Armington Mail

70s Creature Feature Like You’ve Never Seen Before

Creature from Black Lake

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Year Released: 1976, 2022 (Synapse blu-ray/DVD)
Runtime: 1h 35m
Director(s): Joy Houck, Jr.
Writer(s): Jim McCullough Jr.
Cast: Jack Elam, Dub Taylor, Dennis Fimple, John David Carson, Bill Thurman
Where To Watch: Available at Synapse Films or Diabolik DVD

RAVING REVIEW: Billed as a drive-in classic, this is the type of film you know what you’re getting into before watching, and that’s okay. Movies like this need to exist, they’re fun, but they’re fun because of the heart they have.

No one will look up CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE and expect Oscar-caliber performances. Nothing upsets me more than when someone trashes a film like this; I promise you, if you go into it in the right mindset (midnight showing with a group of friends), you will have a blast.

What this film does (for the most part) is what modern horror films should learn from. If you follow my page, you’ll know I’m not a fan of “seeing the scary,” and this film does it wonderfully. Most of the time, the creature is shown via shadows, glimpses, blurred, etc. It was a man in a monkey suit, so working on a budget made them creative. Feeling like a mix of a FRIDAY THE 13TH film meets bigfoot; you get most of the good.

This is a “bigfoot” movie, but it was done in a way that puts the dramatic aspects first. At no point did I feel like I needed to see the creature ripping people in half; there are some horror elements to it, but they aren’t exaggerated, making the creature feature feel somewhat more grounded than you would expect. There may be some elements a younger audience would consider “scary,” but the PG rating is at home for the most part. It’s PG and worked well within those boundaries.

- Brand-new 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative
- Audio commentary with author/filmmaker Michael Gingold and film historian Chris Poggiali
- SWAMP STORIES – All-new featurette with Director of Photography Dean Cundey
- Original theatrical trailer and radio spots
- Newly translated optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

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[photos courtesy of SYNAPSE FILMS]