The Black Scorpion (1957)


(director: Edward Ludwig; screenwriters: Robert Blees /David Duncan/Paul Yawitz; cinematographer: Lionel Lindon; editor: Richard L. van Enger; cast: Richard Denning (Hank Scott), Mara Corday (Teresa Alverez), Carlos Rivas (Artur Ramos), Mario Navarro (Juanito), Carlos Múzquiz (Dr. Velazco), Pascual García Peña (Jose de la Cruz), Arturo Martínez (Major Cosio), Pedro Galván (Father Delgado); Runtime: 88; Warner; 1957)

“This is a staid, low-budget, B-film sci-fi’er about giant scorpions that come out of a volcano in a remote part of Mexico and attack humans and cattle in their lust for blood.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is a staid, low-budget, B-film sci-fi’er about giant scorpions that come out of a volcano in a remote part of Mexico and attack humans and cattle in their lust for blood. It is a poorly done remake of “Them!” but is worth seeing only for the efforts put forth by the great animator Willis O’ Brien, the animator of “King Kong,” who did this film when he was in his seventies.

When a volcano strikes a remote Mexican area, whose power is estimated to be as great as the eruption from Vesuvius, two geologist are sent to do a preliminary investigation the American, Dr. Hank Scott (Richard Denning), and his Mexican friend, Dr. Artur Ramos (Carlos Rivas). They discover strange happenings, such as a dead policeman who emptied his gun before dying, crushed cars, and huge footprints. They go to the nearest village and meet Father Delgado. He tells them that there are strange things also happening in the village, that the natives superstitiously believe that the volcano was caused by a “demon bull,” a symbol for evil.

In the field investigating the effects of the volcano the two scientists discover a pretty lady ranch owner, Teresa Alverez (Mara Corday), who has fallen off her horse. Hank instantly falls in love with her and the two become very close in the next few days, as the scientists are guests in her luxurious ranch. The scientists collect samples and send them to the leading scientist in Mexico City, Dr. Velazco (Carlos Múzquiz). Meanwhile Artur finds a fossil of a scorpion in an obsidian stone and when he breaks the rock open, a small live scorpion comes out which is of a species that has been extinct for thousands of years. At about the same time a telephone repair man spots a giant scorpion attacking him and tells this to Theresa, before he gets crushed to death.

From Dr. Velazco, we learn that giant scorpions have emerged from the volcano and have come back to plague the Earth. He goes on to say, they only come out at night and are slow-moving. When it is discovered where the scorpions nest the two scientists go down the deep cave by cable car and take photographs, and then have the Army dynamite the cave and seal it.

But the scientists soon learn the danger is not over as one giant scorpion remains on the loose and has gone on a blood lust, since they have to have blood every 3-4 days. A plan is coordinated between the scientists and the Army, as they aim to hit it with a projectile and electrocute it with six hundred thousand volts and from its throat obtain its poisonous venom so that they can have the poison available to inject any other scorpions that might pop up.

The star of the film, Richard Denning, made a career of appearing in B-sci-fi films, with his best known role being in “The Creature From The Black Lagoon.”