Friday, 3 June 2011

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

 Written by Happywax   June 2011
Rating 7.5 out of 10

Director  -  Jack Arnold

Richard Carlson - Dr David Reed
Julie Adams - Kay Lawrence
Richard Denning - Dr Mark Williams
Ben Chapman - The Gillman (on land)
Ricou Browning - The Gillman (in water)
"Stop In the Name Of Love !"

Hey all you Gillman lovin horror freaks, Happys got yet another classic for you,just the name alone, "Creature From the Black Lagoon" conjures up all sorts of mental images of creepy, slimy monsters from murky underwater depths. And this 1954 Universal Film certainly delivers on that score, the legendary creature earning his place among the pantheon of Universal's all star lineup - Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman and The Mummy. The story however doesn't hold up as well as it's earlier classic counterparts, partly for it's lack of an enduring name star (Karloff, Lugosi, Chaney), and partly for it's more modern look, having been released in 1954.

The film sets up the dramatic tension soon enough, within minutes we are treated to a quick glimpse of a fan shaped, webbed claw that eerily emanates from a swampy pool. In discussing the skeletal remains of an unknown creature discovered on a prior expedition, lead scientist David Reed (Richard Carlson) makes a prophetic statement about spaceships someday traveling to other planets. With financing provided by Mark Williams (Richard Denning), the scientific group heads off to the upper Amazon Valley to try to unravel the mystery. Among the group is Reed's fiancé Kay Lawrence (Julia Adams), providing the obligatory love interest for both Reed and the Creature. In fact, the Creature's obsession with Kay is craftily handled from the outset, it's first encounter resulting in a synchronized swim in the river and a playful tease of Kay's feet before she ever sets eyes on the monster.   
"Hey ! Who Took All The Pool Noodles !?"
"Women from the Heavens !!Yeah !!"
The underwater photography is awsome, particularly since so much time is spent there. What does get somewhat annoying though is the persistent bickering between Reed and Williams on the goal of the expedition. Taking the scientific approach, Reed wants to catalog virtually everything to do with the Creature and it's habitat, while Williams wants nothing less than to capture the monster to make his mark in the scientific world. All bets are off though when the Gill-Man kidnaps Kay from the boat and brings her to his underwater grotto. In pursuit, Reed emerges into the grotto and is approached by a giant flying bat - did anyone else get the impression that it was about to turn into Count Dracula?

In somewhat of a standoff, Reed insures that the Creature is not harmed by the overzealous armed crew, as it makes it's way back into the safety of the lagoon. It appears to descend lifelessly into the murky depths, but even back in the 1950's the final fade seemed to scream sequel. And so it was, in two Creature follow ups, 1955's "Revenge of the Creature" and the 1956 film "The Creature Walks Among Us", neither of which brought back any of the principals from the first film. In 2013 there supposed to be releasing a remake of the movie, which I'm stoked about, I just hope they can capture the awsomeness that this movie had without using to CGI, I guess we'll have to wait and see..........
"I Love You THIS Much !"
      Ben Chapmman  passed away on Feb 21 2008, but the year before your old pals Axe Master and Hapywax had a chance to meet him at the Fan Expo in Toronto, and I'll tell ya other than Rody Piper he was friendliest actor there that year, he actually took the time to speak to you not just rush you through, like so many others do ( LINDA BLAIR  what a bitch she was), anyways as always i've done my homework and managed to find an interveiw with Ben Chapman at one of the many Horror conventions he attended                                                                                                                    

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