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March 29, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #44 - Creature from the Black Lagoon

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser Number 45 - The Fog
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.


Ashley Shannon said...

Creature is a great movie and I prefer it to quite a few of the other universal films to be honest. It's a refreshing 50s monster movie that isn't as overtly "science is bad!" as some of it's contemporaries. I don't think I ever realised that shot was for the 3D, it's pretty special though.

They Made Me Do It

Marvin the Macabre said...

I actually got the chance to see this on the big screen in glorious old-school blue-and-red-glasses 3D. The extended swimming sequences made so much more sense in that context.

Definitely one of my favorite Universal classics, as well as one of my favorite monster movies. There's something about it that instantly puts me at peace. In fact, I nearly put it on last night to lull me to sleep (that's not a knock BTW).

Now I've just got to see the sequels.

Enbrethiliel said...


I think it's a wonderful tribute to any Horror movie to say it awakened (or reawakened) a sense of wonder in you! Nice one, The Mike! =)