On this day, 21 May, in 1954, Monster From the Ocean Floor, was released. It is most known for being the first film that Roger Corman produced.
It tells the story of Julie (Anne Kimbell) — a young artist vacationing in Mexico. She hears the story of a sea monster. Then, when a diver is killed, she decides to search for it rather than act like a regular human.
Corman apparently got the idea for the film when he learned about the one-person submarine that is featured in the film. It’s also its worst aspect. Maybe it wasn’t at the time. But now, it just seems like a weird technology and the way it is used at the end of the film is ridiculous.
There’s a subplot about the local people’s belief that if “the fairest” is sacrificed, they will all be safe. And that leads to an old woman forcing a young man to do what must be done. But when it comes to it, he can’t because he’s Mexican, and “some, I assume, are good people.”
The actual monster in the film is unimpressive — even compared to It Conquered the World. And we don’t see much of it. That’s true both because the underwater scenes just don’t look as clear as the scenes in Creature from the Black Lagoon (which I assume was shot in a tank). But also: it just doesn’t get much screen time.
What’s really impressive is the sequence with the shark. Kimbell is in the water with a shark that is about six-feet long. And it clearly swims past her a couple of times — once in quite a menacing way.
I have no idea how they did this. For one thing, the shark makes several passes. These scenes were shot in the ocean. How did they get the shark back? More important: how did they get Kimbell to do these scenes?!
The shark is doubtless not one known to attack humans. But I don’t care! It could be a vegetarian for all I care. There is no way I would get in the ocean with that shark! My hat is off to Anne Kimbell!