Like any self-respecting film buff, I of course have piles of DVDs, and loads of VHS tapes that take up much of my shelf and floor space.
Still, I also love going to revival theaters whenever something cool is playing, because the right audience can make a movie even better, and bring it to life off the screen.
I regretted missing a big 3D festival that came here years ago that not only showed the first 3D feature, Bwana Devil, but also screened several 3D flicks for the last time publicly before they were going to be stashed away in a vault for safe keeping.
So when The Creature From the Black Lagoon came to the New Beverly Theater as part of an all night horror marathon, no way I was missing it.
My personal favorite 3D films, other than Avatar, are the early ones, Creature From the Black Lagoon, House of Wax, and It Came From Outer Space. And funny enough, I’d never seen any of them in 3D until the horror marathon, as they aren’t available in 3D for home viewing.
Creature was shown as part of the 4th Annual Horrorthon at the New Beverly, a great little theater in L.A. The show went until 7 in the morning, I saw several fans brought pillows, and the rest of the films on the bill, like Beyond the Door and Hell Night, I could take or leave, but Creature was a great history lesson in 3D I was glad to see. Not to mention you gotta love a theater that has posted on the walls: “ABSOLUTELY NO TEXTING Allowed During the Film!!!”
Creature was in the red and blue lensed 3D, and like Avatar, the real fun was seeing the separation the 3D gave the movie. There were definitely cool “outies,” or things that jumped out of the screen like the creature’s claws and the spearguns shooting in your face, but for the underwater scenes it was great to see the definition with the fish, and how they all appeared to be alive on the screen.
Also a cool effect was the rear screen projection, which is usually funny to point out, but in Creature, whatever was in the foreground of the rear screen projection was even more pronounced and in the audience. As the boat was going up the Amazon river, it gave great depth and perspective, made you feel you were floating up the water, and that the water was washing over the audience as well.
Other highlights include how 3D brought out the sun streaks from the surface, how the air bubbles and kelp came out of the screen, and there were also moments you could feel the depth underwater as well. Not to mention you could see where Spielberg took a trick or two for Jaws, especially the underwater shots of the Creature’s love interest, Julie Adams.
The 3D of the time of course wasn’t perfect, there were scenes where you still got double vision and split images, but the print still looked very good, and in today’s full color, hi-def world of 3D, it was a lot of fun to watch an old school 3D flick with the red and blue glasses. It was especially fun to see how far 3D has come since, and how an old school 3D flick can still hold up after nearly sixty years.