Universal Monsters

[6.5] James Whale (Waterloo Bridge, The Invisible Man) directs Boris Karloff in his iconic performance as Frankenstein’s monster in this cornerstone of Universal Pictures’ monster movie legacy. The adaptation from Mary Shelley’s novel is somewhat loosey-goosey, but taken on its own merits, Whale’s film offers a lot of Gothic horror, expressionistic set design, and a handful of indelible images — including the monster’s laboratory ‘birth’ …

[3.5] The Gill Man’s second sequel starts off okay and gets progressively worse. It’s cool enough while a team of scientists are hunting the Creature, especially when they catch him on fire (the highlight scene of the movie), but once they capture him and begin experimenting on him, the movie takes a nosedive. You’ll have to forget that genetic mutation doesn’t happen overnight. And then …

[4.0] This sequel to The Creature from the Black Lagoon finds the Gill Man captured and put on display in a Florida theme park. Before long, he escapes, takes a woman hostage, and terrorizes the local community. Away from the darkness and depths of the Black Lagoon, the Creature is far less intimidating. I mean, how hard is it to spot an amphibious mutant on …

[7.5] Pools of water are often used as symbols of our collective subconscious. Since Creature from the Black Lagoon is about a humanoid creature who emerges from the depths to kidnap a beautiful woman, you might then say the Creature is a symbol for male sexual desire. And then you might have a B-movie monster I can really sink my teeth into. Sure, it’s just …

[5.0] Whenever Bela Lugosi isn’t onscreen, you can’t wait for him to return in this cornerstone of on-screen horror. His iconic portrayal is the best thing this movie has going for itself. I also liked some of the sets and Dwight Frye’s crazy performance as Renfeld. The rest of the cast are not particularly good, and I would like the Dracula/Mina relationship to have been …