Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
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Universal Pictures introduced audiences to yet another classic movie monster with this superbly crafted film, originally presented in 3-D. The story involves the members of a fossil-hunting expedition down a dark tributary of the mist-shrouded Amazon, where they enter the domain of a prehistoric, amphibious "Gill Man" -- possibly the last of a species of fanged, clawed humanoids who may have evolved entirely underwater. Tranquilized, captured, and brought aboard, the creature still manages to revive and escape -- slaughtering several members of the team -- and abducts their sole female member (Julie Adams), spiriting her off to his mist-shrouded lair. This sparks the surviving crewmen to action -- particularly those who fancy carrying the girl off themselves. Director Jack Arnold makes excellent use of the tropical location, employing heavy mists and eerie jungle noises to create an atmosphere of nearly constant menace. The film's most effective element is certainly the monster itself, with his pulsating gills and fearsome webbed talons. The creature was played on land by stuntman Ben Chapman and underwater by champion swimmer Ricou Browning -- who was forced to hold his breath during long takes because the suit did not allow room for scuba gear. The end result was certainly worth the effort, proven in the famous scene where the Gill Man swims effortlessly beneath his female quarry in an eerie ballet -- a scene echoed much later by Steven Spielberg in the opening of Jaws. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Creature from the Black Lagoon
Jack Arnold has a flair for this sort of thing, and if there really is anything frightening about a man dressed up in a rubber suit with zippers where the gills ought to be, Arnold comes close to finding it.
The routine story is mightily improved by Arnold's sure sense of atmospheric locations and by the often sympathetic portrait of the monster.
Okay, it's just a guy in a rubber suit. Even people in the 1950's weren't afraid of this so-called monster. But, there's some camp value to this on-the-water and under-the-water adventure.
What distinguished Jack Arnold's pictures from mutant spinoffs/knockoffs is even more imperative to sci-fi today than it was in 1954: wonderment.
The beats of the film are like overused sandpaper, too worn down and tattered to have more than a passing effect.
Like Silly Putty, Super 8 is silly fun. It stretches, snaps, and bounces. It's as elastic as pubescent imagination.
Imbued with great atmosphere by director Jack Arnold, the film is genuinely frightening, but also elicits a certain amount of pathos for the creature.
The underwater sequences were excellently shot by Havens, and the make-up for the half man, half fish was a masterful creation by Bud Westmore and Jack Keven.
As directed by Jack Arnold, the film suffers from silly stretches of dialogue and wooden acting, but the underwater footage is still beautiful, and Adams radiates a strong, sexy screen presence.
Creepy underwater horror flick. Ahead of its time.
Incluindo um curioso subtexto ecológico, o filme envelheceu bem: pode até não assustar como na época de seu lançamento, mas continua interessante.
Great monster suit. Not much of a movie
One of the best of the 1950's creature features. (By a long shot.)
Tremendous chilling fun, whether in 3-D or no. And Julia Adams is still hot in that swimsuit.
Audience Reviews for Creature from the Black Lagoon
The story and characters are rather simplistic but the true reason to see this film is for the legendary "Gill Man". The underwater scenes are beautifully shot, containing a surreal sequence were Gill Man swims beneath an unsuspecting female diver. That scene would later inspire the opening sequence for Steven Spielberg's "Jaws". The music was also awesome, filled to the brim with dramatic orchestral cues. A must see for any fans of the monster movie genre.More
There's a reason why this is one of the most legendary monster films in existence. It doesn't really have that good of a story, or acting, but the underwater photography is very good for the time. But what really sets this film apart is the creature itself. Now, the design hasn't exactly aged well (the suit is obviously made of rubber), but there's something that has aged far more gracefully than the rest of the film: the creature performance. The inherent problem with B-Monster-Movies of the 50s is that the people playing monsters in a suit moved like people just flailing like they had a bulky suit on. The Creature from the Black Lagoon MOVES like a Creature From the Black Lagoon. When Gillman (his official Universal Studios name) swims underwater, he doesn't move like someone awkwardly maneuvering in a rubber suit, he moves like an aquatic creature. The Gillman on land's movements are a bit questionable, but the creature's physical performance is convincing enough that it becomes strangely immersive as an experience. Add in some real suspense at points and you have one pretty dang good monster movie. Check it out.More
This classic monster film inspired an entire new generation of horror monster. The Creature from the Black Lagoon is a classic of horror. The film is a benchmark in the horror genre in terms of special effects, story and of course for creating a new breed of horror ghouls. As many critics, and fans before have said, without this film we wouldn't have other horror greats such as Alien and Predator. The Creature from the Black Lagoon is the starting point. Any horror fan owes it to themselves to check this one out because of its significant impact on the genre. Not only is Creature from the Black Lagoon an important film that every horror fan should see, but it is a film that is brilliantly acted and plot. The films plot is pretty simple, but sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones that work best, and in the case of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, that is very much the case. The creature effects are fantastic for the time period, and add to that stellar cinematography and you have a film that is memorable and is a must for horror buffs. The films musical score is chilling as you see the Gill-Man attacking the members of the expedition that are looking for fossils in the Gill-Man's habitat. The film has an incredible cast of actors, and they really make this film soar, the film entertaining and like so many other monster films, Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of those films that has had a monumental impact on the genre, and is a film that is far more spectacular than most CGI monster extravaganza films of today. This film is a classic and remains of the greatest monster films in the horror genre ever put on film.More
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