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Movies From the Black Lagoon: From Hell It Came
Movies From the Black Lagoon
From Hell It Came - 1957, Unrated
By Tom Doty
Weekly Contributing Writer
Evil takes root on a small South Seas Island when a wronged native returns from the grave in the form of a tree monster in this sappy sci-fi flick from the rocking fifties.
The story begins with a great scene that finds Chief Kimo staked to the ground after being wrongly accused of killing the old chief. His accusers include Muranko (who also happens to be playing house with Mrs. Kimo) and the tribe's Witch Doctor. Kimo curses all three and vows to return and take them out (and I don't mean to dinner). The ritual ends with some awkward freestyle dancing that Kimo doesn't have to watch since he has been hastily, and probably happily, stabbed.
Now we cut to the American camp which a Doctor (not a Witch Doctor) named Bill shares with a female physician named Terry. Here we get more plots out of the way as they talk about working on the island and explain that they got there after Hiroshima because a freak (read inconvenient) Tsunami blew contaminated matter onto the islands.
That night Dr. Bill takes Terry out for a stroll to pressure her into giving up as a pioneering physician to have babies with him. They stumble across the native graveyard and see a tree stump emerging from Kimo's grave. They decide to come back the next day and investigate. They do and find that the tree grew dive feet overnight and now leaks radioactive sap. They opt to dig it up and take it back to their lab.
In the lab they discover a faint heartbeat that inspires Terry to give the stump a drug that is still being tested on monkeys. Rather than record the result they go away and are surprised to find that their patient has left the building (after trashing it like "The Who" in a Las Vegas hotel).
In no time the beast, now called Tobanga, goes after the names on its hit list. First one to go is Kimo's wife. It is pretty easy to nail her as she is exhausted from engaging in a far from convincing catfight with another female from the tribe. Tobanga drops her in some convenient quicksand and lumber son to his next victim. That turns out to be the chief who gets off one spear but totally misses Tobanga who is only three feet away. It must be said at this point that the sight of Tobanga appears to petrify (like a Forest) his victims. This is a good thing as Tobanga moves about as fast as an 87-year-old driver in a Mall Parking Lot.
By the time our American heroes get to the scene Tobanga has already killed the Witch Doctor. Now he is free to have fun so he limbers up by snatching Terry and carrying her off to the quicksand pond. Luckily the dagger that was used to kill him is still dangling from his chest and this is a 50's flick so everybody is good with a handgun. Doctor Bill turns out to be a crack shot and sends the dagger all the way into Tobanga's heart. He falls into the swamp and everyone hears it, as this is no deserted jungle. Unfortunately he doesn't resurface and has yet to do so making it high time for a sequel.
This one is terrible folks, but it's much more fun. The acting is wooden and I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that none of these natives are Polynesian (their accents suggests Brooklyn). That said the Tobanga suit is pretty cool. His head sprouts some wicked branches, his shoulders are stiff as boards, and his eyes, painted on, hit his marks and looks cool as he goes all Charles Bronson on the cast.
Best Lines: "Tobanga came to the village and killed Muranka."
"Why did I have to fall in love with a dedicated female scientist?"
"Don't you want a husband and children like most women?"
"Let's psychoanalyze the monster. Maybe its mother was scared by an Oak."
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.