Creature from the Black Lagoon: Complete Legacy Collection
2014, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
This two-disc, three movie collection is a reissue of 2004’s Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Legacy Collection. I’m completely okay with that because the original run of the Universal Monsters Legacy sets have been out of print for quite some time. The only sets I didn’t buy when they were first released were of The Mummy and Creature from the Black Lagoon. I snagged a used copy of the original Mummy set a few years back but the Creature set is usually around $30 used, so I held off. Luckily, Universal re-released the sets last year and I picked up this Creature set for $10 at Walmart.
With all of these new Legacy releases, I’m fairly certain everything has remained the same (movies, special features, etc.). They’ve just received new packaging and aren’t trying to promote that Hugh Jackman Van Helsing movie anymore.
Creature from the Black Lagoon
It’s weird how the Gill-Man/creature monster ended up lumped in with the classic Universal Monsters of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Post-Wolfman, Universal introduced a series of monsters that never really caught on (the Ape Woman, the Brute Man, Night Monster, She-Wolf of London, the Mad Ghoul, etc.). This was probably because they were B-movie characters and treated as such.
By the mid 1940s, the Universal Monsters craze had died down once again and by the early 1950s, the only thing keeping them in the limelight were a series of horror comedies starring Abbott & Costello. That is, until Creature from the Black Lagoon came along. It’s much more in the vein of your typical 50s monster movie of the era, but it’s still entertaining and features great underwater scenes and an amazing costume design for the Gill-Man. It also helped that the movie employed that new-fangled 3-D technique.
A personal highlight for me is seeing the gorgeous Julia Bond in a swimsuit!
Revenge of the Creature
I always thought it weird they gave this movie such a pretty generic title. Especially after the first movie was so popular. I’ve always thought this should’ve been called Revenge of the Creature from the Black Lagoon but then maybe that’s too much of a mouthful.
The plot of this one features a group of scientists going back to where the creature was first discovered and this time they are DETERMINED to capture him. They do, bring him to Florida, put him in an aquarium at a theme park and of course you know what’s going to happen next. Cue the Gill-Man kidnapping the beautiful girl in a bathing suit…
The Creature Walks Among Us
I enjoyed this one quite a bit more than I thought I would. I figured it wouldn’t differ much in plot from the first two movies but The Creature Walks Among Us casts the Gill-Man in a sympathetic light. After being captured yet again and taken out of the water, the creature very rapidly evolves into a hulking and more humanoid form and takes to breathing air while suffering from permanent brain damage during the transition for a temporary lack of oxygen. His portal here is similar to that of the Frankenstein monster as he becomes a gentle creature who ends up doing bad things because of the evil surrounding him.
In a twist, the movie’s real villain is the paranoid scientist who thinks his incredibly hot and faithful wife is cheating in him and sought to frame the creature for a murder he committed out of jealousy and rage. This was the end of the Gill-Man’s run as a character and franchise as the creature walks away into the ocean who is now without the ability to breathe in water.
It’s a pretty good ’50s B-horror movie.
My take on the series overall is that it’s good but not really worth re-watching. The movies are fine for what they are but I prefer my Universal Monsters to be roaming around gloomy castles in the European countryside rather than swimming in the Amazon or spending time in sunny Florida.
Still, I’m happy to finally own all of the Legacy box sets! It only took me 11 years.