Sunday, March 22, 2015

Creature Feature

Last of the box set and last of his kind, it's The Creature from the Black Lagoon from 1954, directed by Jack Arnold.

The final archetype of the canonical Universal monsters and a real shift from Gothic to the science fiction horror films of the 1950s. In fact it's all science even starting with a lecture on evolution before the clean cut science team pack their bags, charter a knackered old boat and head for the Amazon and the Black Lagoon itself. The Creature himself is rather fantastic and maintains a real sense of rubbery menace in his lovely gill suit, and Richard Carlson is pretty good and the lead scientist and clean cut hero.

It's impossible to discuss this film without mentioning two things, firstly the iconic white one-piece swimsuit worn by Julie Adams as she takes a risky dip in the lagoon. A sequence that provided inspiration for many a science fiction and horror writer. And then there is the work of the underwater stunt man Ricou Browning swimming in the creature suit. The marvellous watery ballet that takes place as the Creature swims back and forth beneath the unsuspecting Adams is just a triumph for everyone involved in it. It's the stand out moment in a pretty good sci-fi horror move.

Somehow I'd never seen this film before and I'm glad I finally got the chance to. It's a good solid 4 out 5 webbed fingered thumbs up, and right up there with Bride of Frankenstein as the pick of this box set. That's it for the Universal monsters, but I can't leave it there. It's time to open a can of Kensington gore and see what the Brits can do as I switch to Hammer studios and see how well they update the horror archetypes.

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