Yesterday was something of an anniversary. On March 5th, 1954, The Creature from the Black Lagoon hit regional theaters. It was filmed in 3D, but most audiences saw it in 2D, thanks to the implosion of the 3D fad. Even in the 50s, nobody liked 3D.
Anyway, it’s one of my favorite films, for a variety of reasons and I’ve written about my love of the film before. The eponymous creature itself is a work of art, and the film has some genuinely excellent moments–the underwater ‘ballet’ sequence with Julie Adams (as Kay Lawrence) and Ricou Browning (as the creature, for the underwater sequences) is fantastic.
Too, the best monster movies have an element of poignancy, even pathos, to them. Monsters exist outside of the natural order, for all that they might be a part of it. They are implicitly ‘other’, or ‘ab-natural’ as William Hope Hodgson might have said. And while there’s more than a whiff of Yogsothery to the creature given its antediluvian nature, there’s also a certain sadness to its predicament…the creature is alone, unique, and utterly at odds with everything around it. It is monstrous, but not malicious. At least, not initially. And like Frankenstein’s monster before it, its turn to the malevolent is as understandable as it is violent.
The film has inspired a number of my own stories in a number of ways, either directly or otherwise. It’s a formative text, of sorts, along with the rest of Universal’s silver screamers. This includes my forthcoming contribution to CRYPTID CLASH!, featuring a certain swamp-dwelling beastie on the loose. My version of the Lizardman of Scape Ore Swamp owes a great deal to the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Anyway, to cap this off, here’s my unsubtle, overt tribute to the film: “The Creature from the Abysmal Sea”, free to download (along with two other stories, natch) as a PDF. It’s a rousing romp through the black guts of London, as the Royal Occultist, St. Cyprian and co. hunt down a scaly horror from an unearthly sea. Enjoy!