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Another stop motion classic from the atomic age. Giant scorpions awakened by
volcanoes menace Mexico. You think a swarm of giant scorpions is bad, wait
until you see the biggest and baddest of the bunch...The Black
Willis O'Brien (the effects genius from King Kong) gets more than alittle help from Pete Peterson animating these arachnid monstrosities in all their stop-motion glory.
The effects were very well done, but unfortunately the transparent matte shots of the Black Scorpion entering Mexico City are terrible. Almost to the point where it ruins the movie. As is the constant (once or twice would be enough) close up of the scorpions face (which is a drooling animated prop). It would have been wonderful to see the Black Scorpion trashing buildings and attacking people in the city rather than a poor matte shot of the scorpion running through the streets.
Still overall a very enjoyable flick. The acting was actually pretty good compared to most of the genre films from the time.
The best scene from this film (hands down) was the descent into the underground lair of the scorpions, which also features not only a giant freaky worm, but a huge freaky looking trapdoor spider as well! The spider and worm prop were from the famous deleted "bottom of the ravine" scene from King Kong. So this is as close as you're going to get to reliving that infamous lost scene. Other great sequences include two scorpions battling the giant worm in a fight to the death, the scorpions swarming over and attacking a train at night, the Black Scorpion slaughtering the smaller scorpions, and the climatic fight between the Black Scorpion and the Mexican military in a soccer stadium.
I miss these kind of movies!
One of the better Fifties science fiction entries is The Black Scorpion
or scorpions to be precise. These creatures got released during a
volcanic eruption and started wreaking havoc in the area around Mexico
Of all the monsters created by the special effects guys including the great Ray Harryhausen, the ugliest, meanest, nastiest creatures ever brought to the screen were these scorpions. They are ugly as sin, emit an obnoxious drool when on the prowl and make a noise guaranteed to scare any kid or kid at heart out of his comfortable movie seat. And they are one of the few creatures which are not either from outer space or caused by radioactivity.
When the scorpions start doing their thing, scientists Richard Denning and Carlos Rivas are in the area as is ranch owner Mara Corday. In between trying to figure out how to combat the scorpions, a little romance gets going between Denning and Corday. And there's a cute little kid around played by Mario Navarro who gets in all kinds of trouble tagging along with the scientists.
But you can mute the romance and get into the action. I guarantee you will like the scene inside the volcano where Denning, Rivas, and little Mario have to deal not only with the scorpions, but with giant earthworms and spiders. And the final battle in the Mexico City soccer stadium between the scorpion and the scientists and Mexican army is a tingler.
Black Scorpion, is another semi classic, 50s giant monster movie. It should have been called the scorpions that ate Mexico. If you enjoy other movies from the 50s that feature giant insects or other huge monsters wreaking havoc on mankind, you will also like Black Scorpion. You do have to keep in mind that this was made in 1957. Don't be looking for the thrills you can get from the special effects in today's horror movies. The movie has to be viewed within the context of the time it was released. For it's time, the special effects were great. This was truly a scary movie for it's time and continues to be exciting today. I found this to be a very entertaining movie and recommend it to anyone who enjoys the giant monsters of the 50s and early 60s. Enjoy.
From out of the desert come giant scorpions, destroying houses, ravaging
vehicles and slaughtering innocents! It's Them! all over again, but with
better and more vicious monsters that, coincidentally, sound exactly like
Them!'s giant ants.
The Black Scorpion is a typical 1950s giant monster movie, and you have to love the period and the genre to appreciate the film. I happen to love the period and the genre, and I also love stop-motion animation, so The Black Scorpion really presses my buttons.
The animation supervisor is Willis (King Kong) O'Brien, with the actual effects work done by Pete Peterson. You can see more of Peterson's work on the DVD. We not only get scorpions by the handful, we get other animated creepy-crawlies as well. Lots of effects work in this one!
The story is by-the-numbers but Richard Denning gives his usual stalwart performance. The DVD sports some nice Harryhausen extras, too. If you like this kind of thing, you'll LOVE The Black Scorpion.
Giant scorpions are unearthed by an earthquake and threaten to attack New Mexico. By the numbers script, but the acting is (surprisingly) good...it's just that the script is VERY dull. And when the giant scorpions (and worms and spiders) are on screen the movie is fantastic. These creatures look terrifying (the close ups of the scorpions' face are not pleasant) and the stop motion animation is superb. So...dull except when the monsters are on screen. Worth seeing for monster fans.
When you watch films like this, you must put aside your ideas of what are or are not good special effects......if we compare all older movies with present films with modern technology, we would write off classics like "King Kong" and "Lost World" because they don't look like "Jurassic Park". Times change, computer generated effects are "in" and we sometimes forget that people like Willis O'Brien were pioneers in the fx field, working with little but their imagination and creativity. So enjoy this typical 50's Big Bug entry for what it is. I have seen it a number of times and have a little soft spot in my heart (not my head!) for it. It is full of those actors that were popping up all the time during the 50's as second leads or in "B" films. The cavern scene with the worms and scorpions is pretty damn good but that little brat Juanito needed to be scorpion bait from the beginning! Probably the funniest thing in the film is the reaction of the military men in the stadium when one of their own gets electrocuted because someone forgot to turn off the power....they just blow it off and go on. It's a fun film......just enjoy it and don't think too much.
This little gem from Warner Brothers is actually a pretty good movie for it's time and genre. The basis of the story is that 2 scientists, one American, one Mexican, head to Mexico to study an erupting volcano. What they find however, is nest underground of huge scorpions that are terrorizing Mexico City. The special effects are good for the era, the scorpion drools and makes scary sounds. The acting is so-so, Richard Denning overacts at times, and the relationship with the ever lovely and B movie horror queen Mara Corday, is not well developed, and the little Mexican boy "Juanito" is nothing short of annoying. But overall the story works helped by the great special effects and the good storyline. A fun movie to watch on a rainy Saturday night.
Way above average giant insect thriller, mainly due to the awesome special effects of Willis O'Brien ("King Kong" - 1933). Three set-pieces are superb: the first appearance, rather unexpectedly, of heroine Mara Corday talking to telephone linemen, who soon are under attack, then the train wreck which is terrifying and bizarre, and the final confrontation in the stadium, featuring grand editing and surprising touches. Mexico setting works well, music and sound effects are exemplary, sub-Earth sequence featuring more creatures is eerie. Title refers to the largest creature in the climax, budgetary limitations revealing a black traveling matte, still mystical, with fascinating zoom-in camera shots. Some have faulted the scorpion's "drooling" close-ups, but I find them bone-chilling. Only major defect: the leading actors, Corday, Richard Denning, and Carlos Rivas, are hammy and unsubtle and a Corday-Denning romance occurs too late in the script, especially after all the mayhem.
A volcano erupts and spits up these scorpions that are huge and prehistoric. This is the premise for The Black Scorpion, a 50's sci-fi/giant bug film. As cheesy 50's films go, this one is entertaining, if not a little slow in places. The Mexican landscape looks authentic and the scorpions themselves are pretty good when left in the hands of Willis O'Brien. But the close-ups of the creatures are a bit overused, almost to the point of becoming annoying. The scorpions kill each other off until one giant one is left to wreak his vengeance(and whet his appetite) in Mexico City. The best scene is the one when scientist Richard Denning(and his incredibly boring assistant Carlos Rivas, and annoying stow-a-way Juanito) are lowered into a giant cavern and the realm of Willis O'Brien's wonderful stop-motion animation. The rest of the film is rather predictable but still entertaining, and Mara Corday is at least pleasant to the eye as she must have had her clothing painted onto her.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILER ALERT A volcanic eruption and earthquake in Mexico ravages the countryside and opens a fizzure into a subterranean world. When citizens turn up missing it's discovered that huge scorpions the size of tanker trucks are coming out of the hole and preying on the locals. An American and a Mexican scientist team up with a lady rancher to investigate and try to stop the killings, taking a perilous trip down into the bowels of the earth, where they witness battles to the death between oversized spiders, clawed worms, and scorpions. They seal the fizzure opening, but then find that several of the giant scorpions have escaped and are making their way towards Mexico City, devouring anything they come across. They attack a commuter train and peel the cars apart like bananas to eat the humans inside, but this is where the largest of them, a black 100-footer, turns on its smaller brethren and kills them all. The lone black scorpion goes on to the city where it engages in a violent battle with the Mexican Army's tanks and helicopters in the city's Colisseum before being electrocuted. As a big fan of Willis O'brien and Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion animation work, I was impressed with this low-budget monster flick as a youngster and remain so to this day. I found it on VHS a couple of years ago and was pleased to see it released on DVD recently (along with Harryhausen's "Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" and "Valley of Gwangi"). The budget for this movie is bare-bones and the acting and story dull, but the effects are incredible! O'Brien pulled out all the stops here and I've seen nothing in the genre more effective. The scenes in the cavern where the monster insects prey on each other and the human interlopers would raise the hair on anyone, and the attack on the train is absolutely nightmarish. The final battle between the black scorpion and the mechanized army is a tour de force, though the miniscule budget is glimpsed here and in a couple of other shots in the use of looped reels, repeated for padding. But if you're a fan of this stuff BUY IT. You won't be disappointed. Trivia Detail: I read in a review of the DVD release recently that O'Brien made use here of the spider models filmed in the "lost" cavern floor sequence in "King Kong" which was then edited out for being too scary.
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