Welcome to Dark Universe

It’s Another Monster-Versary! “Revenge of the Creature” Turns 62!

Revenge of the Creature

“Revenge of the Creature” celebrates its 62nd monster-versary today!

The second installment in Universal’s Gill-Man series, Revenge of the Creature, turns 62 today. The Gill-Man happens to be one of the most beloved of the Universal classic monsters and for good reason. Not only was he a true “monster” of sorts, but he was very lovable in many ways. Created by Milicent Patrick, the Gill-Man from the Black Lagoon only enjoyed three films and unlike Dracula, The Mummy, or The Wolf Man, he’s never seen a modern take for audiences today.

With the Universal Monsters films currently in development, with The Mummy opening this June, creative architect Alex Kurtzman has spoken about his desire to see the Gill-Man return to the big screen. While not much else has been said in regards to a future Creature from the Black Lagoon film, you could enjoy Joe of UMU’s earlier piece on the possibility of Scott Eastwood joining the Universal Monsters Universe, much like his father, Clint.

Clint Eastwood made his film debut in the 1955 film, Revenge of the Creature. As it celebrates its 62nd monster-versary today, let’s take a look back on the second installment in the Gill-Man series of monster movies.

*This material previously appeared in “Taking A Look At Universal’s “Revenge of the Creature,” published on August 24, 2016.

“Revenge of the Creature” released in 1955 and marked the second to last installment in Universal’s monster movies featuring the Gill-Man.  Directed by Jack Arnold, Revenge took on a story of love, environmentalism, and horror.

Revenge of the CreatureThe Gill-Man was truly one of the last of the Universal Monsters.  Appearing in the 50’s, twenty plus years after Tod Browning’s Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon was an exciting success for a studio making its way in a time where science-fiction monsters were entertaining audiences as opposed to the more supernatural and classic bent ones.  After Creature from the Black Lagoon released in 1954, a sequel was fast tracked with the original director, Jack Arnold, and writer, William Alland.  Opening in wide release on May 13, 1955, Revenge of the Creature would provide an entertaining feature for audiences to enjoy, but one not as clever or smart as the original.  This would be Creature from the Black Lagoon by way of Universal’s later Mummy films.

Revenge of the Creature plays out very similarly to a Jaws or Jurassic Park sequel.  Earlier, we took a look at the original and of how in many ways that film was the grandfather to science-fiction/horror that we enjoy today.  The idea behind the follow-up to Creature from the Black Lagoon is quite simple really.  Universal had a hit with Gill-Man; audiences responded to the creature; the love story aspect to the film gave the picture a heart.  Martin Berkeley’s screenplay, based off of William Alland’s story, revisits the Amazon and brings the Gill-Man to an oceanarium in Florida.  While attempts to recondition the evolutionary challenged fish/man known as Gill-Man fail, his humanity is revealed yet again as he falls for Helen Dobson (Lori Nelson).  As Universal would have it, Gill-Man breaks free, stalks Helen, and is eventually overcome by man at the end of the fast-paced 82 minute film.

Revenge of the Creature

There are a few similarities to King Kong and producer/writer William Alland did state that the plot was inspired by the classic Merian C. Cooper monster.  With this in mind, the story of Creature from the Black Lagoon and Revenge of the Creature work better if you watch as one whole film.  The attraction to Helen even plays better as one could consider that Gill-Man still longs for Kay and is merely attracted to her because of his past encounter with Julie Adams’ iconic character.  It’s an idea I haven’t seen fully explored before and it is one worth thinking about.

While Creature from the Black Lagoon explores ideas of environmentalism, Revenge of the Creature explores ideas of habitat and evolution, but not quite as well as the 1954 classic.  Revenge, in many ways, is a quick follow up and broad retread of the same plot.  However, Revenge does offer a few actual thrills and shocks, just as the poster suggests.  In one part of the film, the Gill-Man kills a dog and the sight of the dead animal is quite shocking.  The movie is, quite literally, very dark and much of that is credited to Charles S. Welbourne.  The cinematography, especially for the underwater scenes, are amazing to watch and Revenge of the Creature stands out among many of the 50’s sci-fi/horror films.

Revenge of the Creature is a film well worth watching, especially if you’re a fan of the Gill-Man and the Universal Monsters.  It’s surprising to learn that many have overlooked Revenge and other sequels to the original classic monsters films because all of them are very important to the Universal legacy.  While Revenge of the Creature isn’t as good as the 1954 original and no where on the level of Universal’s best sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein, it is still quite enjoyable.

Something to watch out for?  Clint Eastwood as a lab technician.

As a sidenote, there happens to be a scene in Revenge of the Creature that is quite hilarious and unforgettable.  Here it is, in GIF form, below:

via GIPHY

While the Gill-Man’s love was never truly reciprocated on screen, there’s a lot of love for him here at Universal Monsters Universe and among the fans.  Stay tuned for more of Gill-Man goodness as UMU’s “Creature Week” continues!

(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)

About the author

Steven Biscotti

Mild mannered reporter, Steven Biscotti, has an avid interest in all things comic books, movies, and music (especially pertaining to Coldplay.) He stands 5'7" tall and prides himself on being the same height as Tom Cruise. Steven's favorite monster movie? "The Mummy (1999)."

Readers Comments (4)

  1. Cowtown Kahuna March 23, 2017 @ 3:38 pm

    IMHO, the Creature sequels are criminally underrated. Just re-re-re-re-re-watched this one a few weeks back. A couple of other great things about Revenge of the Creature (1955):

    1. The scene where the Gill-Man escapes and runs amok at Marineland. This is straight-up eye candy. The only other segment that compares in another monster movie is the iconic theater evacuation from The Blob (1958).

    2. The obvious chemistry between John Agar and Lori Nelson. I’m not sure exactly when all scientists in film began to be ubiquitously portrayed as awkward, socially-inept uber-nerds, but it was well after the 1950’s. Agar’s character (and Carlson’s and Reason’s) had mad game to match their high IQs. These guys were equally comfortable in the lab, on a date or in a fight, without coming across as an absurd caricature. It’s refreshing to see a protagonist with gravitas and composure.

    Reply
    • I love hearing this and yes, I couldn’t agree more. The last time I watched all three ‘Creature’ films was back last summer. Loved them all as they all had something unique and individual to say. Each picture expertly used the Gill-Man and I sure do hope we see him again sooner rather than later. He’s long overdue.

      Those are both terrific points and major points for referencing “The Blob.” Great monster movie and a great movie!

      However, I’d like to point out what you said about John Agar and Lori Nelson. You’re absolutely right and I love the presentation of the scientists across all three films, but most especially in “Revenge of the Creature.” LOVE Julie Adams, but Lori Nelson was always my favorite. Both her and Agar were terrific together in the film and I’m really glad you enjoyed them as much as I did.

      Would you say the Gill-Man is your favorite of the Universal Monsters?

      Reply
      • Absolutely. The Creature trilogy is my favorite entry into the Universal mythos. Also, it’s a lot of fun to watch all three “badass scientists” (Richard Carlson, John Agar and Rex Reason) do their “badass science” thing all over again in Universal’s It Came From Outer Space (1953), The Mole People (1956) and This Island Earth (1955).

        Hopefully, Tom Cruise will continue this tradition in The Mummy (2017). Feelin’ pretty good about it based on the trailer. Keep up the great work.

        Reply
        • Much agreed. And I really enjoyed “The Mole People” and “This Island Earth” as well. Have to love the Metaluna Mutant.

          I do believe “The Mummy” is in good hands and Tom Cruise never disappoints. Nearly 2 months away.

          Thank you.

          Reply

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*