Have Cheetah,Will View #318 – “The Black Scorpion” (1957)

Its 7:55 pm
twilight
A few days ago I was promoting a few older reviews on Facebook. My goal is that every review get at least 100 views and so I will take a few that haven’t been read and go to groups and share them.  A lot of films don’t need the boost but I still love sharing them and because people will come an support them.

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This is one of the reasons I love reviewing these older creature features,not only do older fans like myself have fond memories of these movies but the young fans do too.
Some of the creature features group we belong too are lively and quite spirited when talking about 1950-60s sci-fiction and fantasy movies. I can drop the same review about every other month and always get fresh feedback from fans who just love them.
When I told the cheetah that I had for a copy of “The Black Scorpion”,he came over and patted my head with a big paw and said “Well done!”. Of course I had help from our favorite deep cover asset “MP” Warner Brothers Archive who graciously sent us our copy!! And after watching “Terror 5” last night,we needed a good movie to watch!

So somewhere deep in Mexico,a huge earthquake strikes which triggers a massive volcano eruption. Geologists (and our heroes) Drs. Hank Scott (Richard Denning) and Arturo Ramos (Carlos Rivas) head on down to investigate the fallout of such a huge natural event.

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As the men get close to a small town called San Lorenzo,they stop for gas and water.
But the gas station is empty and the little neighborhood looks like its been destroyed,Hank and Arturo are mystified by a rattle…drawing guns,the two men search for the noise and come across an infant in a crib….as they explore more they see a destroyed police car,abandoned. Hank informs police HQ that the officer is missing..but then find his bloodless body a few minutes later. Hearing another strange noise,the two doctors don’t stick around but race for San Lorenzo.

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Hank and Arturo turn the baby over to friends of the family and learn that what is happening is not a isolated incident,many homes have been destroyed with people and livestock vanishing into thin air. The local priest is trying to calm the people who fear the strange roaring noise at night.  Hank and Arturo spend the night in San Lorenzo.

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The next day Hank and Arturo press on to the volcano and as they are resting,Hank spots a woman on horseback riding along a ridge,he makes a comment about the rider as he passes the binoculars to Arturo….who comments on how nice the horse looks. Hank realizes the woman has fallen off and the two men go to aid her. The woman is Teresa Alvarez (Mara Corday) who owns a nearby cattle ranch. Hank (of course) is instantly smitten with Teresa and postpones his and Arturo’s survey in order to take Teresa back to San Lorenzo.

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The Mexican Army has sent in troops to help with relief efforts when the trio gets back in town. The volcano blows again and then we see what has been roaming around at night,giant sized scorpions!!!
The scorpions attack a repair crew fixing the phone lines and kill the whole crew. The scorpions attack San Lorenzo,the army tries to stop them but the scorpions’s hide is too much for bullets to penetrate.

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Hank and Arturo come up with a plan to blow up the entry point from where the scorpions are coming up from. The two men go down in a basket not knowing a young boy whose family lives on Teresa’s ranch,has stowed away.  All three are amazed by the various huge spiders,worms and scorpions who live in massive tunnels. They watch as the kaiju fight among themselves and Hank picks up where the scorpions are weakest at. After several close calls Hank,Arturo and the boy,Juanito are rescued and the breach is closed…….or so they think.
Little do they know just how smart and hungry these scorpions are and soon they are on their way to Mexico City and no wall is going to stop these hungry immigrants!!

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So much fun!! The Black Scorpion is a true classic creature feature. Good build-up and at about 35 minutes into the movie,the scorpions are seen and they are ugly looking beasts.
Directed by the very able Edward Ludwig,”The Black Scorpion” came out the year after another creature feature classic,”Them!” which was about giant ants attacking Los Angeles. Filmmakers used the same roar from “Them!” in “Scorpion”.
Famed special effects pioneer Willis O’Brien co-designed the scorpions and also donated a few spiders and worms that weren’t used in the famous King Kong of 1933. The scorpions actually look pretty decent for their time….but in the final scenes,they had to use a silhouette scorpion because the budget was gone for the movie.

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The cast was good as well,Richard Denning did several monster films in the 1950s,including “The Creature From the Black Lagoon”. His chemistry with the striking Mara Corday is fun to watch and their dialogue was pretty spicy as well for its time.
All the actors looked like they were actually having a good time and the script wasn’t too hammy or silly.  All in all,”The Black Scorpion” should find a place in every fanboy/girl film collection.

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“The Black Scorpion” has a run time of 88 minutes and includes 3 small featurettes.
The movie looks fantastic on BluRay and I would recommend buying it in this format.
You can do just that by visiting the website of Warner Brothers Archive.

The cheetah and I gave “The Black Scorpion” two thumbs/two paws straight up.

Which creature feature should we try and review next? Leave your suggestions below and we’ll see what we can do!!

6 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will View #318 – “The Black Scorpion” (1957)

  1. Very good pick. I loved this old movie. Didn’t pick up that the “Them” sound was used in “Scorpion.” Makes sense, since old si-fy TV used the same effects. Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea and Lost in Space used some of the same. Gotta save money on special effects…

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    1. Glen Larson used the same sound effects for “Battlestar Galactica” and “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”. Tons of older TV shows used stock footage back in the day!

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  2. Best closing line ever: “Little do they know just how smart and hungry these scorpions are and soon they are on their way to Mexico City and no wall is going to stop these hungry immigrants!!”
    Lol !!
    That sounds pretty entertaining. Admittedly, I haven’t seen many creature features.
    More modern ones than older ones, I guess, so I can’t suggest any of the older ones to review. But among my favorites of later ones are:
    Mimic, Tremors, The Most, Carpenter’s The Thing, Monsters.

    I might have mentioned this before, but a “found footage” kind of movie called Trolllhunter (2010) turned out to be REALLY GOOD. I think you’d really like that one.

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    1. A great creature feature is always welcomed here and I love watching them quite a bit.
      Of course my favorite is Starship Troopers which in it’s heart is a creature feature. I have heard good things about Trollhunter….I’m trying to muster up my courage to watch “Relic” but I find myself hating it even before I give it a chance. Talk about destroying source material…phewwww!

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