The third film in Universal’s CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON franchise, better known as The One That Was Never On TV When We Were Kids gets a UK DVD release courtesy of Fabulous Films.
Insanely jealous and generally mad doctor Jeff Morrow sets off in his luxury boat. With him is his THIS ISLAND EARTH costar deep-voiced Rex Reason as a deep-voiced geneticist (“I’m also a doctor”), some other doctors (James Rawley and Maurice Manson), and Gregg Palmer as the tight T-shirt espadrille and black leather cap on a bit too far back wearing bit of eye candy who’s constantly trying to deny his true sexuality by trying to get it on with Mad Jeff’s blonde slip of a wife (Leigh Snowden) when she’s not succumbing to the bends with two of the other chaps and making Mad Jeff even more mad.
They’re all journeying upriver to catch the Gill-Man, set him on fire, cover him in bandages, give him a tracheotomy, and change him into a far cheaper and tattier looking monster altogether. Is it any wonder he’s the only character in this we feel sorry for?
Not content with being the most despicable and miserable bunch of characters ever to grace a Universal monster movie, our band of bastards take the Gill-Man to San Francisco. Well not San Francisco exactly, but the removal van that takes all their stuff to a house in the middle of nowhere has San Francisco written on the side, and it allows Universal to then put the Golden Gate Bridge on the poster when it has no involvement in the film whatsoever. Boo!
In Probably-Not-San-Francisco the evil scientists lock the Gill-Man up in a compound, muse about how he can now never go back in the water even though he yearns to, and throw a mountain lion at him. Mad Jeff goes completely mad and kills Gay Gregg, probably in some fit of unrequited passion or something (these films were all about subtext after all, weren’t they?).
Mad Jeff blames Gay Gregg’s death on the Gill-Man. The bars on the Gill-Man’s compound turn to cardboard. The Gill-Man escapes, kills Mad Jeff and runs off. Cut to Mad Jeff’s funeral and the usual pontificating that goes on after the climax of a film like this except we haven’t really had one. “Where’s the Gill-Man gone?” asks someone. “Oh probably to kill himself” is the gist of the reply. We see the Gill-Man walking along the beach and staring at the sea. He looks very sad indeed. The End.
Bloody hell. For a low-budget entry in a 1950s monster movie series it’s actually hard to think of a bigger downer than THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US. In fact its nihilism almost makes it feels as if it should have been made 15 years later. Pretty much no-one is likeable and nothing much happens except squabbling and pointless experiments on nature to no good whatsoever. One wonders what audience reception to this was at the time, but the absence of a fourth film probably answers that.
Fabulous Films’ DVD is no frills and lacks the commentary track you get if you go for Universal’s Region 1 release. You do get still and poster galleries, though.
Fabulous Films are releasing THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US on Region 2 DVD on 24th August 2015