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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Creature Walks Among Us (1955)


Starring: Jeff Morrow, Rex Reason and Leigh Snowden
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 24 August 2015

A group of scientists embark on a boat trip to the Florida Everglades in an attempt to capture and study the infamous Creature From the Black Lagoon (or Gill Man, as they come to refer to it). However, there is already dissension in the ranks. Doctor Barton (Jeff Morrow), who leads the expedition, wants to practically dissect it for the purposes of medical experimentation and to ascertain how it breathes under water, in order to further space travel. Whereas another doctor is determined it should not be harmed, but only logged as a new species or missing evolutionary link. Further conflict comes in the form of Barton’s mistreatment of his wife, and her flirtatious manner in front of the other men. The Creature is tracked/leads the boat into its own territory where, cornered, it attacks its aggressors. After being stunned by a tranquilliser, it is accidentally engulfed in flame. Back in a lab, they discover that the Creature has lung tissue and that its massive burns have revealed somewhat humanoid characteristics. After it weakly attempts to escape, it is seen as the original monster certain individuals had condemned it as. But events which follow prove that Barton is more of a monster...

This is the third and last of what became the Creature Trilogy. There are elements of this film which I love, and others I have little or no time for. The early underwater scenes featuring the Creature (played by Ricou Browning) are beautiful to behold – particularly now the picture quality has been lovingly restored. The concept for this sequel quickly moves from intelligent prehistoric fish to Frankenstein’s Monster. After the marvelously sculptured mask is abandoned for the moral tale of the misunderstood ‘monster,’ we witness situations which tell the audience that the Creature is essentially sound in its ‘human’ values. The scenes in the pen are quite revealing in this respect. When a mountain lion enters the electrified pen by climbing an extending tree limb and dropping down to attack a sheep, the Creature steps forward to protect it and kills the lion. This gives Barton an idea, so that when he kills one of his wife’s suitors he drags the body into the pen to make it look like the Creature was at fault. As in all these stories, it is the real monster of the piece who gets his final comeuppance.

Unfortunately, the plot line which really ties this film to its 1950s origins is the character of Marcia Barton (Leigh Snowden). She exists only as a possession of her husband, and really shouldn’t be present at all. It was no doubt obligatory to have an attractive female part for the men to gush over, but it is unnecessary here as it means that virtually every scene which doesn’t feature the Creature is taken-up with dreary dialogue surrounding her supposedly inescapable sexuality.

On the whole, though, this is a solid enough film. It ends on an ambiguity. It’s mentioned during the plot that the Creature’s gills have been badly burned, meaning it is obliged to breathe air, rather than oxygen through water. However, the final shot sees the Frankenstein’s monster version of the Creature walking back into the water – the only home it knows. But will the Creature drown, or have its gills repaired themselves? We’ll probably never know.


Ty Power

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