Plot: A volcanic eruption has rocked a small town in Mexico, so some geologists arrive to survey the situation and gather research. Hank (Richard Dennings) and Arturo (Carlos Rivas) are the point men and they discover some odd circumstances, the kind of things that a volcano isn’t responsible for. This includes damage homes and cars, as well as dead bodies, all of which are well off the path of the volcano’s wrath and the quakes that followed. A strange geode is soon discovered, which seems to have encased a scorpion and when it is cracked open, the scorpion is still alive. This means some strange things are going on beneath the surface and the volcano may have unleashed more than just some lava. But could scorpions be responsible for the severe damage done and if so, can anyone stop their march of destruction?
Entertainment Value: While some b movies don’t live up to the promise of their titles, not only does The Black Scorpion give us a scorpion on the loose, it delivers numerous scorpions and even more monster movie madness. The narrative here is rather run of the mill, but it throws in science and gets us to where we need to be, which is watching as giant scorpions unleash hell in Mexico. I always appreciate the science in these b movies, even if it makes no sense and this is no exception, with a world of wonder just below the planet’s surface. The pace is fine and while things take a while to spool up, once we meet the scorpions things pick up and a big chunk of the movie is devoted to the monsters. So no, this isn’t one of those movies with one or two monster scenes, but a host of them, including bonus monsters, no less. Richard Denning leads the cast and he is always fun in these kind of creature features, while Mara Corday and Carlos Rivas also have prominent roles. The performances are passable and suitable for the genre, with Dennings as a standout. I think The Black Scorpion is a lot of fun and while perhaps the story is a little bland at times, the movie delivers where it counts, with a wealth of fun monster mayhem scenes.
This is a 50s monster movie, so no nakedness. I mean, even if they did want to indulge in some romance, with giant scorpions running wild, that might have been too risky of a proposition. No blood. These kind of movies rarely involved bloodshed driven action, so the lack of blood is no surprise. But on the creature front, this one is packed and features a host of massive scorpions, a bizarre, oversized worm, a huge trapdoor spider, and some fun human models as well. The effects were done by Willis O’Brien and Pete Peterson, with some of the models left over from unused sequences in the original King Kong. The work is terrific and the monsters look so cool here, complete with battles and other fun interactions. If you appreciate old school special effects, especially stop motion animation, this is must see material. The dialogue here is as campy as you think, but it does have some science lingo, smooth talk from Denning, and some fun dramatic panic moments. Aside from the light camp vibe and abundance of wild monster scenes, this one isn’t all that crazy, but it sure is fun.
Overall Insanity: 2/10