My 4-year-old and I planned to watch Creature from the Black Lagoon together. I told her it wouldn’t be scary, that it was an old movie with a silly monster. She’s amenable to my picks because, like all kids I know, her favorite time is screen time.
Then we got mad at each other about something stupid, and I decided If this little girl is gonna be mean to her dad, then she can’t watch Creature from the Black Lagoon. Eventually, we hugged it out and did a puzzle.
Which is good, because I was wrong. A 9-year-old could watch a river monster kill people in black-and-white, maybe, but not a 4-year-old. (Llamando Paw Patrol!) I assumed that because it was from 1954, before filmmakers could splatter blood or show sex, it would be tame and even cheesy. Never underestimate a classic.
It’s cheesy at first, when we only see the monster’s reaching webbed claw. The clueless characters don’t know it’s there, but the camera zooms in and horns blare on the soundtrack.
He mostly just grabs faces when he attacks, but the actors sell it, seeming truly afraid. And their characters deserve it, by the laws of horror old and new, for being ethnics and an unwed couple and a greedy businessman.
Is a violent creature, slow on land but powerful underwater, worse than these men? They have invaded his Amazonian turf, after all, desecrating the skeleton of his ancestor, flicking spent cigarettes wherever they please, and strapping on air tanks to hunt him with harpoon guns.
He kills them for these slights, but they brought a woman who arouses other intentions. The monster only follows her at first, watching as she swims, oblivious. She’s sexy and vulnerable in her one-piece. Then he gets close, almost touching. This is horrific on one level, but on another it’s tender and sad. He wants her, but by the rules of old movies there’s no way he can have her. He’s a monster!
It’s too bad. Guillermo Del Toro should make a sequel 63 years later – something rated R for gore and hot sex.