There are many strange legends in the Amazon. Even I, Lucas, have heard the legend of a man-fish
I LOVE this movie! ❤ It is one of my favorite B Horror films and Monster movies. It is a member of Universal’s Classic Monster Movie Collection, its buddies being The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, Dracula, The Wolfman, etc.
The producer of this film got the idea for the story from a myth he was told about a half-fish and half-human race in the Amazon River. He wanted to go with a Beauty and the Beast type vibe, but having an ending that was more reminiscent of King Kong.
Last October I created my own “poster” and changed my cover photo on facebook every day in honor of Halloween. This is it.
Love it! ❤
So the film begins when a fossil of a skeletal hand with webbed fingers is found in the Amazon.
Thinking this is the link between human evolution from sea to land Dr. Carl Maia goes to his former student Dr. David Reed to have him look into it.
From left to right Dr. David Reed (Richard Carlson), David’s girfriend and collegue Kay Lawrence (Julie Adams), Dr. Mark Williams (Richard Denning), & Dr. Edwin Thompson (Whit Bissell)
David persuades his boss Dr. Mark Williams that they should look into it. It could mean fame, fortune, etc, the possibilities are endless for the ones who find out more.
That night we the viewer see a clawed, webbed, hand emerge from the inky black lagoon
Followed by screams of terror. We know what that means. The diggers es muerte.
Meanwhile the scientists are blissfully unaware of what lies before them, they all go aboard the ship the Rita with a silly (comical relief) Captain Lucas.
Now when I went to Universal Studios in May 2012, in the special effects show they had the boat Rita and picked a family to go on it and show how they would make it look as if the ship was moving down a river when it actually wasn’t. I wanted them to pick my family, but they said only families of four and there were only three of us there. 😥
Anyways, so as the group travels down the Amazon, problems arise. It turns out that David isn’t the only one who likes Kay. Mark has a thing for her as well, but Kay only has eyes for David.
When they arrive at the camp, they find the rest of Dr. Carl’s team dead, having been utterly clawed up. Everyone assumes that a jaguar did it, but Captain Lucas is pretty sure that something more sinister is afoot.
Meanwhile, Kay is off by herself roaming about. Seriously, in practically every horror film there is always that one character that decides they are going to be stupid and go off somwhere on their own and almost gets or does get killed. In Kay’s case she is pretty lucky. The creature notices her and we see his clawed hand come for her foot when she is called back by the others.
I really love how they don’t show his face right away. That always adds to the effect of the horror film.
The team isn’t able to find any remains that they thought they would, and Mark is very upset that they have nothing. He threatens to cut all funding, but David is able to convince him that they should go downriver and check the Black Lagoon where the river ends. David figures that cliffside where the hand was found probably eroded and went downstream. Lucas doesn’t like the idea of going down into the Black Lagoon and neither does his crew. They have heard many, many, many stories about that place.
“Lucas: I can tell you something about this place. The boys around here call it ‘The Black Lagoon’; a paradise. Only they say nobody has ever come back to prove it.”
This part of the film always reminds me of King Kong. How all the crew members care for Kay, very similar to how they care for Ann.
Mark and David go diving and collect rocks. There we see that the tension between the two is more than just Kay. Mark is VERY ambitious and tends to take credit for others work. Kay talks David down and decides to go for a swim. Dun-Dun! Dun-Dun! Dun-dun-da-da! Dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun, da-na-na!
THE CREATURE TRIES TO GRAB HER!
This is also the part where we are finally able to see what the creature looks like. He’s pretty creepy. The person who played him, Ricou Browning, was a professional diver and swimmer and played the Creature whenever he was underwater. The director said that since the Creature had gills, air bubbles couldn’t come out from his mouth or nose. Browning was required to hold his breath for up to 4 mins and his costume was designed without an air tank. Eeep! that’s pretty crazy! They things they did back in the day.
The Creature’s design was based on old 17th C woodcuts, the Sea Monk and the Sea Bishop.
That scene when Kay is swimming always makes me think of Jaws as well. I bet Steven Spielberg was influenced by it.
Kay gets called back before the creature can do anything, and everyone prepares to go out, but they are stopped by the monster. In a Finding Nemo-esque way, where he pulls on a net and messes with the ship. When they pull up the net they see a ginormous hole in it, and a claw.
David and Mark decide to go after it, Mark carrying a harpoon gun. David is against this as he wants to capture the monster alive so that they can study it. Mark thinks it is better to just destroy it and live.
Look at these Hunky men! 🙂
The go swimming and see the creature. Mark tries to hit it with his gun, which angers David. When they return to the boat, they can hardly believe what they saw and ran into, trying to describe it to the others. Kay doesn’t find it too far fetched, reminding everyone that some fish can breathe air. Mark goes to print the pics David took with his underwater camera. To their disappointment, nothing can be seen at all. However, they don’t have to be disappointed long as the creature has come on board the ship!
They manage to fight him off, but they know they have to capture him or else he will kill them all. They try and drug the water and fish in hopes that he will eat them and knockout. That day and night they wait for him.
The creature manages to sneak on the ship.
Kay’s screams alert the rest of the crew and they scare the creature away by using light. He is having trouble as the drugs are stating to affect him. David and Mark chase after him and discover his underground grotto. The creature manages to kill one more person before he passes out. They tie him up in a net and take him onto the boat. They lock him up in a cage, but that doesn’t hold him for long. Dr. Edwin tries to save Kay by thrusting himself in front of her as a shield, but the Creature attempts to strangle him. Kay throws a lantern on the creature and sets him on fire. Scaring the monster off.
See fire is the way to go. It scares off Zombies, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, etc.
After this, David convinces everyone that they need to leave. They try, but as they are attempting to exit the lagoon, they discover a ton of felled trees block their way. Mark, being the guy he is, decides to go after the Creature and capture him. Of course now the Creature takes him down.
The Creature then jumps onto the boat and carries Kay away.
David goes after his lady love, taking Mark’s harpoon gun with him.
David and Kay get out, but the creature manages to follow them. They shoot him and he retreats floating in the water, but is he really dead? Or just recuperating?
NEVER SAY DIE!
Actually before the script was finished, plans had already been made to leave the Creature’s fate uncertain at the end of the picture, in order to leave an opening for a sequel. Which it had. Two of them, but neither was as good as the original deal.
The Creature has been such a huge thing in our culture. There was the parody Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961), has a part in The Munsters, makes an apperance in Scooby-Doo & the Ghoul School, makes an apperance in The Nightmare Before Christmas song “Town Meeting”, Lagoona Blue from Monster High is the daughter of the Creature, Gary Larson did a hilarious comic, and Jenny Clack, from the University of Cambridge, discovered a fossil amphibian named it Eucritta melanolimnetes, which means (literally) “the creature from the black lagoon”.
Click here to watch it free online.
Hope you enjoyed the first post of Horrorfest. 😀
I just found this pic online and thought you all would love it.
So this artist José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros did a series of disney mash-ups, my favs being the horror films. To see more go to Disnified Horror.
Finally a mate that can live with me in my lagoon.