The giants don’t last that long. They eat their own weight every 3 or 4 days.

After a volcano 9000 feet fall suddenly explodes into existence two geologists head into Mexico to investigate and research the phenomenon. Unbeknownst to the geologists the volcano has released gigantic prehistoric scorpions that were trapped in underground caverns for centuries. It takes a while to get to the scorpion action but once you do you are treated to the talents of Willis O’Brien. The giant scorpions are his creation along with giant worms and giant prehistoric spiders that are found in the caverns at the foot of the volcano.

A lot of time is spent setting up the plot and the characters. A romantic situation between Hank Scott (Richard Denning) and Teresa Alvarez (Mara Corday) isn’t quite believable. The stop motion is good but the puppet of the scorpion’s head is a little funny looking. Despite these flaws the movie is one of the best and best known “Big Bug” movies of the 50’s. Technically scorpions are not bugs they are arachnids so it would qualify as a “Big Arachnid” movie.

The best part of the movie is probably when the two geologists go down into the caverns to investigate how to kill the creatures. This is where we see the giant prehistoric worms and spiders as well. Like Harryhausen Willis O’Brien recycled his creatures. Some of the creatures in the cave are those from the missing spider footage from “King Kong”. My second favorite part is when the black scorpion attacks the other scorpions that are destroying the train, especially when the big scorpion starts body slamming the smaller ones. And of course we can’t forget the helicopter take down.

A lot of people have described “The Black Scorpion” as an imitation of “Them”. I suppose the comparison is reasonable since they are both Warner Brothers pictures and they deal with big creatures. They both also have an underground scene and attacks on a big city. There are differences too. The ants are from radiation and the scorpions are prehistoric. That would make “Them” the number 4 way to make a monster and “Black Scorpion” as number 2. Regardless they are both great examples of 1950’s style horror and should be appreciated each in its own right.

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