Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

Its no secret that in the 50's these monster movies main audience was teenage boys but Creature From The Black Lagoon was its own entity. Young boys became obsessed with this tale of a half man half fish who terrorize a group of scientists and the pretty young brunette that joins them.

Parents were baffled by their teenage son's fixation on the creature. Was it the beautiful bikini-clad Julie Adams? Was it the creature himself? Or was it the concoction of the two? Horny adolescents of the 50's felt a connection with the creature who's curiosity for the female gender leads to misinterpretation from others and a frustration that turns violent from the creature.
Watching it today it is understandable why. The scenes of Julie Adams swimming in her white pin-up style bathing suite almost gives off the visual that she is nude do to the carefully planned camera angles. The creature swims beneath her horizontally in a sort of voyeuristic way and at the same time symbolizes sexual contact, with the Lagoon becoming a sort of bed for the swimming couple.

Then of course we have some social commentary on mankind. With scenes of littering cigarette butts into one of the few places that man hasn't yet corrupted through greed and carelessness. Every nature gone wrong flick seems to exploit this factor. After all the animals need a reason for revenge don't they? This time around the scientist poison the waters with the hopes of poisoning the creature but instead they kill everything else around them. (Sounds typical of the human race doesn't it?) All the fish and the wild life in the lagoon are poisoned and killed and left floating limp in the water. Now its time for the creature to have his revenge and of course grab the girl.

Being lucky enough to catch this thing in the theater twice with nifty 3-D spectacles, I can't help but hold Creature From The Black Lagoon a bit closer to my heart then the average 50's monster movie. The 3-D works surprisingly well with this film. Especially scenes in which fish are on the screen. The fish seem to be floating right past your head at times but oddly enough the action scenes don't work quite as well.

Jack Arnold would go on to do the inferior sequel Revenge Of The Creature and eventually another nature gone wrong epic Tarantula. The creature trilogy is wrapped up with one final gill-man flick called Creature Walks Among Us which portrays the creature as a ground walking victim of science taken from his natural habitat. While the later two films should be seen for at least no other then nostalgia reasons the first is a must. Its a true classic!

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