Relive the Glory Days of the Drive-In with Creature From Black Lake

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Creature from Black Lake

1976’s Creature from Black Lake, directed by Joy N. Houck Jr., finally comes to Blu-ray from SYNAPSE FILMS. This long-forgotten film, produced in the double feature drive-in days, is more of a character-driven story than the gore and exploitation from films of that era, mixing humor and suspense along with very little on-screen horror to create a tale more about the characters rather than an ominous creature lurking in the woods.

Harkening back to the success of films such as The Legend of Boggy Creek, this film was cashing in on the Bigfoot hype and hysteria of the day and was made to be released first on the drive-in circuit, then re-released theatrically in 1982 as part of a multi-film package, 5 Deranged Features.

The story revolves around our two protagonists, Pahoo (Dennis Fimple, House of 1000 Corpses) and Rives (John David Carson, Empire of the Ants), taking a trip down south from the University of Chicago to search for a “bigfoot” type creature that was reported in the bayous of Louisiana, terrorizing a small town. Most of the film is them talking to the townspeople, getting stories about the creature while dodging the town’s sheriff (Bill Thurman, The Last Picture Show) who wants desperately to keep things nice and quiet.

The character actors chosen to play different townspeople is where this film shines. Veteran actor Jack Elam (Cannonball Run films, Rawhide) steals the film as Trapper Joe, who first sees the creature when it attacks and drowns his hunting partner while boating on Black Lake. Not to be outdone, Walter Clarence "Dub" Taylor Jr. (Used Cars, Back to the Future III) also was a welcome surprise playing Grandpa Bridges, who takes in the two college students and tells them his own creature story (but only after hearing the mention of a reward). The addition of these two veteran character actors makes the film 100% more enjoyable and give the audience some much needed natural humor, saving us from some of the forced jokes that falls flat from the main characters.


SYNAPSE FILMS packs this special edition Blu-ray with as many features as were available for this forgotten film:

-Exclusive slipcover design from Justin Coffee (Limited to only 2500 slipcovers) only available direct from Synapse Films & DiabolikDVD

-Brand-new 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative

-Audio commentary with author/filmmaker Michael Gingold and film historian Chris Poggiali

-SWAMP STORIES – All-new featurette with Director of Photography Dean Cundey

-Original theatrical trailer and radio spot

-Newly translated optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing


If you are looking for a hard-hitting horror film, then keep looking elsewhere. But if you want a fun story, packed with character-driven moments, I urge you to take a trip down to Black Lake and buy this Blu-ray.

Watch Creature From Black Lake on any of the streaming services listed here.

3.0 / 5.0