THE BLACK SCORPION (1957). Director: Edward Ludwig.
"I'll not protect him from the devil just by lighting candles."
If the residents of Mexico didn't have enough problems with a massive earthquake and subsequent lava flow, things get even worse when a crack in the earth unleashes once-dormant prehistoric -- and man-eating -- scorpions of enormous size from a fissure.Willis O'Brien of King Kong fame supervised the special effects, and Pete Peterson did some splendid animation, creating scuttling, fast-moving, fluid horrors like something out of a nightmare. There's a harrowing sequence set in an underground cavern full of giant scorpions and other monsters, as well as an effectively grotesque scene when the scorpions attack a train. The biggest scorpion -- "the granddaddy of them all" -- then kills off all of the smaller ones and rampages through Mexico city for a climax in a bullring. In a movie like this the actors hardly matter, but Richard Denning [Michael Shayne] and Mara Corday [Girls on the Loose] are the nominal stars as, respectively, a geologist and a ranch owner. Carlos Rivas [Dr. Ramos], Pascal Garcia Pena [Dr. de la Cruz], and Mario Navarro [little Juanito] also appeared in The Beast of Hollow Mountain the previous year. NOTE: For more about this and similar films, see Creature Features: Nature Turned Nasty in the Movies.
Verdict: Crude at times but undeniably exciting. ***.