In 1954, movie-going audiences were shocked and awed by Universal Studio’s groundbreaking horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon. As the years passed, the film gained a reputation as a landmark of the monster-movie genre. But only a small number of devotees were aware of the existence of Milicent Patrick who remains, to this day, the only woman to have designed a classic Universal monster.
That is, until film producer, horror-aficionado, and Black Lagoon acolyte, Mallory O’Meara begins to investigate rumors about the monster’s creator only to find more questions than answers. Through diligent research, O’Meara learns that the enigmatic artist led a rich and fascinating life that intersects with some of the largest figures of mid-century America, including William Randolph Hearst and Walt Disney.
The sudden, premature end to Patrick’s career is defined by circumstances that parallel—uncomfortably so—O’Meara’s own experiences in the film world, an industry that continues to be dominated by men. In a narrative with equal parts mystery and biography, The Lady from the Black Lagoon interweaves the lives of two women separated by decades but bound together by the tragedies and triumphs of working in Hollywood.