Movies in a Halloween spirit on Oct. 30
SALISBURY — Fans of classic horror films have a terrific double bill Sunday, Oct. 30, at the Scoville Memorial Library, with “The Thing from Another World” (1951) and “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954).In “The Thing,” a flying saucer crashes in the Arctic not too far from an American station, and it turns out that the pilot is a large, bulletproof, bloodsucking alien fiend.It’s sometimes instructive to go back to contemporary reviews, and Bosley Crowther of The New York Times perhaps stumbled on the essential subtext of “the Thing” when he wrote:“The film is full of unexpected thrills as the head scientist, a Nobel Prize winner no less, wants to protect and study the find and the army lads just want to stay alive.”“The Thing” is one of the great Cold War films, which often feature idealistic but dense scientists. You can tell them from regular American men by their little pointed beards, turtleneck sweaters and double-breasted blazers.And when a scientist has to be physically restrained from allowing the giant bloodsucking alien fiend from running amok in the tight confines of the Arctic observation station, he is obviously some kind of Commie.The subtext of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” is that beautiful young girls should be darn careful about dark scaly beings.The Creature, or “Gill-Man,” is discovered hanging around in a geologic fluke of a black lagoon somewhere up the Amazon. One scientist wants to harpoon him; another wants to study him, and the girl just wants to go swimming.Unlike a lot of 1950s films, which feature ordinary critters such as ants mutated by radiation into giant marauding killer ants, there is no atomic problem at the black lagoon. Just a peaceful gill-man hanging around the grotto. Until She shows up.So is the film a somber warning against stirring things up with too much science? A none-too-subtle fable of the dangers of miscegnation? (The film was made in 1954, after all, and premiered on a double bill with “Brown vs. Board of Education.”)Or was it simply an expression of generalized dread, with a great costume?Originally in 3D, with those goofy glasses that never really worked.At the Scoville Memorial Library, Sunday, Oct. 30, 4 p.m.. Admission is free.