Creature Paparazzi

Creature from the Black Lagoon pic 1

The Creature from The Creature From the Black Lagoon (US-1954; dir. Jack Arnold) is one of US cinema’s most iconic monsters. I remember watching it in the early 1960s on our then-newish black-and-white TV set, when it was screened as part of Deadly Ernest’s late night Creature Feature show. I loved it, of course, but was outraged when I discovered how many of the close-ups where edited out so that my little mind wouldn’t be warped by the terrifying imagery. Right. Since then I’ve watched it many times, now complete in a lovely, pristine digital format, and still think it one of the best… though, of course, my mind is thoroughly warped.

Current news is that it’s being remade, directed by Breck Eisner (Sahara, the “Jacob and Jesse” episode of Taken) for a 2009 release.

Meanwhile, Life Magazine has unearthed an archive of shots taken during the filming by photographer Edward Clark. (You can view the unadjusted shots here. Even better, Kerry Gammil has put up colour-corrected versions here.)

Creature from the Black Lagoon pic 2

They let us see how really incredible the rubber suit (designed by Bud Westmore) looks, even up close and (especially) in colour. Absolutely beautiful. No doubt they will CGI the creature in the new film, which I will inevitably find much less interesting.

Meanwhile these pictures, long buried in the vaults of Life Magazine, can remind us how good the older techniques can be.

Creature from the Black Lagoon pic 3

  • Source: Bob Johnson
  • Note: Stan Hyde has pointed out that “Bud Westmore ran the make-up department, but the creature was really created by Milicent Patrick, Jack Kevan, Chris Mueller Jr. and Tom Case”.
This entry was posted in Film, Horror, Pictorial art. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Creature Paparazzi

  1. Todd says:

    Wow! Those are nothing less than GORGEOUS, Rob!
    Thanks for sharing these with us.

    Now, you must tell us all more about “Deadly Ernest’s late night Creature Feature
    Show”! This is the first I’ve ever heard about him (or any other Horror Hosts from Oz:0). Are they a thing of the past there as they just about are here in the US?


  2. Backbrain says:

    Deadly was a classic-style, comedic horror host whose show ran for some time and — as far as I recall — featured all the usual cinematic suspects punctuated with gag moments during ad breaks. It was a franchise, with different people playing the Host. The one I’m familiar with was in Sydney, played by Ian Bannerman.

    Here’s an info page:

    At the bottom there’s a link to other Deadlies.

    And, yes, they’re a thing of the past….

  3. Terry Frost says:

    I remember Deadly Ernest introducing “It Came From Beneath the Sea” as a documentary on the Bondi sewer. Yeah, horror movie hosts are sadly missed in general, but he was great. He looked like Harry Palmer as a zombie

  4. Todd says:

    Yes, they will all be missed.
    Our horror hosts were mostly done away with due to a deadly plague of “infamous infomercials”, which ate up all of the late-night network TV time.

    Are there any url links to any old footage of “Deadly Ernest”?

  5. Backbrain says:

    Not that I can find, Todd. I did find some fans of Deadly complaining about the lack of historic recognition given to him by the TV channel concerned. I suspect that the tapes were wiped long before the internet and the digital age made nostalgia a viable business.

  6. James says:

    Thanks very much, I’ve been looking all over the net trying to find these pictures. I appreciate you putting them up for us to enjoy!

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