tek's rating: ½

Creature from the Black Lagoon (G)
AFI Catalog; Great but Forgotten; IMDb; Kindertrauma; Rotten Tomatoes; TCM; TV Tropes; Universal; Universal Monsters Database; Wikia; Wikipedia
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Caution: spoilers

This is a black & white movie that came out in 1954, originally in 3-D. I first saw it in 2023, in plain old 2-D. It begins with a bit of narration about the creation of the Earth, starting with some Biblical verses before getting into a more scientific bent. It talks about life beginning in the water and later adapting to live on land. Then the movie shows us some of those land creatures, millions of years later. Gruesome creatures that are like Gill-men, but without scales or gills or webbing between their fingers and toes. It's a bit boring at first, but then it turns into a harrowing home invasion story, in which a group of these gill-less creatures come into the lagoon where one Gill-man lives. They shoot at him with various weapons, drug him, even abduct him at one point. He manages to break free, and throughout the course of the movie he stands his ground and kills some of the invaders, but... in the end, they gain the upper hand, and leave him for dead.

Of course, there are a couple of sequels I haven't seen yet, so luckily I'm guessing the Gill-man isn't actually dead, just severely wounded. Unless the sequels are about different gill-men. I'll find that out whenever I get around to watching them. One weird thing about this movie is that most of the scary musical cues came whenever the Gill-man was defending his home. Maybe they also came when the creatures were attacking him some of the time, but if so I didn't really notice them as much. Anyway, I didn't care for the bad guys winning in the end, but for the most part it was an interesting movie, I guess. Not really great, but definitely scary in some parts. It's an interesting twist on most horror movies in that this one focuses a lot more time on the creatures by themselves than on their victim. You really feel like you get to know some of them, though I'm not sure why we're meant to care about the interpersonal dynamics of strange creatures with murderous intent. But then I guess it's not totally unusual for writers to try to make their villains compelling. But it is weird that they all got names and the victim didn't.

Note: I read the Kindertrauma review after I wrote my own, and was glad to see that at least one other person viewed this movie the same way I did, more or less. Perhaps there are more of us who do?

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