Creature from the Black Lagoon
(1954, Dir. by Jack Arnold.)
Why It's Here:
Though Universal likes to lump it in with movies that are 15-25 years older, Creature from the Black Lagoon is not really the same kind of film as Dracula, Frankenstein, or The Invisible Man. What it is, however, is a prime example of the monster horror that filled the 1950s. Pretty much everything in the movie takes a backseat to the title creature, a good old fashioned man-in-suit that still manages to send chills up my spine.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
Late in the film, the creature advances toward the camera, eyes wide open. Though it's easy to see now that this was just a gimmick for the film (which was shot in 3-D back when 3-D was cool), that one shot etched itself into my mind at a young age.
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
Director Jack Arnold is one of the heroes of '50s genre cinema - The Incredible Shrinking Man is pretty much one of the best movies ever - and it only seems fair to pair Creature with another of his monster flicks. I think the giant spider epic Tarantula sounds like a good pick here.
What It Means To Me:
One third of what I like to call my "Horror Birth Trilogy" (actually I just made that term up to explain the first three horror movies I was exposed to as a kid), Creature from the Black Lagoon and I went through a dry spell when I was in my teenage years. But when I went back to the film as a young adult, I couldn't help finding myself right back in that state of wonder that kept me glued to the screen as a kid. Sure, it's easy to point out the flaws in the film, but there's something truly iconic about this monster flick that keeps it near and dear to my heart at all times.