The Black Scorpion (1957)

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The Black Scorpion
The American poster for The Black Scorpion
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Black Scorpion (1958)
See alternate titles
Directed by Edward Ludwig
Producer Jack Dietz, Frank Melford
Written by Robert Blees, David Duncan,
Paul Yawitz (story)
Music by Paul Sawtell
Production company Amex Productions, Frank Melford-Jack Dietz Productions[1]
Distributor Warner Bros.[2]
Rating XUK[3]
Running time 88 minutesUS
(1 hour, 28 minutes)
108 minutes
(1 hour, 48 minutes)
Aspect ratio 1.85:1 (intended ratio),
1.37:1 (negative ratio)
Rate this film!
(3 votes)

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For the titular monsters, see Giant scorpions.
Every horror you've seen on the screen grows pale beside the horror of "The Black Scorpion"

— Tagline

The Black Scorpion is a 1957 giant monster horror film co-produced by Amex Productions and Frank Melford-Jack Dietz Productions.[1] Warner Bros. released it to American theaters on October 11, 1957.


X no sunglasses.PNG “I knew that『plot』wasn't up to much.”
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Please help by editing this section.

To be added.


Main article: The Black Scorpion/Credits.

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Edward Ludwig
  • Produced by   Jack Dietz, Frank Melford
  • Written by   Robert Blees, David Duncan
  • Music by   Paul Sawtell
  • Edited by   Richard Van Enger
  • Cinematography by   Lionel Lindon
  • Special effects by   Willis O'Brien, Pete Peterson
  • Puppet creator   Wah Chang
  • Sound effects by   Mandine Rogne
  • Assistant directors   Jaime Contreras, Ray Heinz


Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Carlos Múzquiz   as   Dr. Velasco
  • Fanny Schiller   as   Mara Corday
  • Teresa Alvarez   as   Mario Navarro
  • Juanito   as   Pedro Galván
  • Father Delgado   as   Roberto Contreras
  • Manuel Sánchez Navarro   as   Victor Steven
  • Pascual García Peña   as   José de la Cruz
  • Fanny Schiller   as   Florentina
  • Arturo Martínez   as   Major Cosio
  • Enrique Zambrano   as   Cayetano, lineman killed in truck
  • Ángel Di Stefani   as   military man
  • Jaime González Quiñones   as   villiager
  • Leonor Gómez   as   villager
  • Margarito Luna   as   crane operator
  • Héctor Mateos   as   military man
  • José L. Murillo   as   military man
  • Isabel Vázquez   as   villager
  • Quintín Bulnes   as   lineman killed on pole
  • José Chávez   as   train conductor
  • Bob Johnson   as   narrator (voice) / radio announcer (voice) / police radio dispatcher (voice)



Weapons, vehicles, and races


The origin of The Black Scorpion is obscure. Albeit several sources have claimed it originated with producer Jack Dietz and his collaborator Frank Melford, some special effects specialists have said that animators Willis O'Brien and Pete Peterson, who previously collaborated on Mighty Joe Young (1949), converted the project and created test footage of the giant scorpions wreaking havoc. Bill Warner wrote in Keep Watching the Skies that their footage convinced Dietz and Melford to make it into a motion picture.[4] However, this remains unsubstantiated and while test footage by O'Brien and Peterson does exist, they may have created it to ensure Dietz that they could undertake such a project.[5]

The story treatment for The Black Scorpion was written by Paul Yawitz (in his last and sole science fiction film credit), while frequent sci-fi film screenwriters David Duncan and Robert Blees were employed to write the undated script. Several elements in the film's storyline resemble concepts featured in O'Brien's other recent film efforts, indicating that he had uncredited involvement in its writing: the film is set in Mexico like several recent films he had worked on, a demon bull is referenced, it includes a giant worm and spider which were created by O'Brien for past assignments, and there are several technical notes in the screenplay that state what kind of special effects are required for a particular scene.[6]

Initially, Dietz employed his The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) collaborator Eugène Lourié to direct the film. Although he demonstrated interest in the film and had conversations with O'Brien and Peterson (who later worked with him on the 1959 film The Giant Behemoth), he apparently quit the assignment after arguments with Melford. Thus, directorial duties were handed over to Russian-born filmmaker Edward Ludwig, whom writer Gregory Kulon believed to be behind the film's failure due to his lack of experience directing in the genre.[6]


The Black Scorpion had an extremely tight production schedule. Variety stated that principal photography took place in Mexico, commencing on November 21, 1956 and concluding 9 weeks later. Filming locations include: the Monument to the Revolution, Ciudad Universitaria, Estadio Olímpico Universitario, Hernán Cortés's residence, and the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park.[7]

For reasons unclear, the press book notes that in order to improve scenes of the volcanic eruption's aftermath in the fictional village of San Lorenzo, over 70 truckloads of volcanic ash were taken from the volcano Popocatépetl to the shooting site.[7]


Main article: The Black Scorpion/Gallery.

Alternate titles

  • Black Scorpion (American VHS title; Siyah akrep, Turkey; Musta skorpioni, Finland; 黒い蠍 Kuroisasori, Japan)

Theatrical releases

  • United States - October 11, 1957
  • Japan - January 2, 1958  [view poster]Japanese poster
  • Finland - March 14, 1958
  • Sweden - December 1, 1958
  • Denmark - January 26, 1959
  • United Kingdom - February 23, 1959  [view poster]British poster
  • Italy  [view poster]Italian poster
  • Australia  [view poster]Australian poster
  • French Belgium  [view poster]French poster

U.S. release

Japanese release


Harrison's Reports voluntarily gave The Black Scorpion a mixed review in September 1957, rating it acceptable for its stop-motion and special effects on the monsters, but having reservations about its unexceptional character storytelling.[8]

Video releases

Warner Home Video VHS (1993)

  • Tapes: 2
  • Audio: English
  • Notes: Released on December 13, 1993

Warner Home Video DVD (2006)

  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English
  • Subtitles: English, Japanese
  • Notes: Aspect ratio is 1.37:1.

Shout! Factory DVD (2014) [Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXX]

  • Region: 1
  • Discs: 4
  • Audio: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Stinger of Death: Making The Black Scorpion, Writer of Gor: The Novels of John Norman, Director of Gor: On Set with John "Bud" Cardos, Producer of Gor: Adventures with Harry Alan Towers, Shock to the System: Creating The Projected Man, extended trailer for "The Frank" music video, four mini-posters by Steve Vance
  • Notes: Packaged with Outlaw (of Gor) (1988), The Projected Man (1966), and It Lives by Night (1974).

Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray (2018)

  • Region: N/A
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: English (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English (SDH)
  • Notes: Aspect ratio is 1.78:1.



The Black Scorpion trailer


  • The miniatures used for the trapdoor spider, the giant tentacled insect, and the giant spider, briefly seen in the film, are reportedly reused models of some of the creatures from the Lost Spider Pit Sequence, a lost and deleted scene from the original 1933 King Kong film. However, in the book Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life, Ray Harryhausen noted that many models used in King Kong were still in storage at RKO in the 1950s, by which time many of them had decayed. Biographers have disputed whether O'Brien actually saved any of his models.
  • Concept artist and television writer William Stout revealed in a 2021 video interview that the main inspiration for Ts-eh-GO and the Mutant Scorpions from Godzilla: The Series were the titular monsters from the The Black Scorpion, Stout himself an admitted fan of stop-motion effect artist Willis O'Brien and his various creature creations.[9]


This is a list of references for Kaiju No. 14/Sandbox/The Black Scorpion. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bogue 2017, p. 164.
  2. Kulon 2022, p. 30.
  3. Kulon 2022, p. 31.
  4. Kulon 2022, p. 24.
  5. Kulon 2022, pp. 24–25.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kulon 2022, p. 25.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kulon 2022, p. 28.
  8. "Harrison's Reports, September 21, 1957, page 151" (PDF).


  • Bogue, Mike (31 August 2017). Apocalypse Then: American and Japanese Atomic Cinema, 1951-1967. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 978-1476668413.
  • Kulon, Gregory (May 2022). "Teaching the World to Sting... The Black Scorpion". Infinity. No. 48. Ghoulish Publishing. ISSN 2514-3654.


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