REVENGE OF THE CREATURE— sequel to the classic Creature From The Black Lagoon did respectable business back in the spring of 1955, pulling in crowds of tots and teens keen to see what mayhem the girlfriend-deprived amphibian would wreak on assorted scientists, guards and hot rodders. It has a few nifty sequences and a quotient of nostalgia value, but mostly it swims in circles and gasps for air.
A second expedition to “A TRIBUTARY OF THE AMAZON” snares the 300-pound swamp lord and brings it back to display at an oceanarium in Florida, where it has the misfortune of being goosed with electric prods (no ASPCA for reptilian throwbacks until Nixon signed it into law) and bum luck to develop another fishcrush on a Hot Blonde Ichthyologist: this cannot end well.
It doesn’t end too soon. Directed by Jack Arnold, the 82 minutes spend so much time dawdling with underwater swimming shots and lifeless conversations that you easily relate to repeated trips up the aisle for popcorn from crewcutted kids and resumed necking from duck & pony-tailed older siblings in Chevy’s at the drive-in, waiting for some of the poster-promised rampaging to finally start.
It’s submerged by replacing dependably earnest Richard Carlson with dependably awful John Agar (the first of his genre jokes*) and leggy, enticing Julie Adams with leggy, bland Lori Nelson (we know you don’t want to be in this, but try to fake it).
“You know sometimes I wonder how I ever got started on all this. Science, fish, ichthyology, where will it all lead me? As a person I mean. Most of the kids I went to undergraduate school with are already married and have children.”
Shot in 3-D (all the lunging at the lens make that obvious without the glasses), with some good camera work by Charles S. Welbourne, particularly in the nighttime shots on the beach. In the cast: John Bromfield, Nestor Paiva, Grandon Rhodes, Dave Willock, Brett Halsey and 25-year old Clint Eastwood making his debut. The famous monster suits are inhabited by Ricou Browning and Tom Hennesy (the big ox who wanted to feather-fight John Wayne in The Alamo). I don’t want to be the one to bring the speargun of reason to this gillfight, but how is that in many of the scenes where the humans are wrestling with this seven-foot tall thing that can break alligators in two and has claws three inches long, they barely get scratched? In light of today’s astronomical box-office takes, it’s difficult to re-calibrate what a gross of $1,100,000 meant six decades back, but for a sci-fi double-bill item it was a good enough dredge to bait a third Creature film the following year.
*Have Monster, Call Agar: Tarantula, The Mole People, Daughter Of Dr. Jekyll, The Brain From Planet Arous, Attack Of The Puppet People, Invisible Invaders, Hand Of Death, Journey To The 7th Planet, Zontar The Thing From Venus, Curse Of The Swamp Creature, Night Flight, Women Of The Prehistoric Planet.