Halloween Every Day (for a Month)
By Andrew Neil Cole
Day 6: Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).
Watching Creature from the Black Lagoon is like having a beer with a friend I haven’t seen in years. I’ve always been a sucker for the Universal Monsters, and I’ve always been a sucker for aquatic horror tales; therefore, Creature represents a lovely confluence of nostalgia and personal preference. Believe me, I’ve heard all of the criticism before, and, believe me, much of that criticism is deserved. The score is often screechy and obtrusive; Richard Carlson spends way too much time shirtless; Julie Adams’s character exists primarily to look sexy and scream at the slightest hint of danger; the Amazon River looks suspiciously like Florida; and the Gill-Man is obviously just a guy in a suit … But, come on … it’s one heck of a suit. Sure, in the grand pecking order of the Universal Monsters, this movie doesn’t compare to sheer the brilliance of James Whale’s Frankenstein films, nor does it hold a candle to the visual splendor of The Wolf Man, but such comparisons really aren’t fair. After all, Frankenstein isn’t nearly as much fun as Creature. And let’s not forget that the underwater sequences are actually pretty fantastic, particularly the extended scene in which Julie Adams glides effortlessly through the water, totally unaware that she is being pursued, while the creature keeps pace below her, safely out of sight in the murky depths of the Amazon.
Creature from the Black Lagoon isn’t a perfect movie, but, if you find yourself in the right frame of mind, it can be an integral part of a perfect movie night at home. (Note: I saw this film in 3D on Blu-ray. Honestly, I think it works better in good old-fashioned 2D. Something about the 3D made many of the scenes blurry to the point of inducing nausea.)