Oh , Creature- how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways…
If a song could be penned to describe my utter adoration for The Creature From The Black Lagoon it would be the Bee Gee’s ‘How Deep is Your Love’.
Strong, passionate, misunderstood- Creature is my ideal man- sans the gills and communication issues, of course. So how deep is my love?
Its DEEP – as deep as the Black Lagoon itself.
I have dolls, I have a belt buckle- religious candles? They make them. Happy Meal toys? Check. Think you’ve seen the Creature other than in his home turf? You have. Creature is so well known he’s made guest appearances in The Munsters’ as ‘Uncle Gilbert’ and has a lovely singing part in Burton’s Nightmare before Christmas. He promoted a children’s bath product called ‘Soaky’ in the 60’s and a pin ball machine in the 90’s. He’s mentioned in Stephen King’s novel, ‘IT’ and most impressively has a fossil: Eucritta melanolimnetes named for him. Not as pervasive in pop culture as Frankenstein or Dracula- The Creature is none the less a corner stone in our beloved annals of horror.
CFTBL was inspired by a dinner conversation between producer, William Alland, Orson Welles and cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa in which the latter described an Amazonian creature that would creep into villages, hijack a lady and then disappear back into the water leaving the village safe for another year. Figueroa’s absolute insistence at the truth of the tale, caused Alland to pen ‘The Sea Monster’ that was later developed into the script and presented to Universal .
Creature was designed for color- and with the gorgeous vibrant greens on his suit and bright red pucker- ladies would’ve swooned over our amphibious leading man. Alas, those dreamy underwater sequences sucked up too much of the budget and our color feature went to B&W. Also, made for 3D – Creature was released in both 3D and 2D formats as the 3D craze had greatly diminished by the time of its release. Interesting tidbit about Creature – he was designed by Disney illustrator, Milicent Patrick – a fact Universal swept under the rug choosing instead to promote Bud Westmore as the monster’s visual visionary.
The Creature was no easy part to play with its laborious suit, minimal vision in the head piece and no room for an airtank. Champion swimmer Ricou Browning was forced to hold his breath during the long underwater takes. Quite a looker, Ricou enjoyed taking flirty pictures with the ladies on the set while still clad in his scaly body, webbed feet and claws. As a cool sidebar- Ricou is the last original Universal monster alive- and at 84 is still active in Hollywood having recently directed an underwater sequence in Boardwalk Empire.
You can’t speak about the leering phallic nightmare of Creature without giving a nod to his love interest Kay, played by the delicious Julie Adams. Has any bathing suit been sexier than that luminous white one-piece molded onto her every perfect curve? Modest by today’s standards, Universal was alarmed at the risqué nature of that suit and it was almost changed to something more correct for the times- lucky for us, it wasn’t. Is there anyone familiar with CFTBL that doesn’t immediately think of the seductive and haunting underwater dance the Creature performs for his unknowing lady love? This aquatic mating display went on to influence Spielberg’s opening scene in JAWS.
Creature From The Black Lagoon is a film that begs to be seen as it was intended in 3D on a giant screen. I am ridiculously excited at being able to have that opportunity when Psycho Cinema presents CFTBL at The Alamo this Tuesday. If it was appropriate I would wear a white one piece as an homage to the lovely Kay and in the hopes of possibly attracting my own lascivious suitor. Alas, The Alamo has strict policies against public displays of gruesome near-nudity amongst audience members and would probably frown upon an amphibious kidnapping mid-film.
Tickets for Tuesday’s 7:30 screening of The Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D at the Alamo Drafthouse in Winchester, Virginia can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK.
At the age of 7, Faye accidentally watched Debbie Does Dallas. Her past times include: buying red lipstick, passionately advocating against the existence of spiders and writing anonymous love letters to Steve Buscemi.