So I had never seen this movie before, but I knew of it's classic nature in American Monster movie history. I found a copy at the Provo Library (thank goodness for free rentals). It was really great. Now I don't think you can go into these kinds of movies thinking you're going to be scared much. First of all, the scare tactics weren't so refined for the most part back then. I think the most common scare tactic of any movie is the sudden "jump out of nowhere with a really loud noise" tactic (if anybody cares to give me an official name for that I'd be most impressed and I'll give you a hat tip for it). Undeniably that's a pretty weak tactic itself, but it's effective. However, I don't really recall it being in there, at least not to the drastic degree it is in so many movies. The "freak you out" tactics used in this movie are: lurking, eerie music, and the classic damsel turns and screams (yet again, hat tip to anybody who can get me official names). It's amazingly cheesy and fun at the same time.
I definitely understand why this made its way into the American pop culture and the classic monster movies. The creature is something so poorly understood that likes to run off with pretty ladies for no apparent reason. Thus, for doing what it is meant to do, it does a great job. It fits its role to a T. Now I wouldn't say it's one of the best monster movies I've ever seen, but it's fun in its own way. The Creature was so popular that they made a few sequels (which were also included on my DVD so I will be sure to watch them as well, but I'm pretty sure I won't be reviewing those unless one of them knocks my socks off). But seeing as how this movie isn't necessarily a work of art in most ways, I won't dive into too heavy of an analysis on most things. The script is terribly cheesy (in a most delightful way), the acting could definitely use a little bit of help, the scenery is fantastically fake (mostly anyway), and don't expect much in the way of special effects (sorry, this isn't Transformers). The storyline is rather minimalist, but you get what you want out of it: an epic battle with some hideous, unknown creature. It's only a little over an hour so it keeps it short (now if Transformers had stuck with these dynamics or just worked on developing a real plot that might have actually been a decent movie [yes, I am going to take my shots at Transformers in this movie review]). The cinematography is really pretty good. They have some really cool underwater scenes and it was originally shot for 3-D so that's something to take into account as well. Overall, I think this is definitely a fun movie worth the watch and it is sure to provide a good time. Worse case scenario, I'm sure you could make a great Mystery Science Theater night out of it. Look for the release of a new edition of The Creature From the Black Lagoon in theaters in 2011.
*Random side note, turns out Vincent Price once played Joseph Smith in a movie called Brigham Young done in 1940. Go figure.