Saturday, August 13, 2016

An Aquatic Beauty and The Beast, or Thoughts on The Creature From The Black Lagoon

The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) is a uniquely American Universal Monster, in the sense that he wasn’t based on a European legend or a novel, and the entire series took place in South America.  It’s also technically a science fiction movie, as the gill-man is a missing evolutionary link, a bipedal Loch Ness Monster hiding out deep in the Amazon.  And as a bonus, the viewer gets their first creature appearance 3 minutes into the movie as his webbed and clawed hand reaches out from under the surface; they weren’t fooling around in the ‘50s and wanted you to get your money’s worth.
Still one of the most beautiful full-body monster suits ever committed to screen, the Gill Man was portrayed by 6’5” Ben Chapman played on land, along with stuntman Ricou Browning underwater.  The underwater scenes with Julia Adams as Kay Lawrence swimming along innocently in her demure white ‘50’s one-piece as the Gill Man swims below her and reaches for her feet conjures up an immediate and almost visceral horror.  We all know that feeling of seaweed or a fish brushing against a leg, and now you have to worry about a half-man, half-fish falling in love with you and dragging you down to his underwater grotto like a reverse Little Mermaid (1989)
The movie inspired two sequels, Revenge of the Creature (1955) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956) and yet to date remains surprisingly free from the curse of the movie remake.  Though it can be argued that Anaconda (1997) was a lateral remake, being a movie about a group of scientists travelling up the Amazon to investigate giant snakes, and there was an affectionate reference to an updated gill man in The Cabin in The Woods (2012).



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4 volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hr diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback from these fine (amazon) bookstores.