REVENGE OFMOVIE REVIEW
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JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
One year after THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON terrorized female swimmers, a second expedition heads up the Amazon. Will it be the same story all over again?
REVENGE OF THE CREATURE was written by William Alland (THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK, THE DEADLY MANTIS) and Martin Berkeley (THE DEADLY MANTIS, TARANTULA) and directed by Jack Arnold (THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, MONSTER ON CAMPUS). It begins with the ever smiling Captain Lucas (Nestor Paiva: MIGHTY JOE YOUNG , TARANTULA, THE MOLE PEOPLE) taking his boat (The Rita) up river again. On board are Joe Hayes (John Bromfield: MANFISH, RING OF FEAR) and George Johnson (Robert Williams: THE PRIEST KILLER, THE BAT). His passengers are from Florida's Ocean Harbor Institute, on their way to the Black Lagoon to investigate wild stories about a gill-man. Lucas takes great pleasure in telling them scary stories about the Creature and gets George so spooked he tries to talk Joe into forgetting the whole thing. Burly Joe will have none of this cowardly nonsense and the expedition presses on.
In spite of Lucas' exaggerations, the creature proves suprisingly easy to catch. This two person team (using old fashioned diving suits instead of scuba gear) succeeds where last year's five person expedition failed.
The creature is brought to the Institute (which looks a lot like Sea World) and the creature makes the front page. The movie makes it clear there's a lot of public interest but even so it doesn't play it up enough. Imagine if an expedition from the San Diego zoo caught a live Big Foot (which will never happen because they don't exist) and put it on display. The zoo would be over run by people, the line to get in would be miles long, and the lions would be very jealous.
Hearing about the creature causes Professor Clete Fergusson (John Agar: TARANTULA!, THE MOLE PEOPLE, DAUGHTER OF DR. JEKYLL, THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS, ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE, INVISIBLE INVADERS, DESTINATION SPACE, JOURNEY TO THE SEVENTH PLANET, HAND OF DEATH, WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET, NIGHT FRIGHT, CURSE OF THE SWAMP CREATURE, ZONTAR: THE THING FROM VENUS, KING KONG , WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET, MR. NO LEGS, NIGHTBREED, MIRACLE MILE, FEAR ), a researcher in animal intelligence, to drop his chimpanzee project and head for the Institute. There he meets scientist Helen Dobson (Lori Nelson: THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED) and the two of them begin collaborating . . . if you know what I mean.
The creature arrives in a coma, so just as marine biologists do with any big fish, they put it in a shallow tank and a brave soul walks around the tank pushing the creature through the water to force his gills to work. The creature wakes up in a bad mood and proceeds to kick ass, nearly killing several people before they manage to chain him to the bottom of his tank.
The intelligence testing begins, as does the gill-man's doomed infatuation with Helen. He stares longingly at her whenever she's in the tank, but if the gill-man gets too close, Clete zaps him with an underwater electric cattle prod. Yeah, that's right, I said an underwater electric cattle prod. Obviously the writers had never played Quake.
The Creature has enough and breaks free. He climbs out of his tank, sending the curious public into a mad panic. They helpfully announce over the loudspeakers: "The Gill-man has escaped! Run for your lives!". I'm sure more people would be killed in such a stampede than the creature kills later, but that's a minor point. He overturns a car and makes his way to the ocean (which should have been fatal since he's a fresh water fish).
The manhunt that follows is laughable in its seriousness, and the creature manages to hook up with Helen when she and Clete rendezvous at a swamp-side motel (good plan!).
This movie also suffers from a serious case of stating-the-obvious. You see it in a lot of movies when the writer knew somebody should say something but couldn't think of anything original, so he just has random characters say what everyone can plainly see. In fact the only thing that barely saves this movie from getting one shriek girl is a bit part played by none other than Clint Eastwood. See if you can spot him. I give REVENGE OF THE CREATURE a two on the shriek girl scale.