About a year or so ago I decided I wanted to sit down and make my way through all of the various classic Universal monster pics. I watched Frankenstein and The Invisible Man, and then stopped. Not sure why I didn’t keep going, I enjoyed both of those movies. I probably got distracted by the Starbucks’ Christmas menu or something shiny but either way my journey ended prematurely. Until today!
Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of those movies where I’ve never actually watched it, but it’s so iconic I feel like I actually have. Sort of like The Godfather....oh yeah I’ve never seen The Godfather. *cough* Anyway, as fun as it is to go into movies with a clean slate, it was basically impossible here. You know what, still good though.
So we have a bunch of scientists who find this awesome fish/man foot in a rock and start searching around doing science stuff only to discover this merman dude hanging out in the water, occasionally surfacing to murder people and have really loud theme music. He’s a shining example of the creature who is just lonely and misunderstood, but I feel we could understand him better if he would hold off on the casual murdering. Also his eyes are freaky, but that’s not his fault.
The first half of the movie I shall admit isn’t the best. It doesn’t help that we all already know what the creature actually looks like so there’s no suspense before the initial reveal. The other issue is that there are a whole lot of scenes where people are just swimming around under the water not really doing much. The creature is watching them but he doesn’t do anything either which makes it kind of funny that they still play the “Oh shit he’s coming!” music every time they cut to him just treading water and staring like a dope.
Thankfully the humans find out about the creature surprisingly early in the movie and then it’s all about the debate of capturing it/killing it/leaving it alone. This does lead to some more swimming but at least they’re chasing the creature and shooting at it so there’s something happening for this go around. The scares don’t work as well now as I’m sure they would have back then, but it’s never boring and there are some well-done suspense sequences.
I have to say, as uninteresting as they often are, the underwater scenes are impressive mostly due to the creature itself. Sure the suit looks a little silly in some shots, especially the head, but when the actor in there is swimming around underwater, it’s remarkably convincing. It doesn’t look slow or clunky, guy is graceful as fuck. It helps sell the creature as a legitimate threat and helps put this movie in the upper tier of 50’s monster movies since clearly a lot of effort went into it.
I guess I don’t really have much more to say about this one. Running a pretty brief 80 minutes (I forgot that end credits were essentially non-existent then) the movie does drag in spots but picks up in the latter half. Also how the fuck did those two guys reach that underwater cave without getting wet? They clearly know something we don’t. Although I would probably put Creature from the Black Lagoon below Frankenstein and The Invisible Man, it’s an entertaining jaunt and has definitely let me intrigued enough to watch the sequels.
Oh but good lord do they ever overuse his “DA DA DAAAAAAAAA” music. Every single time he shows up, no matter what context, DA DA DAAAAAAAAAAA. We know he’s here music, we see him. Relax. Anyway, time to eat a hot dog.