In 1962, when I was in 4th grade, the Aurora Toy Company came out with a line of monster model kits that everyone had to have. Monster movie fever preceded the Beatles and never took a back seat in my world. The first kits were Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman. I was familiar with those guys from both late night TV and the Hammer remakes. Then Aurora released Creature From The Black Lagoon! Wow! What a cool looking monster! The Creature became a must have model kit the day I first saw it advertised. But the question remained, who or what is this thing?
The film Creature From The Black Lagoon was less than 10 years old, so it hadn’t yet made it onto late night TV. In 1962, there were no prerecorded or on demand movies. There were only 3 channels and one local movie screen. You saw what they showed when they showed it and that’s all there was. It was a few years before I was first able to catch the movie on TV, with commercials late at night. I probably fell asleep during a commercial. It wasn’t until the invention of the VCR that I was able to fully appreciate Creature From The Black Lagoon. Like most of the classics I’ve never seen this picture on a theater screen but the current House of Stuff auditorium is pretty close.
Creature From The Black Lagoon starts out with an expedition in South America. They find a claw bone and don’t recognize it, although the audience does. The lead guy goes back for help. The gang returns with a full crew and a boat. They dig but find nothing. They move the boat downstream into the Black Lagoon to search for underwater bones. Of course, there is a living version of the claw bone and we get to see it several times. There’s a nice build up before we see the full Creature. One of the guys panics and shoots at the new species and then things go about the way you’d expect in a Universal movie.
It’s been 63 years since Creature From The Black Lagoon was released. Even still the Creature remains a really unique looking monster. Not only did it look like a giant mad fish that walked, it had to function underwater. I’d rank it with The Frankenstein monster and Alien as the best looking horrible things to appear on the screen. All 3 were designed with little or no obvious visual predecessor. The big 3 aren’t improved versions of a prior monster, each one was a trendsetter in it’s day. Creature From The Black Lagoon is a must see movie if you happen to be planning a fishing trip to the Amazon.
Creature From The Black Lagoon