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Similar to the under-appreciated "Alien 3"(1992), this dramatic thriller has so many ideas that to disregard it would be a waste. The Creature is sought by scientists on an expedition to the Florida Everglades, where the second film ("Revenge of the Creature") ended. Joining in the expedition is the wife (Leigh Snowden) of a disturbed scientist (Jeff Morrow), who hasn't much to do but be admired by the men around her, including a good scientist (Rex Reason) and a lecherous guide (Gregg Palmer). The Creature is subdued, but only after being burned in a ghastly fire. The head scientist (Morrow) discovers lung tissue in the Creature, and he is transformed to an air-breathing animal. Cruelly pent-up back home in a Californian bay-side stockade, he longs to return to the water. The racial undertones of his new appearance are undeniable, and we feel sympathy for him. The last scene is breathtaking, since we know he can not survive a return to the sea. The music has been updated and is haunting, and the misty underwater photography in the first half is stunning. The whole film is beautifully directed by John Sherwood, with lights, shadows, contrast in exquisite black and white. All the actors are terrific, reciting mature dialog. The Creature does not get the curvaceous girl in this one: appropriately, since he's got all these plastic-surgery troubles. In many ways, this is an improvement over the second film, which basically re-hashed the first classic. Catch this one!
MORD39 RATING: *** out of ****
Why Oh Why do so many fans never let go of an original film and denounce any improvement that might be made? While the original film is a classic of the fifties, I think that was purely because it was the first (a distinct advantage most first films in a series have!)
The second film was only "okay," and was a rehash of the first one. But why I like #3 so much is due to the daring change made to the Creature himself. He looks truly menacing and powerful when he becomes a land being, but more importantly he becomes much more human-like. We get to see how docile he truly is, and how it turns out to be that destructive animal known as Man who really makes him wild.
When the Creature DOES get wild in this one, he's a REAL killing machine! The rampage he goes on in this movie still packs a jolt for me.
I remember seeing `The Creature Walks Among Us' on TV as a kid. The local
syndicated TV channel had worked out a deal with Burger King where you would
buy one of their Happy Meal rip-offs (whatever they were called then) and
get a pair of 3D glasses, so you could watch the movie with its `full
effect.' Brilliant. I don't recall that the 3D worked very well (it rarely
does on a TV screen), but I do remember how excited I was to stay up late
and see the Creature from the Black Lagoon arise again in glory.
Now this was the third film in the `Creature' trilogy, and it's clear that the budget was far smaller than on either of the previous films. I'm guessing that accounts for the recycled underwater footage (there is not one new shot of the Creature swimming it's all from the first film) and the limited use of the original Creature suit. In all probability, the suit was showing its wear and tear, we only see it from the waist up, in darkness, except for the brief scene in which they set it on fire (!). After the Gillman is captured, they explain his modified (cheaper) makeup by explaining that he is `mutating' to adapt to air-breathing circumstances. Apparently his skin is now so `sensitive' that he is required to wear a potato sack for `protection.' This means that they only had to come up with hands and a head for the actor to wear, rather than a full-bodied suit.
Still, there is something compelling about this picture, even after 20 years of growing up. Somehow the fact that the Creature is brought into our world and made to wear clothes reminds one of the Fall of Man, and our unexpected shame at our nakedness. This Creature still longs for that innocence, for a return to his primal water environment, even though his gills are damaged and his lungs would drown if submerged. The romantic subplot parallels this theme in its reversal of the original `Creature' pattern. This time, instead of a lustful but rich scientist hitting on the Hero's girl, the girl is married to the rich but jealous scientist while our Hero reminds her what love is meant to be like. This girl is already Fallen, and she begins the movie looking like a slut, but she slowly comes around to innocence, under the charms of Rex Reason.
Jeff Morrow and Rex Reason have a fascinating chemistry, just as interesting here as in their better known picture, `This Island Earth.' In that movie, again, Morrow plays the scientist who `has it all' unlimited funding, access to advanced alien technology, and Reason portrays the good guy who won't sell his soul to get ahead. This version of the story has Reason a bit more subdued, and Morrow a bit more paranoid/manic. Comparing the two films makes it possible to appreciate the actors' range, and makes me wish they had worked together more often.
After seeming to have been killed at the end of each prior
installment (with no explanation in this or the prior sequel
how he survived), the Gill Man is now residing in the
Everglades of Florida. Wealthy scientist Jeff Morrow has
gathered a team of medical and scientific types to help
catch the Gill Man and study him. The creature is caught,
but seriously burned in the process. Rushing him back
the boat, they wrap him up in bandages, and try to save
life. As he recuperates, his gills fall off, and a
humanistic skin if found underneath. Okay, a little far
fetched, but, the Gill Man is in between man and fish,
this plotline works. What got me was that the new human
Gill Man is gigantic and lumbering in size, where the
original was trim and athletic. That never made sense
me. Don Megowan (the new Gill Man) was a big fellow, and
his size made him more menacing, but, I have always had
problem with that size and weight difference.
Again, we're treated to some excellent underwater photography. And, the action is on par. Jeff Morrow is nicely evil, and Rex Reason is ruggedly masculine as the hero. Leigh Snowden as Morrow's wife, lends the added touch of beauty to the story, and Greg Palmer's rather slimey character is played perfectly.
Almost any movie could have been improved upon (well maybe not an Orson Welles or Frank Capra film), and yes, there could have been some changes that would have made this better, but, I still like today as I did in 1956 when I first saw it. It's a proud member of my classic library. For most, this would be a fair at best movie, but, you gotta give 'em credit for trying to be original with the Gill Man, and not just rehashing parts one and two. Also, the team of Morrow and Reason always made for good viewing.
The wealthy Dr. William Barton (Jeff Morrow) organizes an expedition to
the Florida Everglades with the scientists Dr. Thomas Morgan (Rex
Reason), Dr. Borg (Maurice Manson) and Dr. Johnson (James Rawley) to
capture the Creature. They navigate in the ship of Capt. Stanley (David
McMahon) with Jed Grant (Gregg Palmer) and Dr. Barton's wife Marcia
Barton (Leigh Snowden) joins the team. Dr. Barton is paranoid with the
jealousy of Marcia and Jed is harassing her in the trip.
They chase and capture the Creature that is totally burnt. Without breathing through the gills, the Creature is turned into an air breather through his hidden lungs and brought to the ranch of Dr. Barton in California. Dr. Morgan defends the thesis that the Creature responds to the way that he is treated and asks people to be not violent with him. But Dr. Barton is near a breakdown with his jealousy of Marcia.
"The Creature Walks Among Us" is a pleasant B-movie of the 50's and the conclusion of the Black Lagoon trilogy. This is a film that belongs to my childhood and today I have just seen it again. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "A Caça do Monstro" ("The Hunting of the Monster")
Like a few other posters, I consider THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US the best in the Gill Man series. Granted that's not saying a whole lot because I never cared for the Creature films anyway. The concept of an amphibious monster lurking underwater was just way too limited and never really held my interest. Still, in CREATURE WALKS AMONG US he becomes a much more intriguing character due to the plight his human costars impose on him, and Don Megowen's (uncredited) performance as the Creature is very good. Like Christopher Lee in Hammer's THE MUMMY he manages to convey emotion without the benefit of dialog or even facial expressions. And his final rampage through the house is terrific for such a low budget film. There's a real sense of brute power as he smashes everything in his path in his attempt to reach his human tormentor. And like almost everyone else, I find the ending surprisingly poignant.
I seem to differ from many of my fellow "monster movie" fans because I find this film the best of the series and in many ways one of the better horror flicks from this era. The reason for this preference on my part is because the human characters are rich, the actors do an excellent job, especially Jeff Morrow, and the focus is on the relationships between the characters against the backdrop of the adventure of again capturing the creature and then dealing with what to do with him when they get him. These relationships are as complex as my last sentence. The film opens with establishing a very strained relationship between Dr. Barton and his wife Marsha by inference of their nonverbal behavior. We soon find that Dr. Barton is not simply a very suspicious man afraid of being turned into a cock old by his young sexy wife. He is exploding with paranoia and she is repelled by him. This sets the underplay of all the remaining events in the film. Dr. Barton is a narcissistic, arrogant man besides paranoid. And, these are his more charming features. Jeff Morrow, who usually played a good natured hero, gets to show his muscles an actor by making himself totally repulsive in this role. Rex Reason is very good in his role and does so by using his good looks, great voice and easy charm to underplay his part. Thus, he makes himself a pleasant contrast to the splenetic Dr. Barton. Leigh Snowden as Dr. Barton's wife Marsha is, well, very good and also underplays her sexuality so well that it becomes intense. For those who look at a "monster movie" and think the plot of the movie is the monster, which in a good monster film would never take place, this film is not for that person. For those who like a little gem of good acting and interesting characters- enjoy this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The Creature Walks Among Us" is actually better than the first sequel "Revenge Of The Creature". I really enjoyed the acting-it is almost as good as "The Creature From The Black Lagoon". Once again, the scenery is beautiful and the same terrific musical score is used. Now for the plot...A scientist is searching for the "Gill-Man" so it can be studied. However, it is clear this scientist(Jeff Morrow) isn't benevolent. The other scientists are and not only help in capturing the creature but also feel a sense of compassion toward it. It catches on fire and it's lungs develop so it can breathe air. At the end, the creature escapes and heads toward the ocean. There isn't as much action as in the original "Creature" film but the movie is just as entertaining. I recommend the 3 movies for anyone who is a fan of 1950s Sci-Fi/Horror movies. By the way, there is a DVD collection of the 3 films plus extras that are as much fun to watch as the films themselves.
(There are Spoilers) Third of the "Creature from the Black Lagoon"
trilogy but in this movie the Gill Man or Creature is by far the most
sympathetic of all the other Creatures in the "Creature from the Black
Lagoon" films that he was in. Being badly burned by a can of gasoline
as he was captured in the Florida Evergaldes the Creature is nursed
back to heath by those scientists who almost killed him. He ends up
becoming more human then most humans are both in his physical and
biological makeup, his lungs for swimming underwater are now completely
useless, as well as his spiritual understanding of life and the
difference between Good and Evil.
Brought back to San Francisco to be studied by Dr. Barton, Jeff Morrow, and his staff of scientist the Creatue is like a Buddist Monk. Observing nature and not at all violent towards humans or the animals that are caged along with him.
The Creature looking like he grew a foot taller and gained an extra hundred pounds, all muscles, lost his ability to swim as graceful as an Olympic swimming and diving champion. He just lumbers around his cage like Tor Johnson's Lobo in "Bride of the Monster". As gentle as a kitten when not incited the Creature resorts to violence only when violence is directed towards him or anyone else. As we soon see when the peaceful Creature loses his cool and kills an attacking mountain lion; after the big cat attacked and killed a sheep and then tried to pounce on the Creature.
We also have a sub plot in the movie "The Creature walks Among Us" that's an attempted love affair with Dr. Barton's beautiful young wife Marcia, Leigh Snowden, and one of her husbands staff the handsome Jed Grant, Gregg Plamer. Jed, who can't take no for an answer from Marcia, actions leads Dr. Barton to lose his cool and later smash Grant's head in killing him. The Creature watching all these goings on from the safety of his steel cage minds his own business , while meditating and enjoying the wonders of nature, is driven back to his roots the Law of the Jungle. That happens when Dr. Barton attempts to cover up Grant's murder and dumps his body into the innocent Creature's cage, trying to implicate the totally innocent Creature in Grant's death.
Outraged at not only Dr. Barton's crime of taking a life but even more angry at him for trying to frame him for it the Creature goes completely bananas! Breaking out of his confinement the now mad as hell Creature tears the Barton house, and then Dr. Barton himself, apart as he lumbers towards the ocean where we last see him.
Standing by the shore and looking across the vast Pacific the Creature now knows that man is far too inhuman for his new found humanity. He decides to swim back home, the Black Lagoon?, with a new and better understanding of what life, as well as himself and his fellow living creatures, is all about.
P.S It seemed that the Creature must have re-learned, since when we last saw him, his ability to swim on top as well as underwater with his new found, instead of gills, lungs.
In the third and final installment of the "Creature" trilogy, it is
clearer than ever that the real monsters are the scientists themselves,
with their constant prodding and poking of nature. The Creature is
bestial, but no more evil than a wolf or a lion, when you come down to
it. He is a natural part of his landscape. But Man is not content to
leave him there.
In the first movie, the scientists didn't really know there was a living Creature. That story was one of survival...kill or be killed. In the second film, Man is not content to let the Creature live his isolated existence, so he is captured, brought to civilization and displayed like a sideshow freak. In "Creature Walks Among Us", science now thinks it can "improve" the Creature. As one might expect, the results are tragic.
Millionaire scientist Bill Barton is obsessed with capturing the Creature and "tweaking" him. Barton himself is a seriously unbalanced man...abusive to his beautiful "trophy" wife and insanely jealous when she is in the company of other men. Barton is the ultimate control freak and as his hold over his wife weakens, he increases his control over the Creature, capturing him. When the Creature is severely burnt by a fire, Barton and his team of scientists convert him into a hulking, ungainly land beast that even wears clothes.
The "land" Creature is a pathetic sight and evokes tremendous sympathy. Despite the constant babbling of the egg-heads to the contrary,the Creature is not meant to be a land dweller. Graceful and natural in the water, he is a stumbling, confused brute in the air. Yet his instinct always guides him back to the water where he belongs.
As Barton's marital and mental condition deteriorates, it is also clear that humans are more purely hateful, grasping and neurotic than animals. Finally, both the Creature and Barton erupt into violent conflict.
The movie has its slow spots but is extremely well-directed, almost like a film noir. The scene where the Creature catches fire is breath-taking, but it's the haunting last scene of the movie that will stay with you. At the end, there is nothing "monstrous" about the Creature anymore. He is a victim, pure and simple. This radical concept makes this movie daringly different from almost every other 50's monster flick.
The acting is pretty good, with Rex Reason playing a sympathetic scientist who is the voice of reason. Jeff Morrow (who co starred with Reason in "This Island Earth") is nasty but nuanced as the grasping Barton. Leigh Snowdon is lovely as Barton's sexy young wife and also gives a pretty good performance.
More than just a monster movie, this is thought-provoking entertainment. "The jungle or the stars?" asks Dr. Morgan, concerning mankind's destiny. Watching "The Creature Walks Among Us" doesn't make me too optimistic about the stars...
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