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Creature From The Black Lagoon at Memorial Union Terrace
August 15, 2022 @ 9:00 pm - 10:30 pmFree
Though by all accounts, it’s the campy embodiment of the creature-feature genre, Jack Arnold’s original Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) stands out in WUD Film’s summer programming lineup at Memorial Union Terrace as the oldest and most classically distinguished selection. Natural horror and sci-fi invasion adventures ruled the day through the 1950s, first finding an audience with Christian Nyby’s The Thing From Another World (1951), which yielded one of the all-time great remakes in John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). But, can Nyby’s film claim to have inspired two official sequels and a short-running musical? I think not.
While the rubbery, amphibious “Gill-man” himself isn’t terribly frightful and the dynamic between male scientists on land leaves something to be desired, the fluid underwater diving and stalking sequences, actually directed by James C. Havens, are beautiful to behold. They surely must have inspired a young Steven Spielberg at the time, who went on to make the thrilling cinematic event of the 1970s in Jaws (1975), which spawned too many imitators to even account for. (Without Creature, there also wouldn’t be 2018 Best Picture winner The Shape Of Water.) In all cases, the original visions have stood the test of time. And screening to a lively audience sprawled out on the Terrace, Creature From The Black Lagoon can perhaps serve as a gateway to a budding horror historian or enthusiastic young filmmaker. —Grant Phipps
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