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“Well, in your country I believe they call it a coffee break.”

I was joined again by my non-Mistie wife for the viewing of this movie.  I had learned the worms and trap-door spider were left over from the original King Kong, a scene cut from the Skull Island sequence, and that piqued her curiosity.  I’d put the original Kong in my personal top 20 movies.  Kind of like Them, it shows how good the genre can be.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this is the best movie I’ve watched so far in this project.  There are really only two flaws with the film: 1) some of the shots of the Scorpion chasing the crowds in Mexico City are just horrid looking.  That doesn’t make sense, since they did such a good job with the spider and Juanito in the caverns.  2) Juanito.  He is so unnecessary, not really a character but a plot device to create tension.  As my wife said, so much of what is going on in the movie makes sense, the bad decisions surrounding what to do with Juanito are even more grating.

I know the scorpion heads were not the best, but I think that is more in comparison to the stop motion models in the movie.  It is acceptable for the era, but a bit of a letdown after watching Willis O’Brien’s models tear up the scenery.

My wife would add the ‘creepy’ banter between Dr. Scott and Teresa Alvarez to the flaws in the movie.  I can see her point, but I’ve watch John Agar banter, and that is creepy.

Another movie which did not have a lot of time cut for the SOL.  The opening about the rise of the volcanos has a little more depth and stock footage. There is an extended scene where Dr. Scott and Dr. Ramos are having dinner with Father Delgado.  That scene is interesting because the discussion is not about scorpions or the like, but about the belief in a Demon Bull (hinted at by Dr. Ramos at the destroyed house) the peasants are blaming the destruction on.  I suppose if the movie had been called anything but The Black Scorpion, we could have been dealing with a bait and switch monster.  Two short scenes are cut with the telephone linesmen.  An establishing scene as the Doctors are heading towards San Lorenzo, were it is revealed how isolated and cut off the town is after the volcano appearance.  And, the attack of the scorpions on the linemen is longer in the original as well.

Watchability: 5 of 5.  A very good 50’s ‘big bug’ movie.  The script and acting aren’t completely outshined by the special effects.  The leads are people of some talent and the writing mostly makes sense.  Even Juanito can’t ruin this one.  Defiantly will watch again and again.

Missing the Riffs: 5 of 5.  Didn’t miss the SOL crew one bit.  I actually prefer the full version.

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