The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Overview: Explorers go to a place called the Black Lagoon and meet a creature.
The ‘50s: It is very refreshing to watch a Universal Monster movie not set in London, a castle, or a small village of terrified locals. The Creature from the Black Lagoon takes place mostly outside, save for some boat interiors and a lab at the start, and it is a breath of fresh air to see plants and water rather than crumbling stones and the inside of stately manors.
It is also interesting to see heroes who are a bit handy rather than, with a lot of the previous movies, the heroes being buttoned up scientists or bumbling police inspectors. Richard Carlson in the lead role is a shirtless action hero, who also has compassion for the creature and the love of a good woman, Julie Adams, who seems to be perfectly capable but is treated as though she is made out of glass by everyone around her. There is also a hint of sexiness in the movie too with the pair sharing a clinch on deck and both always walking about in shorts and swimming costume. Adams’ bare legs and Carlson’s torso is probably more skin on show than in any of the previous Universal Monster movies combined.
The Creature: The creature differs from previous monsters in that there is no human element to him. Frankenstein sought humanity, the Wolf Man was a cursed man, and even Dracula had human wants and needs. The Creature, though, is simply a creature who kills trespassers and seems to have a King Kong style crush on Adams.
The costume, created by Millicent Patrick who had her credit stolen for her, is incredibly human and inhuman at the same time. The Creature walks like and is shaped like a person, but there is no humanity in its eyes or face. It is an animal out to stalk its prey on land or underwater.
Underwater: The underwater scenes are amazing with two stand outs: The swimming scene with the creature swimming below her upside down, gradually rising closer and closer to her, and the death of a character underwater that is frenetic and terrifying.
The black and white creates vast swaths of shadows under the water and lots of places for the Creature to hide out.
Overview: A great monster movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon is both creepy and fun with a great monster. It is less staid than previous movies, and there is lot more fun to be had out in the field rather than being cooped up in a lab or a castle.
Featured Image: Universal Pictures