Classic Review: Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

For many years I have been a fan of the Universal Horror movies.  I liked their style and the way Universal movies focused mostly on movie monsters.  Sure there are many gems that are outside of the the Universal Monsters, but most people know Universal horror for their monsters.  There are the big ones, like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy and the Wolfman.  Not much is ever said about the Creature from the Black Lagoon.  It was the final Universal Monster to appear, but it could be one of the stronger films of all of Universal Horror Monsters.  I will get it out of the way by saying, it is not the best, no, not by a long shot.  But I will say I think Creature from the Black Lagoon is under-rated.  As under-rated as a horror classic can be.

Creature from the Black Lagoon is really the final Universal Horror movie of the big ones.  Released in 1954, some 23 years after Dracula and Frankenstein started it all.  Creature really has a deeper horror element to me, it is very much about the unknown and I loved that element of the movie.  From the beginning of the film, we see a fossil of an old Gill-man’s hand.  This immediately brings an element of fear.

The movie begins with the a geology expedition in the Amazon uncovers fossilized evidence from the Devonian period of a link between land and sea animals.  The uncover a skeletal hand with webbed fingers.  A bunch of doctors take a team to the Amazon and they find the Gill-man.  She stalks the crew a little before finally attacking.  There is a scene where one of the doctors is swimming and the Gill-man.  As she swims near the top of the water, he swims below.  It is the perfect scene and it was ahead of its town.

The progression of the story is very good and the characters are actually likable, like every Universal Horror movie.  But I am was memorized by the Gill-man.  The actor in the suit, while in the water was amazing.  There are scenes where Gill-man fit perfectly into the environment, did not look bizarre.  I just can’t get over the scene when he was swimming along with Julie Adams, the scene really adds up well, she has no idea he is down there, stalking.  Reminds me of Michael Myers stalking babysitters.  But when she stops and Gill-man tries to touch her leg.  That was great acting.  Terrific moment in the movie.  This is pre-Jaws and if this didn’t keep you from swimming in lakes back them or make you worry what is below the surface, your crazy.  Think about it, you really don’t know what lurks in the deep.

The underwater scenes are a sight to behold.  Great work and yes, Creature is way ahead of its time.  In the costume work alone, the actor could swim and move every well for a costume with great detail.  I do believe there were multiple actors and suits to do what they needed, land and sea.  Either way, the look is fantastic.  The Gill-man is looks very prehistoric and is scary.

The last time I saw Creature, was back in the early 1990s.  It was apart of some kind of 3D Saturday night on a local station, which later played the Three Stooges in 3D.  My mom drove allover town to get me the 3D glasses to see the movie, it was wonderful.

I suggest The Creature from the Black Lagoon, 100%, I love it.  There are two sequels, Revenge of the Creature (1955) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).

IMDB.com has a rating of 7.0

I give Creature from the Black Lagoon a 8.8

There are many version to buy to add to your collection, here is the only one you need.  The sequels are harder to come by and if you wanna spend some cash, there is a collection that is out of print.

About Ray Marek III 401 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)