Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Revenge of the Creature...or the Gill Man Visits Ocean Harbor Oceanarium

The Creature runs amok at the Ocean Harbor Oceanarium.
When the Gill Man was last glimpsed at the end of Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), his limp bullet-riddled body was drifting in the water. It turns out that he somehow survived--only to be captured again and sent to a Florida aquarium where he can be studied by scientists and gawked at by tourists. It's a miserable experience for the Gill Man...except for the presence of science student Helen Dobson (Lori Nelson), who appears to have replaced Kay (Julie Adams) as the object of his affections.

There's not much to the plot of this sequel, which, like its predecessor, was filmed in 3D. It's primarily an excuse for a couple of nifty scenes. The first occurs when the Gill Man breaks free from his chains and climbs out of a giant tank, lumbering through the crowd as he heads to the beach. The second highlight occurs near the climax when the Creature makes an impromptu appearance at a seaside dinner club, grabs Helen, and dives off a pier.

Let no Gill Man come between John Agar and Lori Nelson.
Director Jack Arnold, who also helmed the first film, always had a flair for exciting visuals. That's the strength of this sequel. It lacks the sexual undercurrent of Creature from the Black Lagoon, with the Gill Man becoming more of a traditional monster. He does generate more sympathy this time around, but that can be attributed to the Gill Man's situation (e.g., it's sad watching him eat out of a basket like a lab rat...speaking of lab rats, Clint Eastwood has a quick unbilled role as a lab technician who almost loses a rat).

Lori with blonde hair.
John Agar and Lori Nelson do what they can with their underwritten roles. It's somewhat jarring to see the dark-haired Nelson as a blonde. Perhaps, that was an attempt to distinguish her from Julie Adams' character from the original film. Incidentally, Adams and Nelson starred as sisters in Anthony Mann's Bend of the River (1952). The two actresses became lifelong friends.

As for the Gill Man, he appeared in one last Universal picture in 1956: The Creature Walks Among Us.


  1. I've not seen this one because I have an unexplained aversion to John Agar. However, after reading your review, I think I should give it a chance. :)

  2. I remember Lori Nelson always having blond hair in her films. Aside from that, I only vaguely remember this film. I loved the first one in the series though. John Agar. Meh. :)

  3. Looking at her photos, I guess Lori was blonde more often than I remembered.

  4. You know, Rick29, that I have a fondness for the Creature. I always think of the cold and snow for some reason! But I actually saw this one first on tv as a kid. When I visit my friends in Florida and eat on a pier or dockside restaurant, I always worry about him showing up! --TB

  5. And if the Gill Man didn't grab you and dive into the ocean, he could easily clear out a nice seafood buffet. That'd be scary, too...and sad.

  6. I especially thought is was sweet to read about Lori Nelson and Julie Adams becoming lifelong friends. I wonder if either one of them spotted the Creature along the "Bend of the River"?