The Black Scorpion

Year of Release: 1957
Running Time: 88 Minutes
DVD Released By: Warner Brothers
Directed By: Edward Ludwig
Writing Credits: Robert Blees, David Duncan, Paul Yawitz (Story)
Filming Locations: Mexico City, Mexico D.F., Mexico

Starring: Richard Denning (Hank Scott), Mara Corday (Teresa Alvarez), Carlos Rivas (Artur Ramos), Mario Navarro (Juanito), Carlos Múzquiz (Dr. Velazco), Pascual García Peña (José de la Cruz), Fanny Schiller (Florentina), Pedro Galván (Father Delgado), Arturo Martínez (Major Cosio)


Tagline 1:
Don't be ashamed to scream - It helps to relieve the tension.

Tagline 2: The management reserves the right to put up the lights any time the audience becomes too emotionally disturbed. We urge you not to panic or bolt from your seats.

Tagline 3:
Every Horror You've Seen on the Screen Grows Pale Beside the Horror of THE BLACK SCORPION!

Tagline 4: They came from below...to create hell on earth!


Alternate Titles:

I was unable to locate any alternate titles for this film.

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Mara Corday's not only smokin' hot in this film, but the following year she became Playboy's Playmate of the Month for October 1958. She gave up acting in 1960 to concentrate on motherhood and her family. She came back to it however starting in 1974 after the death of her husband, actor Richard Long, playing bit parts in her friend Clint Eastwood's movies. Clint Eastwood had a bit part in one of her movies as well, playing an uncredited jet squadron leader in 1955's Tarantula. Mario Navarro, who played Juanito in this film, had a nine year film career, but only appeared in twelve roles during that time. Of these, the only other b-type movie he appeared in was 1956's, The Beast of Hollow Mountain.




Cast of Characters

Hank Scott: Imagine if John Wayne was a kinda nerdy geologist who studied volcanoes, went cave exploring, got hot chicks and fought giant scorpions and you pretty much got this guy nailed. Hank's a good guy and he's pretty brave too for a nerdy geologist. Apparently Teresa thought so as well since it was pretty much love at first sight between them.

Artur Ramos: This guy was Hank's sidekick. He seemed pretty nerdy too, but like Hank, he was brave when it came to doing all the dangerous stuff. Unfortunately for him, there wasn't a girl for him to get, so he kinda ended up with Dr. Velazco at the end cleaning up all the mess after they killed the granddaddy giant scorpion. Sucks to be him huh?

Teresa Alvarez: Teresa runs a cattle ranch that's been in her family for years. Her father ran it before her and her men are loyal to her even though they're scared to death of whatever's been killing the cattle and destroying everything around there. She happened to meet Hank and Artur when she was out riding her horse one day when they were passing by. The horse got spooked and she got dumped down the side of a hill and knocked unconscious. Little did she know she'd end up getting a husband out of it.

Juanito: This kid is a royal pain in the ass. He's a relative of Teresa's housekeeper I think. He's like seven and a half years old and he wants to help out like a full grown man. Needless to say they kept trying to shuffle him aside, and also needless to say he kept popping up in the worst places at the worst possible times and was really no help at all. See, like I said...pain in the ass. Someone needs to duct tape this kid to a wall somewhere.
Dr. Velazco: This guy knows everything about everything apparently. Kinda like the professor on Gilligan's Island. Not only does he analyze and identify the poison from the scorpions, but he also figures out a way to kill their daddy with what basically amounts to a harpoon gun, a wire and 600,000 volts of electricity. Now if he could just work a way to get some coconuts in there, he'd finally be able to get them off that damn island too.
Dr. Jose de la Cruz: This guy looks like Wolfman Jack...if he were a Mexican doctor who liked to drink tequila on his coffee breaks and really didn't have the analytical skills of a real doctor like Dr. Velazco. He wasn't too bad though. He did figure out that whatever was killing everything was injecting them with some kind of a poison. Oh, and he found a giant footprint from one of them and made a plaster cast of it as well, so I guess he's got a little on the ball.
Father Delgado: This guy is the village priest, and like all village priests, is about as useful as a turd in a punch bowl. All he really does is stand out in the crowd and point so people know which way to run. Hell, all they'd have to do is look at what the hell it is they're running from and they should automatically know which way they should be running. If they don't, then they deserve what they get. Anyway, he brings Hank and Artur in and let's them sleep in his church or house or whatever it was the night they got to the village and then told them about what's been going on there and what rumors were going around amongst the people. Other than that, he really didn't do much of any consequence.



Screen Shots

"Dude, I know we're totally lost right now, but look what I found on the ground over here! It's a magical, pointy road sign! I'll just lean it up against this rock over here and the town will magically appear in the direction the arrow's pointing."


"But what if it's not a magic sign and you just pointed it in the wrong direction?"


"But...it is magic. See, it says the name of the town right here...and it's pointing that way."


"If I didn't need you to push the jeep after we drive around in circles for the next three hours and run out of gas, I'd SO be kickin' your ass right now."


"Dude, seriously! Magic sign! Let's go!"


"Oh man you suck."

"I dunno what killed all those people, but I got a got a whole can of teeth magic whup ass to open up on them! One look at these babies and they'll run screaming into the night! I know, because the same thing happened with my last three dentists. It's ok though, because I got a new dentist now...and he's blind. Sure he drills five teeth before he finds the right one, but at least he sticks around long enough to get the job done."


Somehow, Mexican teeth magic just isn't as funny. The Japanese kinda cornered the market on that gag. Still, it's been a while, so I had to throw a teeth magic goof in here somewhere just to keep the joke alive. His teeth are pretty funky though. Looks like he's got a mouth full of jumping beans.


(Reviewer's Note: If you've been a fan of this site for a long time, you'll get the running gag with the Japanese teeth magic thing. If you're new, then check out my Godzilla vs. Monster Zero review. That's where it all began.)

"Lopez, have you been drinking the urine samples again?"

"Juanito, let me tell you a little somethin' my father told me when I was your age. Don't ever marry. Oh sure, women are all pretty dresses and perfume when you're first dating them...but it's just a trap. Once they have you tricked into believing all that stuff, they marry you, and then the first thing they do is start wearing giant underpants and going to bed with green goo on their face and curlers in their hair. Oh, and you can pretty much kiss off having any friends, because she'll never let you go anywhere with them without nagging you constantly about where you've been and what you've been doing."


"But señor, I'm only seven and a half."


"Well son, it's never too early to learn. Now, while you're down there, shine my boots. Do a good job and I'll give you a bright, shiny nickel."

Hank forgot to tell Juanito that after the divorce, they all end up looking like this. Oh well, I'm sure he'll find out on his own eventually.



Best Quotes

Hank Scott: "Look at this kid. Not a peep out of him. You know, if I ever have any of my own I think I'll feed 'em beans and tortillas too. Then I'll be able to get some sleep nights."


- Hank talking to Artur after they found the baby in the abandoned house and the baby was all quiet and not crying or anything. - (Reviewer's Note: You feed your kids beans and tortillas and you're gonna have a whole different sound comin' out of 'em that'll keep you up at night.)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

The Black Scorpion
One of the giant scorpions fights with this wormy thing with claws. Dunno what the hell it was supposed to be, but I hope for its sake it wasn't the last of it's kind, 'cause it didn't do so good.



Summary and Conclusion

There was a volcanic eruption and some earthquakes related to it down in Mexico. A geologist from the United States, Hank Scott, and his Mexican partner, Artur Ramos, are sent to do research in the area. Once they get there though, they start encountering strange things. Dead bodies, torn up vehicles, destroyed houses...and a mystery that needs to be solved. The local villagers think it's some kind of a demon bull that's causing all the mayhem, death and destruction. Turns out they were wrong. It was actually a giant black scorpion, and it wasn't alone. See, when the eruptions started, it exposed this massive underground cave system that winds it's way all around the area and even as far away as Mexico City. Well it turns out that there's a huge number of these scorpions living down there along with a variety of other giant beasties. With the upper world open to them now, the scorpions venture out in search of food, and it's up to our heroes, their new friend (and Hank's new love interest) Teresa Alvares, who owns a nearby cattle ranch, a scientist by the name of Dr. Velazco and the boys from the Mexican army to stop them.


Ray Harryhausen is a household name when it comes to stop motion creature animation in films. Willis O'Brien, who did the effects for this and many other films, may not be as much of a household name as Ray Harryhausen, but he does have an impressive body of work to his credit including films like The Son of Kong, The Lost World and Mighty Joe Young just to name a few. In this film, he did a tremendous job basically creating a nest of scorpions, and in many scenes, had several scorpions going at once and even had them fighting with themselves and other monsters. In one spectacular scene, two scorpions derailed a train and started picking up and killing people who were running away from the wreckage. Then, the big daddy scorpion comes along and kills the two smaller, albeit still giant scorpions, for no particular reason. I guess maybe he just didn't like the competition for the food, because earlier he killed some other of the smaller giant scorpions so he could eat the giant clawed worm they'd just killed. Needless to say, if you're looking for great monster action, you're going to find it in this film.


The acting in this film was really quite good, and yet it was also very typical of the style of acting that you'll find in most films of this era. Most of the characters in this film were really quite likeable, and everyone, I thought anyway, pulled off their characters quite well. The only one that may be an exception to this would be Juanito, but only because his dialogue didn't sound natural enough. Then again, he was seven and a half years old and speaking in a second language, so that could be why.


One thing I found particularly strange in this film is that the cop the guys were talking to on the radio after they found the destroyed police car, sounded like a white guy that just walked out of an episode of Dragnet. Later on in the movie, when the big daddy scorpion came to Mexico city and there were alerts being broadcast to the public, it also sounded like a Dragnet white guy with perfect English. It made me wonder. If this is happening in Mexico, why would they be broadcasting alerts in English? Anyway, it just struck me funny, but it's not detrimental to the film or anything.


This movie is a prime example of why I love classic b-movies so much. It's got everything. It's got heroic characters, a hot chick, great special effects and best of all, great monsters! They really went all out too. There were huge running crowd scenes, scenes with heavy equipment and military vehicles, lots of guns and artillery, a huge, creepy cave system - the whole nine yards. I think the only thing I could really complain about in this film is that there were too many of the cool scenes shot at night, so they were awfully dark and it made it hard to see what was really going on.


The long and the short of it though is, this is a great film. This is exactly what classic monster movies should be. It's fun, and the animation and effects with the scorpions and other creatures gives it a coolness factor that's hard to beat. What's even better is that the DVD has a bunch of cool extras on it as well, including a stop motion masters featurette with Ray Harryhausen, some never before seen test footage of some different monsters, an animated dinosaur sequence that Ray Harryhausen did for a film called The Animal World, and a collection of trailers for other giant monster movies. It's really a great DVD and I would highly recommend that any of you out there who love these kinds of films should add it to your collection as soon as possible. You won't be sorry you did.

B-Movie Central's Rating: 5 Bees!

Purchase this film from Amazon:
or

Purchase this film from Movies Unlimited:

Unseen Things: Origins



My series of contemporary fantasy / sci-fi novels, Unseen Things is now available through the official website, Amazon, Smashwords and other online retail sites.

BMC Facebook Page




Donations

If you enjoy this site, please consider making a donation.

alt

Affiliates




Login Form