THE LATE LATE REVIEW: CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON

Following Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy, it’s time for another classic monster movie that Tom’s never seen before.

Release Date: March 1954

Awards: I think this is the longest we’ve gone without an award… Four weeks, and zilch.

Rating: 85% on the Tomatometer, 7/10 on IMDb.

This classic monster movie follows a familiar pattern: Discovery of curious artefact during scientific study incurs the wrath of murderous individual – in this case, a creepy swamp dweller (no, not Shrek).

Ok, so in this instance, it’s a skeletal hand rather than a scroll or something, but the end result is the same. Our highly disturbing Gill-man is enraged by the removal of what is presumably the remains of a relative. So much so, that he starts to kill anyone he can get his hands on.

We’re right back to a PG rating on this one, although it’s way creepier than The Mummy. More jump scares and plenty of moments where you feel like shouting at the TV. Literally any time anyone is swimming is a stressful experience, and it’s literally a solid third of the movie.

What a difference 22 years makes! We’re in an entirely new world of cinema. Filming on location? Check! Less of the Telenovela acting? You know it! UNDERWATER CAMERAS?! Guys, I’m not joking. This movie is a technological marvel up to the others, and I’d say even stands up to many modern movies. I mean, it’s fair to say that the face of the monster could be improved slightly to make it more believable, but that’s about the only thing.

That said, the monster is amazing. Considering we’re talking about a time where all of the effects are physical ones, it’s so impressive to watch the monster swimming around when you know that someone actually had to do that! The “someone” in question was Ricou Browning, who co-created the movie Flipper and is well known as being a director of underwater scenes. He only played the monster in the underwater scenes, but was required to hold his breath for up to 4 minutes at a time. FOUR MINUTES! The logic was that as the monster breathed through gills, it would look weird for bubbles to come from the monster. You can tell that Browning is at home in the water from the way he moves in the scenes.

Someone else (Ben Chapman) played the monster on land, and apparently the costume was so hot that he spent most of his time on set when he wasn’t acting in an on set lake getting hosed down to keep him cool.

It seems odd to me that Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy have been done in 1000 different forms in cinema in the years between their original showing and now, but the Creature from the Black Lagoon has been mostly left to his own devices when the concept is so sinister. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic thing when the original movie is so good.

If you only watch one of the movies I’ve reviewed this month, make it this one. It’s sinister and jumpy but also beautifully done. I’d definitely recommend it!

Is there an iconic film or album you think I should have experienced by now? Let me know @MoveToTRASHUK #latelatereview

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