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Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2016

The Lagoon is Still Now

Posted Thursday, March 13, 2008, at 9:25 AM

R.I.P., Ben.
Here's a name I never knew but should have: Ben Chapman. I had never heard of him, yet I certainly was aware of his work. Right now I have a poster on my wall from his most famous film. And he also caused me some pretty uncomfortable times, though I don't hold it against him.

I didn't learn his name until I read his obituary. Ben Chapman was the man who portrayed The Creature from the Black Lagoon. (Well, the walking-around version. Someone else did the underwater swimming.)

My reaction to Mr. Chapman's portrayal back when I first saw it was pretty strong. The image of him popping up from behind a log (with that loud, three-note crescendo) was never far from my mind when I was in or around the murky, Black Lagoony lake I grew up next to. Bream nibbling on my ankles were always interpreted as his boney claws about to grab, and every fish or turtle that rolled over near the surface was him bobbing up to scope me out before coming in for the attack. It was a very long time before I was able to get in the water without worrying about him. (Then "Jaws" came out. But that's another story.)

He even invaded my bedroom on at least one occasion. Or at least the shadow from the window looked enough like him to make it seem prudent to bolt off yelling down the hall in my underwear just to be on the safe side. Nobody else in the household seemed too sympathetic with my explanation. They assumed that the house was on fire or something. But surely you'll agree that if a person is, for whatever reason, convinced that the Creature from the Black Lagoon is in his bedroom, running screaming down the hall is the logical thing to do.

I regret that now that I know his name, it's too late to send him a fan letter.

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"The Tingler" was one of the films of shock-shlock impresario, William Castle. In some theaters there were actually electical buzzers in some of the seats to shock people when the lights went out. Imagine the lawsuits that would engender nowadays.

I have a crystal-clear memory of watching "The Tingler," but I saw it on television. It scared me almost literally to death. The screen going black wasn't all that scary on television, of course. It's other stuff I remember. But if I had seen "The Tingler" in a theater, I assume I would have died of fright.

It also features Vincent Price taking LSD and having a bad trip, which is something you don't see every day.

-- Posted by kenteutsch on Mon, Mar 17, 2008, at 9:00 AM

My childhood memories at the Frances Theater are dominated by a scary movie called "The Tingler",,,,,during the movie the screen went blank and said the Tingler was in the Theater,,,,,,, made an indelible impression on my young impressionable mind.............

-- Posted by Johnny Yuma on Sun, Mar 16, 2008, at 9:27 PM

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