Universal Studios to this day, have given cinema some of the greatest monsters and creatures to hit the big screen. This year, they took us back to Jurassic Park and made millions alone!
Whilst they have not been making monster movies since the Jurassic Era, they have done since as early as the 192o’s
Giving us the likes of the famed Universal Monsters: Dracula; Frankenstein; The Mummy and Wolfman, as well as many more including the creature featured in this very blog!
I found myself visiting one of their 1954 movies that I had not seen for a while, following a look on eBay. Going for a bargain, was the 1954 classiic Creature from the Black Lagoon. For the price, it was a bargain, as it was a digital restored version of the film, but more was that it included a 3D version of the film!
When we purchased our TV, we got it in a Black Friday type deal, which means it was a bargain price for its size. The fact that it had a 3D option and came with a 3D blu-ray player was a fantastic bonus for a movie buff like us at BMAF.
However the 3D discs themselves are not so cheap, normally with a minimum £5 uplift on a 2D edition! Unlike 2D disc versions, the price also appears to not reduce, as the 3D versions does not appear on hosting services such as Netflix!
So given the Black Lagoon eBay giveaway price (think was about £3) not only did I get to add to my small collection of 3d films, it was a great way to visit a classic film.
One of the other 3D films I own is Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and on the basis of these 2 films, I have to say 3D does appear to work better in a Black and White format, which these 2 films had in common.
Taking away the 3D from the Creature does not change the fact that with or without it, this is an excellent creature feature. With a template story that still stands up well to films now, a rare fossil is found, much like the start of Jurassic Park. However, this is more than a fly, this is a skeletal hand with webbed fingers (3D is used to good effect, as in one of the scenes, the hand claws its way out of the screen)
With the find, as in other films, a team of experts are got together to find more evidence. Our team head off to the Amazon to try and find more evidence of this unknown species. Upon arrival, the crew find the previous team have been mysteriously killed.
We, the audience, of course know this to be the work of the creature.
The research team, unable to find any further evidence of their mysterious webbed hand find, believe that it may have come from a lagoon further upstream. They head towards it, despite being warned by the hired ship’s crew that no one has ever returned from it.
As with all films of this nature, once the creature is seen, as in films such as King Kong, a plan is made that it should be captured for the researchers to earn a small fortune from its find.
The creature defends itself and deaths happen to the crew, but it also finds itself intrigued by Kay, the female assistance on the team. We learn this further from one of the film’s most famous scenes of Kay, swimming on the surface and the creature underneath her.
The monster and the leading lady storyline has been done many a time, but it is never more so evident here. This certainly is a film that has been an inspiration for so many, with the creature itself now known as the gill-man, still a popular face for merchandise, as are most of the famed Universal Monsters, in fact, I even recall in my local pub, the gill-man being a face of the pinball machine.
Two sequels followed, Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us, neither are as good as the original although Revenge has found fame in pop culture, due to it being the film debut of Clint Eastwood as a lab technician.
Many of the famed Universal Monsters have had the remake/reboot treatment, the most successful being Peter Jackson’s King Kong and The Mummy franchise starring Brendan Fraser.
Other attempts have not been as successful, such as Hugh Jackman’s universal monsters inspired Van Helsing and the Wolfman which teamed Benico Del Toro and Emily Blunt way before Sicario did.
The creature has been faced with Black Lagoon remake talks since as early as 1982 to the present date, with the most recent suggesting Scarlett Johansson has been offered the role of Kay, but time will tell if the gill-man will scare audience goers again.
Do you have a favourite Universal Monster? We’d love to hear from you here at Barking Mad About Films.
For future news of the Creature from the Black Lagoon remakes, be sure to check us out on Facebook where we will keep you updated https://www.facebook.com/barkingmadaboutfilms