THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US

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Kelly Parks
The Creature Walks Among Us
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SHOULD YOU?
TIP JAR
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
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REVENGE OF THE CREATURE
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THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US - 1956
Universal Pictures
Rated: Australia: PG / Finland: K-12 / USA: Unrated

Godzilla died at the end of the first GODZILLA movie. Did he let that stop him from making dozens of sequels? Of course not. And our favorite gill-man, who died at the end of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and again at the end of REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (actually they just showed the same footage as at the end of the first movie), isn’t going to let death hold back his career either!

THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US was written by Arthur A. Ross (THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, SATAN'S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS) and directed by John F. Sherwood (THE MONOLITH MONSTERS). It begins, of course, with yet another expedition to capture the gill-man. After his death /escape /whatever in the last movie from the Ocean Harbor Institute in Florida he ends up living in the Everglades.

This expedition is lead by the very intense Dr. William Barton (Jeff Morrow: THIS ISLAND EARTH, THE GIANT CLAW). He's convinced (without a shred of evidence) that he can cause the creature to evolve to live on the land, and that from this he'll learn how to make humans change and adapt to other planets. I'm sure NASA is just sitting by the phone waiting for this guy to call.

Burly good guy Dr. Thomas Morgan (Rex Reason: THIS ISLAND EARTH) goes along. The more environmentally friendly Dr. Morgan merely wants to study the creature and tries to steer Barton away from his wild-eyed theories. Also aboard is the very attention-starved, horny Mrs. Barton (Leigh Snowden: KISS ME DEADLY), who passes the time by shooting sharks. Ship hand Jed Grant (Gregg Palmer: ZOMBIES OF THE MORA TAU, FROM HELL IT CAME) picks up on Mrs. Barton's needs and begins sniffing around for an opportunity.

Two more scientists, Dr. Borg (Marice Manson: THE THREE STOOGES IN ORBIT) and Dr. Johnson (James Rawley: THE CAR) complete the team.

The creature has learned enough by now to know that any boat full of humans in his neighborhood must be up to no good, so he attacks at once. He leads the expedition into shallow water and traps their boat. Unfortunately (because by this point you're rooting for the creature) his attack goes wrong when he's doused with gasoline and set ablaze. He's captured and brought to the infirmary, where they discover that his scales have burned off and his lungs have opened. The transformation Dr. Barton was planning through experimental surgery is accomplished by a couple gallons of premium. Who knew?

The creature is brought to Barton's mansion/farm/compound. A hastily thrown together enclosure is made for the creature. His bandages are removed and he no longer looks like a man-fish, although he certainly doesn't look human. He's now just a big, silent freak and the movie starts to look a lot like Frankenstein. The misunderstood creature of course falls in love with the nearest human female (the lusty Mrs. Barton) but for a while the story almost forgets about him. Instead a lot of time is spent in the mansion as Dr. Barton's suspicions about his wife lead to violence and finally murder.

!!!SCIENCE MOMENT!!!:
Ah, the 50's. So innocent. We still thought Mars and Venus might be, maybe, kind of Earth-like. We thought Mars had thin air, like the Himalayas (it's actually more than 500 times thinner) and that all the clouds the telescopes showed on Venus just meant it was warm and humid, like Houston (instead it's 800 degrees in the shade and the clouds are made of sulfuric acid, like Phoenix). My point is that it's mildly believable that people in the 50's could think you'd be able to adapt to other worlds after some minor surgery, which was Dr. Barton's plan.

Glaring inconsistencies, like the fact that the creature is bigger after being burned, clearly played by one actor in the water, Ricou Browning for the underwater scenes in all three movies (Out of the Water - CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON: Ben Chapman. REVENGE OF THE CREATURE: Tom Hennesy) and *Don Megowan (TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN, CREATION OF THE HUMANOIDS) on land, don't really hurt a movie with credibility this low. I give THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US two shriek girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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