Deep deep in the jungle of the Amazon, Professor Carl Maia (Antonio
Moreno) discovers a fossil of a yet unknown species, most probably a gill
man, and mounts an expedition to find out more about the creature, led by
divers David (Richard Carlson) - the good guy - and Mark (Richard Denning)
- the cynic who wants to make money out of everything -, who are of course
rivalling over the affections of Kay (Julie Adams), also a member of the
When the expedition arrives at its destination, everybody has to find
out they have taken a bigger bite than they can chew on: There is a real
gillman (played by Ricou Browning in the underwater scenes and by Ben
Chapman when he's on land) around, and this real gillman is violent and
doesn't refrain from killing - but he is also in love with Kay. At first,
our expedition wants to capture the gillman alive, but he not only escapes
captivity but also kills a few members of the expedition. and he blocks
off the exit of his lagoon (yup, it's the black lagoon) so the
expedition - but especially Kay - cannot leave.
Of course everything is not helped by the fact that Mark and David
fight over everything, it's only when they realize they are no longer
fighting over honour, over Kay or over the creature but for their survival
that they start working together - and soon enough, Mark dies a hero's
death, a sort of redemption for his cynical attitude.
Ultimately, the creature abducts Kay, and David, always the hero, goes
after him. Man and gillman have a showdown in the creature's cave, and man
only wins thanks to Professor Maia and Lucas (Nestor Paiva), the ship's
captain, who arrive just in time with the necessary firepower to blow the
creature to kingdom come ...
On one hand, Creature from the Black Lagoon is an almost iconic
film: The creature itself has since become the epitomy of underwater
monsters, his swimming scene with Julie Adams has become a classic in its
own right and has been quoted many times (e.g. Jaws), but never
with the same panache, the film's special effects look great even more
than 50 years after the film's premiere, and many plot elements we now
consider as trash mainstays nowadays were incedibly fresh in 1953.
On the other hand though, a trashfilm afficionado like me can't help
but point out the film's shortcomings: It takes its silly story way too
seriously, especially the love triangle-subplot is nothing short of cheesy
(but not in a good way), the whole thing seems to be way too polished for
its humble story and the dramatic impact of certain scenes is way too
exaggerated to go down easily.
All that said, I actually rather liked Creature from the Black
Lagoon, but at the same time I failed to see it as a classic it is
often advertized as, nor as a fun sci-fi flick of the kind I love and