Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Revenge of the Creature (1955)

Directed by:
Jack Arnold

Immediate sequel to the Jack Arnold-directed Universal hit Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) finds a new Amazonian expedition, headed by marine biologist Joe Hayes (John Bromfield), capturing the Gill-Man and transporting him to Florida. During his stint in the tourist-friendly Sunshine State, the dreaded sea beast finds himself chained to the bottom of a large glass aquarium at Marineland and given a daily ration of fish from Professor Clete Ferguson (John Agar) and female ichthyologist Helen Dobson (Lori Nelson), who's anything but icky. Clete and his assistant become romantically involved and attempt to tame the beast's savage instincts; conditioning it with commands of "No" followed by a shock of electricity when it gets rowdy. Their technique seems to be working for awhile but the Gill-Man is antagonized to the point where he's able to break his chains and escape into the ocean. Everyone assumes he has headed back down to his home turf in Brazil, but the creature is as smitten as the professor and decides to stick around Florida long enough to get his webbed claws on the lovely Ms. Dobson.

The reputation of this sequel, which was shot in 3-D like the first, took a hit when it was ridiculed on the 9th season of MST3K. Regardless, it's really not a bad little continuation of the series and ended up grossing more than the first film in theaters, leading to yet another sequel - THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US (1956) - the following year. There's little action during the first half, the film lacks the creepy jungle atmosphere of the first and the acting's a bit stiff from the principals, but the film actually does improve as it goes along. The creature itself is seen more this time out and because of its captivity and the fact its out of its element during the duration of the movie, we actually start to pity the poor thing after awhile.

Nestor Paiva reprises his role as the boat captain during the first scenes, as does Ricou Browning (who plays the creature during the swimming scenes) and there are uncredited bit parts played by Brett Halsey, as a teen killed by the Gill-Man, and Clint Eastwood (making his film debut), as a forgetful lab technician.


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