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Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28- The Creature Walks Among Us (1956)

The final film overall in what is considered the "Golden Age of horror movies." The Creature Walks Among Us features the creature known as the Gill-man for the final time. Again, Ricou Browning plays the Gill-man in the underwater scenes,with Don Megowan playing the creature on land.

Notice the smoother skin
The film begins soon after the conclusion of Revenge of the Creature. Another expedition, this time led by Dr. William Barton (played by Jeff Marrow) is searching for the Gill-man in the Florida Everglades. The team eventually finds the Gill-man and captures him, but the Creature is burned badly during the capture. While being cared for at the hospital, Dr. Thomas Morgan (played by Rex Reason) notices that the Gill-man is slowly shedding away his gills and using a lung system to breathe. Having usable lungs and that the monster is beginning to look a little more human (apparently, the Gill-man's skin color is also becoming more human), the doctors dress up the Creature in human clothes. Another goal of the doctor's is to teach the Creature to live in harmony with humans.
Leigh Snowden plays Marcia Barton

Meanwhile, Jed Grant (played by Gregg Palmer) becomes infatuated with Marci Barton (played by Leigh Snowden), and he actually makes sexual advances on her, so far as to be considered sexual assault. Luckily, the Gill-man had just escaped and manages to save Marcia from any harm. This is the Creature showing compassion for someone, though this time, he won't try to kidnap the female. Even though he has survived the ordeal, the Gill-man is unhappy and constantly stares at the ocean.

Things are turned upside down when Dr. Barton, being an abusive and jealous husband, kills Jed Grant, suspecting that Grant and Marcia were having an affair. Barton blames the Gill-man for the crime, but the Creature, having witnessed the murder, somehow understands that he is being blamed and viciously attacks Barton, killing him. The last shot of the movie has the now land dwelling Gill-man moving forward towards the ocean.

Jed Grant, Dr. Barton, and Marcia Barton
Overall, this movie was decent. I didn't like the fact that the movie tried to justify the reasoning behind the Gill-man having both lungs and gills, as well as both human skin and scales. I did, however, enjoy the fact that the Gill-man is shown as a compassionate and at least semi-intelligent being. Also, the concept that the Gill-man could potentially be introduced to society and learn things. The acting in this film was decent. A low point was Jeff Morrow's portrayal of Dr. Barton. Barton is supposed to be unstable and immoral, but I never really got that vibe from Jeff Morrow.

This film stands as the last of the classic Universal horror movies. An interesting note is that Ricou Browning, the only person to play the Gill-man more than once, is still alive and is the last survivor to have been a classic Universal monster. Anyway, all in all, this is a decent movie with an interesting story. Not great, but also not bad.

The end of an era

I give this film a 3.5 out of 5.

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