherever you were - Kevin Slick, Colorado
Hey Bash Synch Masters,
Here is my commentary, typed live during my viewing of the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
One of my favorite aspects of this movie is the great score. I love the Bwa Bwa Bwaaaaa creature theme.
We don´t have to wait long for the monster in this flick, that hand out of the water gets the thrills started right away.
The underwater photography is amazing. I think it is something we take for granted, it is so popular now, but in them days I imagine it was rare. Did they use a little diving bell or a special camera. Or are they shooting through glass at a studio pool? I guess we´ll have to get the Creature book from Creepy Classics to find out!
My favorite actor in this film...Whit Bissell! Great in so many sci fi films. Richard Carlson, from one of my favorite movies VALLEY OF GWANGI.
Great suspense as we see the Creature getting close to the tent. Great scene, just seeing the hands and the fearful natives.
Suspense builds as we explore the Lagoon´s bottom, then that brief first glimpse of the Gill man. Cool!
Great line - Someone should tell him his ambition is showing.
The great romantic underwater ballet. The creature is like a shy little boy or puppy dog. How can you can you not love and feel sorry for him. Amazing swimming by Ricou. I remember as a kid trying to swim the backstroke underwater, it isn´t easy! Water gets in your ears big time. I am sure there are many nerd boys like me who can relate to the creature here, gazing at beauty with the knowledge it is unattainable.
Ouch! He ripped out a fingernail! Does it grow back or will we see the clawless finger in the movie. Details, details!
Sympathy generated for the gill man, he just swims away while the evil Mark goes a hunting. Who is the real monster in this movie?
Creepy shots of the Creature in captivity, just staring....
Great escape scene...poor Whit!!!
The trap is set, He will get the girl eventually!!!
Great underwater confrontation. The cinematography is amazing. The real monster meets his maker...
The Creature Captures Kay - great shots of a great makeup job. One of the best creatrues ever! Long live the Gill man!
Obligatory 3D bat scene - corny!
Poor gill man, we´ll see you again though, for your revenge.
Abrupt ending, sure beats the multiple endings of modern movies.
Great movie, works on multiple viewings, and the greatest man in a suit creature. Great human drama, and a sympathetic monster.
In this viewing of this classic, which was probably my tenth, I got a sense more than ever of the Creature as the innocent and Mark as the true monster of this movie. I think this would stick out even more if the opening attack on the natives in the tent is cut out. That scene doesn't really fit in with what we see of the rest of the creature. When we first see him after that scene, he keeps his distance from humans, shyly and innocently flirting with Kay. When they hunt for him, it is Mark who is vicious and cruel, even evil as he swims after the Gillman, spear gun a blazing. The creature looks to hide from them. Only David shows compassion for the beast. Richard Carlson's role was interesting here, in a way I had not noticed before, kind of like the scientist in THE THING who even sacrifices himself to communicate with the alien. He is constantly getting on Marks case as he cruelly attempts to kill the creature. In the end, it was interesting how he stopped his friends from shooting the beast, he feels compassion, perhaps hope, that he will survive this vicious attack.
Those are my thoughts on THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. I look forward to seeing your thoughts and enjoying more Monster Bash movies together.
Ken & Kevin, coincidentally that main Creature theme was used in DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (1972)...last week's movie. That particular section as composed specifically for the CREATURE. -Ron
I still love the costume... didn't realize that the first movie was much more Ricou Browning than Ben Chapman... saw them both at the very first Cherry Hill Monstermania ....Ben seemed just as sincere and fan-friendly as everyone who has written over the years said he was. Don't remember much of Ricou except that he sold copies of his acting contact for CFTBL, I think he was paid in the hundreds of dollars if I remember right.
Thanks for your suggestion to watch "The Creature..." tonight. It still holds up so well, in a large part due to Jack Arnold's exciting direction. I feel lucky I got to see it in full 3-D on a double bill with "It Came from Outer Space" at a revival house circa 1980. Viewing again I see so many parallels to "King Kong" as David Schow mentions, especially when "Revenge of..." carries through more of those. Unlike Kong, while the Devonian Age is mention 3-4 times, you don't get beat over the head with Carl Denham's "Its beauty and the beast!" repeated about as many times as Bill Withers say "I know, I know.." in "Ain't No Sunshine...", lol. Both the Creature and Kong have a compelling humanity, Kong with his expressive eyes and the Creature with his full lips, (much like Ben Chapman's) and body language. And there's a bat in the Gothic cave to remind you, "Its a Universal Picture!"
Michael, I don;t know why I never made the CREATURE/KONG connection of the plot elements. What an obvious analogy that went over my head all tyhese years. BTW, now I've got "Ain't No Sunshine" stuck in my head...-Ron
I just wanted you to know that since I did not have a copy of the movie THE
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON to watch this weekend, I did the
next best thing. I finished up reading the book, Features from the Black
Lagoon which I got from Creepy Classics a couple of weeks ago.
I recommend to anyone and everyone to get this book because in my
opinion it is the definitive book on the movie and its' two sequels. As
Ed MacMahon would have said to Johnny Carson a few years ago in
one of their routines,"Everything you need to know about the movie
TCFTBL in contained in that book." Though Johnny Carson would
probably follow up with some funny line like "You are wrong Gill Man
The author, D. DeAngelo, did an excellent job and I even e-mailed him
to tell him I thought what an outstanding he did. He returned my e-mail
thanking me for my kind words. He also mentioned that he is going (or
maybe he has already started) doing a book on THE WOLFMAN.
Love your website,
Larry B., Oklahoma City
The eptiome of 50's sci-fi and horror films, this movie never fails to entertain. A group of scientists led by Richard Carlson journey to the Amazon and find a living prehistoric beast that lives in the water and can survive for a while on land. Julie Adams in her one piece bathingsuit is a sight to behold. She was one of my first loves in movies.
If you want to be totally entertained and journey back to a world where movies meant something and tell a good story, this is the one to watch.
Great choice for a Weekend Group Viewing (thanks, Paisley). It had been a while since I had viewed this, arguable the last of the great Universal Studios monsters, and like so many of their past creations (Frankenstein’s Monster, The Wolfman, Dracula) the creature’s look has stood the test of time. 100% believable whether in the water or on land! No cheesy zipper showing running up the back, and no obvious aqualung blasts of air bubbles. Truly a work of technical art!
As for the movie, I think it suffered just slightly from the era it was made. For example, when the fossil of a long dead gill man was found at the beginning, just moments later we had to see the current creatures hand appear on the river bank, and then promptly vanish. Why? I believe it was to sate the era’s need for a quick chill\thrill and nothing more. I mean would Frankenstein’s Monster have poked his head out of a grave and then back down for no apparent reason in 1931?? The spook show generation expected their frights to be hard and fast and so that is something that always took me out of the mood set by the mysterious discovery of the fossil.
Then there’s the music. Sure, it is regarded as a classic now, but gosh, did they have to cue in the blaring three note horn riff every time something of the creatures appeared on screen )his hand, his foot, etc)?? Personally, it got annoying.
Aside from those minor (and I do mean that though I took the time to document them) issues the film is terrific. I recall as a young film maker trying to figure out how I could do my own version of the film! A neighbor was a diver thus he had the aqualung equipment; and I figured I could design a costume out of cloth and plastic to cover the gear, etc. Thankfully parental intervention (and not having an underwater camera… but a seal-tight baggie would have solved that, right? Lol) prevented me from drowning! Besides there can be only one Creature from the Black Lagoon!!
Which is why I hope the rumored remake gets 86’d. Unless they keep the creature as is and just film it in color with some slight updates to the story, it will fail. I know they will not do what I have suggested and won’t be able to resist ‘updating’ the creatures look and probably even CGI or motion capture him. So please, Universal, hang on tight to your copyright and let this one be!!