Monday, August 8, 2011


BMFI intern Zoe Portman continues the Why I Love Movies series of blog posts. Learn why BMFI's screening of Creature of the Black Lagoon fulfills her long-time ambition. Check back for additional posts by other BMFI staff and community members that explore the movies we love.

Why I Love Creature from the Black Lagoon
Zoe Portman, BMFI Intern  

This summer I will finally be able to realize the goal I’ve nursed for nearly a decade: to see Creature from the Black Lagoon in the original 3-D. 

I was thirteen when I saw Creature from the Black Lagoon for the first time.  I had gone to a horror movie convention over Halloween weekend, and met Ben Chapman, the stuntman who portrayed the Gill-man on land (the 6’5” septuagenarian autographed my friend’s sneaker).  I was thrilled to see Creature in the original 3-D, which was being shown in honor of its 50th anniversary. As I was sitting in a conference room which had been temporarily converted into a screening room, a bombshell fell: the expected shipment of 3-D glasses had never arrived and we would have to watch the film in a mere two dimensions. Since my ride wasn’t due for hours, and these were the days when cell phones were still the exception rather than the rule, I had no choice except to stay, despite my disappointment.

The Gill-man's iconic swim through the Black Lagoon

I emerged from the murky depths of the dark room six hours later, glazed, having watched all three of the Creature films. In addition to the original, we saw Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us. Although my higher cognitive functions were shot after hours of exposure to the kind of cheesy dialogue and overacting that only the 1950s could produce, I was still able to determine that Creature from the Black Lagoon was far superior to its sequels.  Black Lagoon catapulted the Gill-man into classic Universal monster status, particularly with the iconic scene where he swims through the lagoon, just feet below the unaware object of his affections. In contrast, the sequels burned his gills off and dressed him awkwardly in clothes, and proved that true love can never exist between a prehistoric amphibious humanoid and a beautiful ichthyologist.
Emerging from the murky depths...

Creature from the Black Lagoon is shown in conjunction with another Jack Arnold 3-D extravaganza, It Came from Outer Space.  These films were the first two Universal films to be filmed in 3-D, and are shown as part of our 3-D: What’s all the Fuss? Series.  See Creature from the Black Lagoon on Wednesday, August 10, at 7:00pm.  I know I’ll be the first in line to get my tickets!

Zoe Portman is a Film Studies student entering her fourth year at Hampshire College, currently interning at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute.

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