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The Black Scorpion (1957) - Blu-ray Review

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The Black Scorpion (1957) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

3 beersDon’t be afraid to scream, ghouls and boils, this underground fantasy flick knows its way in the dark, but that doesn't mean something crawling across the floor won't bite the hell out of you. The subterranean gets slaughtered thanks to the stop motion animated fury of The Black Scorpion.

The hills are alive with the sound of … screaming? Thanks to a sudden earthquake in Mexico, the terrain has permanently changed. There’s a new volcano in town as a result and, with it, comes something ancient and terrifying. And there’s no exterminator in the area equipped with enough Off! to deal with this prehistoric nightmare.

Giant scorpions! ERMAHGERD!

Directed by Edward Ludwig (The Fighting Seabees) and produced by The Ape Man’s Jack Dietz, this Mexican-American science fiction flick is best remembered thanks to the involvement of the man who brought King Kong to life: Willis O'Brien. His stop motion animation special effects are top notch and electrify what is otherwise a rather mundane tale of the woes of two geologists, Dr. Hank Scott (Richard Denning) and Dr. Arturo Ramos (Carlos Rivera), as they race against time battling something that even the cattle can smell heading their way. They just need to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

The villagers believe the area just south of the border to be cursed by a demonic bull.   It’s not, but that doesn’t stop a 30-foot-long shrieking inchworm from making an appearance. As houses shake apart, cars are thrashed to and fro, and bean and tortilla fed babies are found buried in the rubble, it soon becomes obvious that there is another explanation for the new terror. And it is headed straight for Mexico City.

 

This Mexican-American science fiction flick is best remembered thanks to the involvement of the man who brought King Kong to life: Willis O'Brien.


 

And their discovery of the murderer begins with the scorpion they find tucked inside some fossilized lava. Once cracked, the little monster tumbles out, still alive. it even squeaks like a mouse.   Yet another warning goes unnoticed and then, thanks to a seriously deranged close-up of special effects gooiness, the mutant-sized scorpions attack those trying to restore power to the area hit the worse by the earthquake.

The destruction begins. We are about 30 minutes into the flick and suddenly San Lorenzo meets its maker. Even the disaster relief needs assistance because these giant insects mean serious business. It is a sequence of stop motion animation that hasn’t been forgotten yet. The camera moves with the scorpions and provides all sorts of great angles as these bad boys push trucks off cliffs, chase men up telephone poles, and ravage the countryside.

There’s no escaping this shellacking. Just look at the reaction of local rancher Teresa Alvarez (Mara Corday) and members of the Mexican army, led by Major Cosio (Arturo Martínez), as they suddenly realize just how difficult it is going to be shank these insects right in the throat.

Watch the southern border (and a little boy) get stung repeatedly by giant insects and a whole host of creepy crawlies in The Black Scorpion. This low-budget sci-fi thriller is now available on blu-ray thanks to Warner Bros Archive Collection.

 

Film Details

The Black Scorpion (1957) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime: 88 mins
Director: Edward Ludwig
Writer: David Duncan, Robert Blees
Cast: Richard Denning, Mara Corday, Carlos Rivas
Genre: Horror
Tagline: A chilling blend of American Graffiti and Psycho.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Well, the alcohol, the distilled water, the salt solution - I can understand that, but what's the tequila for?"
Theatrical Distributor: Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date: October 11, 1957
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: Mar 20, 2018
Synopsis: Volcanic activity frees giant scorpions from the earth who wreak havoc in the rural countryside and eventually threaten Mexico City.

 

The Black Scorpion (1957) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros.
Available on Blu-ray - March 20, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Warner Bros’ Archive Collection continues to roll out some hard to find titles on 1080p with the release of The Black Scorpion. The newly minted MPEG-4 AVC transfer – framed in 1.78:1 with 2K scanning by Warner's Motion Picture Imaging facility – also sports a solid sounding lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack and a crisp black-and-white image. The film grain is solid and there is no visible dirt during the running time. Everything is smooth sailing on this upgrade. Some of the details in the costumes and in the creature design reveals the absolute cheapness of the studio, but I suppose that’s part of the fun in watching this b-movie.

Supplements:

Commentary:

None

Special Features:

Fans of Ray Harryhausen get a special treat with the supplemental items included here. Overall, this is a great release for stop motion animation fanatics.

Stop Motion Masters with Ray Harryhausen

Las Vegas Monster and the Beetlemen Test Footage

Ray Harryhausen’s Dinosaur Sequence from The Animal World

Giant Monsters Trailer Gallery

Theatrical Trailer

 

The Black Scorpion (1957) - Blu-ray Review

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