Unrated, 1 hr. 19 min. Directed By: Jack Arnold. Release Date: Mar 5, 1954. DVD Release Date: Aug 28, 2001.
In the wake of The Wolf Man… last month, I think, I was expecting a few things out this movie, since it’s pretty much a horror icon as well as a horror classic. I expected the acting to be atrocious, the dialogue to be poorly written and delivered in a method that was clear to set my teeth on edge, and I expected there to be plot holes in this to be big enough to drive the Enterprise through. Any Enterprise. Even the one that crashed while Counselor Troi was driving. I also expected this to be fun.
And, even with all those expectations, Creature From the Black Lagoon delivered. We’re treated to a fair delivery of material that explains the formation of the Earth. It ends just shy of explaining how Homo ichthyus managed to develop on its own. From there the science devolves into the absurd, which I found absolutely hysterical. But then, you know, I’ve been drinking this evening. The sales manager in my office recently returned from Japan and brought me a bottle of sake. He was a little outraged when I told him I used some to cook with (apparently he doesn’t watch Ina Garden, and doesn’t know when you cook with booze, it has to be good enough to drink). But the ribs I made were really good.
Anyway, I digress. The movie was pretty much everything I expected. It was remarkably cheesy, with dialogue that was cringe-worthy. The cast was terrible, and for some reason, maybe budget cuts in the costumes department, the two lead male characters spent the entire movie clad in only swim trunks and what appeared to be hair dickies. It is possible that they blew all their budgets on the fish guy, and I have to say that if that’s the case, then it was money well spent. For a movie that was made before the days of CGI, I thought that the fish suit was pretty sweet, with the exception of the pretty obvious zippers where there should have been gills. The only thing that would have made the fish man better would be giving him less human body language.
I also thought the underwater film was pretty decent, even on modern terms. Fortunately, about a third of the scenes are underwater. Actually, there aren’t many movies where I think the underwater scenes are better. Those scenes are mostly what makes the movie so much fun, and don’t get me wrong, this is one of those bad movies that is a lot of fun.