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A solid, atmospheric creature feature that entertains without attempting to be deeper than it needs.
All Critics (32)
| Top Critics (4)
| Fresh (27)
| Rotten (5)
| DVD (5)
It makes for solid horror-thrill entertainment.
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.
This adventure has no depth.
The routine story is mightily improved by Arnold's sure sense of atmospheric locations and by the often sympathetic portrait of the monster.
The whole thing is ultimately just a '50s B-movie, but it's hard to imagine what they could have done to make it a better one.
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.
When I was a kid, this was the movie monster I wanted to be.
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.
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.
The creature's makeup and design are stunning and look very realistic for the time the movie came out, while the underwater scenes are really awesome and creepy, making for a classic monster movie that aged well enough and can still be fun for modern audiences.
great atmosphere and underwater scenes! a monster movie classic
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.
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.
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