Black Lagoon, er, Lake

There’s value in watching bad movies.  For one thing, it’s a learning opportunity.  (For another, they’re more likely to be found for free on streaming services.)  The Creature from Black Lake drew me in with its title similar to The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and its very low price tag.  It kept me watching with its poor dialogue and obviously low budget.  One of the spate of “Bigfoot movies” that came out in the seventies, this one is the story of two (unintentionally) inept college students looking into a Louisiana swamp creature, based on the beast of Boggy Creek legend.  They end up in Oil City (I had to keep watching now), Louisiana where the local sheriff warns them off and where his daughter is, naturally, attracted to them.

I won’t spoil it for you (although the creature of this creature-feature is so clearly a man with a gorilla mask) but the movie does have a cast of some recognized B-list (or C-list) actors.   And it was a very early effort by Dean Cundey, a cinematographer who went on to work with horror auteur John Carpenter on Halloween and The Thing.  (And also The Fog, although that one’s lesser known, but covered in Holy Horror.)   You’ve got to start somewhere and the premise is good enough, being “based on a true story”—something the movie doesn’t claim for itself since the events, as portrayed, never happened.

Riffing off the earlier Legend of Boggy Creek—a cryptid docudrama from three years earlier (1973), it fictionalizes the Fouke monster incident.  The Fouke monster (which my autocorrect hates) was a creature reported around Fouke (no, I don’t mean Fluke), Arkansas, starting in the 1940s.  This earlier film went on to become a cult classic.  Black Lake suffers from poor direction and even worse writing.  College students, one obviously suffering from post-traumatic Vietnam issues, try to make out with girls they know are in high school only to be saved from criminal offense by a monster attack?  They wind up in jail anyway only to be released by a tough but gullible sheriff who simply trusts them to leave Oil City since he told them to.  I grew up near the earlier and, I’m tempted to say, original Oil City, and I know of no movies set in that town with all its drama and weirdness.  Even with its issues (Jack Elam is a delight to watch, however) this film is a bit of bad movie homework that’s hard to pass up when it’s free.

One thought on “Black Lagoon, er, Lake

  1. Pingback: Boggy Down | Steve A. Wiggins

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