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“Dang creature . . . I’m gonna get my shotgun and make a rug outta that damn thing!” And Jack Elam is just the one who can do it! Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they make a trip to the bayou to check out Creature from Black Lake (1976) and its new Synapse Films Blu-ray, released December 13, 2022. It’s a beauty!
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 178 – Creature from Black Lake (1976)
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Two young students from the University of Chicago hear of the mysterious happenings at Black Lake and armed with a van packed with scientific equipment set out to solve the mystery.
- Director: Joy N. Houck Jr.
- Writer: Jim McCullough Jr.
- Produced by: Jim McCullough (Sr.)
- Production Company: Jim McCullough Productions
- Distributors: Howco International Pictures (1976) (USA) (theatrical)
- Music by: Jaime Mendoza-Nava
- Cinematography by: Dean Cundey
- Film Editing by: Robert Gordon
- Sound: Thomas Causey
- Creature design: Dean Cundey (uncredited)
- Makeup Department: Charlene Cundey (makeup artist)
- Poster Artist: Ralph McQuarrie
- Selected cast:
- Jack Elam as Joe Canton
- Dub Taylor as Grandpaw Bridges
- Dennis Fimple as Pahoo
- John David Carson as Rives
- Bill Thurman as Sheriff Billy Carter
- Jim McCullough Jr. as Orville Bridges
- Roy Tatum as Fred/Creature
- Cathryn Hartt as Eve-Waitress (as Catherine McClenny)
- Becky Smiser as Becky Carter
- Michelle Willingham as Michelle
- Evelyn Hindricks as Grandma Bridges
- Roger Pancake as H.B.
- Karen Brooks as Orville’s Mother
- Chase Tatum as Baby Orville
- Jim Garth as Willy (uncredited)
- Bob Kyle as Rufus
- Joy N. Houck Jr. as Prof. Burch (as J.N. Houck Jr.)
- I.M. ‘Buddy’ Brumley Jr. as Barber (uncredited)
To begin with, your Decades of Horror 1970s Grue Crew are universally impressed with the quality in the look and sound of the new Synapse Films Blu-ray release of Creature from Black Lake. In the past, many of the crew had seen the film in a cropped, pan-and-scan version on TV or videotape. They discovered that Creature from Black Lake is an excellent movie that had been marred by the poor quality of many of the prints to which they had access. The Synapse Blu-ray release is a great showcase for Dean Cundy’s cinematography and facilitates a far more enjoyable viewing experience. As far as bigfoot movies of the era, Creature from Black Lake moves to the top among a select few. Synapse did a great service to horror fans in restoring Creature from Black Lake to this pristine, widescreen format.
After gushing over the Synapse Blu-ray, the Grue-Crew gushes equally over the movie itself. A great cast of character actors led by Jack Elam, Dub Taylor, Bill Thuman, Dennis Fimple, and John David Carson, supported by a well-cast group of locals, makes Creature from Black Lake a heck of a fun watch. In fact, they were having so much fun, they forgot to mention that Cathryn Hartt (credited as Catherine McClenny), who played Eve-the-waitress, is Morgan Fairchild’s sister. And be assured, there are plenty of creature shenanigans to supply the tension required in a good bigfoot film.
The crew’s thanks go out to Synapse Films for supplying them with the Blu-ray screeners! The official release date is Tuesday, December 13, 2022. You can purchase your copy at Creature from Black Lake (1080p Blu-ray + Limited Edition Slipcover) – Synapse Films. You know you want it!
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be Count Dracula (1970), directed by Jesús “Jess” Franco and starring Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Klaus Kinski, Maria Rohm, and Soledad Miranda. Yes, Grue Believers, this is their first Jess Franco movie.
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