Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Creature Saga

Revenge of the Creature
(1955)
***
I'm baaaaaaaaaaack!
Two scientists successfully capture the Creature -- whom I have affectionately named Harold -- to bring back to a Sea World type oceanarium in sunny Florida and advertise him as The Gill-Man. There, the movie is destined for a Blackfish type storyline of sea beings protesting their incarceration by humans to further science. Harold is accessible for scientists to study but is being forced to live in isolation from the rest of his underwater friends in a fabricated setting. He is fed guppies in a cheap-looking wire cage. Patrons of the oceanarium get to stare at him and laugh through cheap glass. 
"Isn't he just co cute and helpless? Let's say you and me get some dinner, or maybe just make out while the Gill-Man looks on?"
His only solace is the company of Helen Dobson, an ichthyology student, who is kind and uninvasive unlike her biopsychologist professor Clete Ferguson, who prods him with a taser-like rod to “train” the Gill-Man like one would train a porpoise or an orca. Harold isn’t going to have any of it and finds a way to escape on a night when Helen and Clete are out dancing at a beachside club and restaurant. The plot reverts to the original Creature from the Black Lagoon and Harold abducts Helen to claim her as a hostage/potential mate, and Clete pursues him with the help of the police. 

Throughout viewing this I couldn’t help but root for Harold as he enacted his “revenge” on the humans who took him out of his natural habitat and subjected him to a series of incongruous and really stupid tests. I wonder if he had had more time with Helen he would try to communicate to her his pain and bewilderment at what her colleagues were doing to him? Would she listen to him or continue to be horrified? How might he conduct himself around Helen to show her he meant no harm to her? Unfortunately we shall never know the thought Harold’s fishy motives because he was never given a chance to express himself.


The Creature Walks Among Us 
(1956)
***
A group of scientists (who all look and speak alike) travel off the coast of Florida in pursuit of a humanoid creature attacking fisherman. Marsha is the young wife of the captain of the boat and is a thrill-seeker, not letting her controlling husband limit who she talks to or what she does -- although her spirit is admirable, her actions often get her into trouble. She accompanies two other scientists as they search for the creature, and eventually passes out from going too deep.

Their second attempt to capture Harold is successful because they douse him with lighter fluid when he invades their ship and light him on fire. His scales are burned off and in his retreat to the aquatic abode he has made for himself, nearly drowns. His metamorphosis, initiated from the fire, has left him with human skin and capable lungs that he never used before. Two of the scientists are fascinated with this and want to acclimate him to a life on land. There is, for the first time in this trilogy, a voice of reason sympathizing with Harold’s situation being ejected from his world of water and forced to live in another, but of course they just laugh it off and feed him air. Hooray for forced evolution!
The denouement of this flick was a little predictable but never really felt like there was closure on Harold’s fate. I enjoyed this movie not so much for its content but for its potential beyond the end credits. For example, Harold could take on the surname Gilman (a nod to his moniker in Revenge of the Creature), decide he must live among the monsters who made him this way -- humans -- and get a day job. I am so working on a comic strip of this right now.

7 comments:

Mr. AC said...

Maybe Marvel will pick up your comic strip and turn it into a movie, bringing the whole thing full circle.

Catfreeek said...

Harold is such a tortured soul, I'd love to see the comic strip. Great series to take on.

Landshark said...

Awesome. I don't think I've seen all of these. I need to do a similar mini-festival in some future thon.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

The first few panels of the comic strip are hilarious, I can vouch for that.

Nice reviews Crystal!

JPX said...

Funny reviews! Revenge of the Creature plays a lot like Jaws 3D. The Gill Man walking around in people clothing looks utterly ridiculous. It's nice to see you taking on some vintage horror!

AC said...

I'm totally on Harold's side too. Great job tackling all the films.

Octopunk said...

You never disappoint, Crystal. I love your take on Harold, and that he's called Harold now. I've watched Revenge of the Creature several times because it's one of my favorite MST3K episodes, and you're right about everything. The scientists are dicks.