On Its 65th Anniversary, ‘Creature From the Black Lagoon’ Still Looms Large Over Modern Cinema

/Film | 2/12/2019 | Kristen Lopez
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In 1954, a little feature called Creature From the Black Lagoon crawled up from the seas of Universal Studios to terrorize audiences. While never taken as seriously as other Universal monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster, the Gill-Man has created his own cult-like following that’s kept the film in the public consciousness for the past 65 years. When Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water was released in 2017 with its story about a woman who falls in love with a similar aquatic creature, the director was vocal about the film’s chief influence being the original Creature From the Black Lagoon.

The horror classic premiered 65 years ago today, so it’s worth exploring all three Creature films to examine how they hold up in 2019.

Books - Movies - Expeditions - Form - Creature

Books and movies about expeditions to find some form of primitive or extraordinary creature are legion, from Moby Dick to Anaconda. Creature From the Black Lagoon follows a group of explorers hunting in the Amazon for a mysterious half-man/half-fish creature, and like most hunted species throughout popular culture, the Gill-Man is presented as smarter than the men hunting him. Dr. David Reed and Mark Williams (Richard Carlson and Richard Denning) represent physical perfection, as evidenced by their constantly unclothed bodies and perfect hair, but the Gill-Man is smarter in his primitiveness. He’s survived as an anomaly to man, and for all the doctors’ attempts to capture him, the creature eludes them in one way or another (for three movies no less).

Science in cinema throughout the ‘50s was presented as being pretentious and above that of common sense and facts, with the creature bridging both elements. He’s both an example of a primitive species yet is special because of the genetic links he represents. Much of the third film, 1956’s The Creature Walks Among Us, concerns turning the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: /Film
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