Friday, 18 November 2016

'Creature From The Black Lagoon' | B-Movies

Throughout the course of cinematic history a number of aspects have played a part in the creation and production of movies, whether it be dictated by money, time or talent, the filmic world has always had limitations that have pushed creatives to take things into their own hands. This drive to create in an environment that demands huge amounts of money led to the arrival of the 'B-Movie', a type of film that could be created on a much smaller budget and almost largely independently. Since the early 1940's B-Movies have been prominent in the industry and are still thriving, to a certain extent, today.

One of the largest a most successful B-Movies to date is Jack Arnold's 1954 monster creation, Creature From The Black Lagoon, a movie that had limitations and obstacles to overcome yet has managed to remain prominent and culturally recognized even in todays oversaturated market.

Fig 1: Movie Poster, Creature From The Black Lagoon

B-Movies often share certain characteristics that cause them to be placed into this specific category, and Arnold's monster tale is no different. The film highlights some of the most famous traits of the B-Movie genre that have ever been recognized, one of which being the fame of the cast. The stars of this creepy epic are by no means 'Hollywood behemoths', but rather a cast of actors who were possibly struggling for work or simply coming to the end of their career, however saying that, stars such as Julie Adams and Richard Carlson largely give strong performances that make scenes extremely memorable and some that have even gone on to become cult classic moments.

Another trait that has become extremely familiar in movies of this genre is the idea of a stock character, or characters that fit a specific role that has been seen before in previous movies, and that is extremely true within this spooky cult classic. Characters such as Kay and David are by no means extremely original or inventive, but rather fit archetypes that are easy to understand for an audience. This idea is still occurring to some degree in todays movies, and will presumably reverberate for years to come as audiences will always find it easy to grasp a characters role if they've seen the archetype repeated before. However, even if some of the characters do seem familiar, the creature, or beast characters design does feel original, possibly because it didn't follow the 'giant monster' craze of B-Movies that was occurring at that time. 

The idea of a stock plot is also an extremely familiar characteristic of the B-Movie, the notion of a recycled plot, or a plot that runs to an obvious outcome is something that the genre did capitalize on because of the initial attraction of a new audience. Whilst Creature From The Black Lagoon does essentially follow a plot that seems predictable, the creature itself and the surrounding environments seem more original than usual, meaning that it hasn't particularly fallen into this repeated plot pigeon hole.

Fig 2: Screenshot, Creature From The Black Lagoon

An aspect of Arnold's creation that still stands up for itself amongst todays cinematic giants is its special effect work, or rather practical effect. Now obviously audiences of today are much to used to CG spectacles to really fall in love with the effect work in this creature classic, but it cannot be disputed that Arnold and his teams work feels personal, it feels like craftsmanship and creation that was carried out with heart and a genuine love for the cinematic experience audiences were falling in love with.

A trait that often shows its face in the B-Movie genre is that of cheesy dialogue, and whilst Creature From The Black Lagoon does have its fair share of cheesy moments, there are certainly areas where this issue is addressed and characters focus less on simple action driven plot points and actually attempt to give scenes reason and genuine motive, something that the B-Movie genre was lacking drastically at that time.

Fig 3: Screenshot, Creature From The Black Lagoon

Jack Arnold's 1954 spectacle Creature From The Black Lagoon certainly does fit the bill of a classic B-Movie, but its managed to do something rather special by forcing its way into the status of a cult classic, a task that would of seemed almost impossible to most other movies created in this category, but after all, who could forget that creature? 

Illustration List

Fig 1: Movie Poster, Creature From The Black Lagoon,, Accessed on: 18.11.16

Fig 2: Screenshot, Creature From The Black Lagoon,, Accessed on: 18.11.16

Fig 3: Screenshot, Creature From The Black Lagoon,, Accessed on: 18.11.16

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