"The boys around here call it "The Black Lagoon"; a paradise. Only they say nobody has ever come back to prove it..."
There's a thirteen-year gap between The Wolf Man and this movie, but that's not all that separates it from the other movies so far. By the early fifties, Universal had milked it's existing horror franchises dry. Frankenstein suffered the most, the monster wheeled out time and again until it become a literal parody parody of itself. The eerie moods of the early movies and strange melancholy of the creatures had been replaced by "meetings" with Abbott and Costello. "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" is part of a different era, released in the company of movies like "Them!" and "Forbidden Planet".
The plot, such as it is, is pretty straightforward. A group of scientist head up the Amazon river in search of a new species, find it and things go bad from there. The movie's most notable for the Creature design and it's underwater photography. The Creature's a gilled fish-man more at home in the water than land, which really comes across in the underwater sequences where the lumbering awkward monster becomes much more agile and dangerous. The scene where it swims face-up directly underneath the movie's female Hot Scientist is genuinely tense (although still kind of gratuitous). There were two suits, one for in the water and one for out of it. While the creature is very obviously a guy in a suit, it's working gills and eyelid-less stare make it iconic.
"Creature" was originally produced in 3D, one of the first generation of movies to use it. Thankfully there aren't many shots that bring attention to themselves as being designed for 3D, though a shot of the Creature throwing one victim at the camera had to be scrapped because the suspension wires kept breaking. It also left the fate of the Creature unresoved in order to set up a potential sequel. Actually, lets have a quick rundown of the notable points of this movie... 3D, underwater scenes, girls in swimsuits and an open ending/sequel setup. Sounds like the other movie I watched this week! Plus ca change...
The movie was responsible for a "resurrection" of the previous movies in this series. Because of its success with audiences, Universal began to re-release their older horror movies back into theatres as double-bills. This brough back all the true originals back for a new generation of moviegoers, cementing the classic status they still deservedly enjoy today.