Monday, 14 July 2014

Revenge of the Creature (1955)

A representative B Monster movie sequel minus some of the quality of its predecessor, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon"

Directed by Jack Arnold
Produced by William Alland
Written by Story: William Alland
Screenplay: Martin Berkeley
Music by Henry Mancini
Edited by Paul Weatherwax
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Running time: 82 min
Box office: $1.1 million (US)


John Agar (Prof Clete Ferguson)
Lori Nelson (Helen Dobson)
John Bromfield (Joe Hayes)
Nestor Paiva (Lucas)
Grandon Rhodes (Jackson Foster)
Dave Willock (Lou Gibson)
Robert Williams (George Johnson)
Charles Cane (Police Captain)
Robert F. Hoy (Charlie)
Brett Halsey (Pete)
Ricou Browning (Gillman-Underwater)
Tom Hennesy (Gillman-Land and in water)

The Creature from the Black Lagoon is back! 

A” Devonian relic” re-discovered and captured by scientists and transported to an aquarium in Florida! 

A beast attracted by the beauty of a female scientist! 

An escape-bid! 

A pursuit of beauty! 

How will this mid - 20th century tale of Beauty and the Beast end?


(Spoilers Follow)


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Good evening viewers. This is Walter Swen and tonight we have a special report that seems to confirm without a shadow of a doubt last year’s widely reported story concerning a strange creature dubbed, “The Creature From The Black Lagoon” and “The Gillman.”

Our reporter in Rio de Janeiro who accompanied the expedition into the remote Amazon and which is the subject of tonight’s special news report, has just sent through his cabled report together with telephotos which tell a very strange story indeed.

The events in question began at a tributary of the upper Amazon aboard a small boat, Rita II captained by a Captain Lucas who took last year’s expedition of scientists to the same area where The Gillman was apparently encountered. You’ll recall that in that expedition, 5 people lost their lives!

This most recent expedition headed by two employees of Jacksonville, Florida's Ocean Harbor Marine Centre, George Johnson and Joe Hayes, intended to push through to a place called the “Black Lagoon” in an endeavour to capture the creature and take it back to the Ocean Harbour Aquarium to exhibit it for the world to see. Prior to sailing along the Amazon, Johnson and Hayes declared that “If there is a Gillman, we’ll catch him.”

In an interview with our reporter, Lucas stated that he warned Johnson and Hayes that if the Gillman was dead they would have wasted their money and if he was still alive, they probably would have wished it was dead. Captain Lucas apparently couldn't understand the point of the expedition and felt that the creature should’ve been left alone.

According to Captain Lucas, he warned the expedition leaders that “If this thing is alive, maybe you’ll be sorry.” In support of his pessimistic outlook concerning the expedition to capture the creature, Lucas stated that prior to this expedition, “this thing I have seen with my own eyes, it doesn’t belong in this world” and that “this beast exists because it is stronger than the thing you call evolution.”

In relation to the origins of the creature, Johnson theorized that under the right conditions a creature might avoid being affected by evolution, thereby leap- frogging many of its important stages.

And now ladies and gentlemen, for the first time we present to you a telephoto of the creature. A half-fish, half-man creature? A missing link between marine and terrestrial life? What do you think? Perhaps soon we’ll find out for sure….

Our next report will come to you live from Ocean Harbour where we will await the arrival of The Gillman which if this report is true has been successfully captured. We’ll also hopefully be able to provide you with details concerning the creature’s capture and its eventual fate. Until then, ladies and gentlemen, this is Walter Swen, giving you all the news and nothing but the news from WNTV.


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Welcome viewers to a special second news report featuring the capture of The Gillman. This time we will be crossing live to our reporter Mack Racker who is at present reporting from Ocean Harbour. Now Mack, what seems to happening there?

Well, Walt, the Gillman has been successfully transported to Florida and as we speak is being unloaded from the boat and transferred to a holding tank so studies can begin on it. As you can see the creature is motionless and concerns have been raised over the fact that the creature has remained in a coma since being stunned by explosions when it was captured.

Mack, I may interrupt? Do you have any further information about the capture of The Gillman?

Yes Walt. I have here with me, Joe Hayes, one of the leaders of the exhibition. Tell me Mr Hayes, how was the creature’s capture accomplished?

Certainly. After we entered the Creature’s lagoon, I donned a diving suit and entered the water to secure a net we had hung across the entrance of the lagoon. Unknown to me, I was being stalked by the Gillman. Being preoccupied with the net, I didn’t notice the creature until it was too late when it attacked me. The others on the boat heard my frantic cries for help and began pulling me in with the life line. The creature however, attempted to break the line before being driven off by gunfire from the boat.

The next day George Johnson, my expedition partner, set a series of explosives around the lagoon, hoping that their detonation would stun the creature and force it to the surface. Luckily our plan worked and the creature simply floated to surface unconscious near the boat.

With the creature secured, all that remained was to begin the task of transporting it back to Florida and so here we are.

Thank you so much Mr Hayes. Now Walt, we can see a shot of the creature being transferred to the holding tank. Overseeing the transfer is Helen Dobson who is also here with me. Miss Dobson, I understand that you intend to use the creature as the basis of a thesis.

Yes, I am. I’ll be gathering material for my master's thesis in ichthyology.


Ichthyology. That’s a branch of zoology that deals with the scientific study of fish. Now, you’ll notice that Joe – Mr Hayes- has entered the tank and is walking the creature around the holding tank. This is the same technique that is used on sharks. This is done in order to push water through the creature’s gills and hopefully revive it.

(After a couple of hours, several more interviews, shots of Joe walking the creature around the tank and a televised tour of the aquarium, the creature suddenly stirs……)

Mack, what seems to be happening?

(Sound of flash bulbs going off) Walt, Mr Hayes has barely made it out of the tank before being attacked by the Creature. (Sound of panic and screams) The creature is going berserk and is trying to jump out of the tank. (Sound of Creature’s rage-filled roar.) Joe Hayes is now trying to stop the creature but has fallen back into the tank. Two workers are attempting to rescue him but appear to have been badly injured. Oh no….get out of the way! (Mack and camera crew shift position to get a better view) Thank goodness…. a net has been thrown over the creature and it has been bought back under control!

Are you alright Mack?

Yes…Yes. All is quiet now. (Tries to get his breath back) Back to you in the studio.

Well, what a tense moment that was viewers! This creature that should have died a quarter of million years ago may be an object of scientific study, but its potential danger cannot be underestimated. Today’s events will only serve to add to the enormous publicity already generated by the creature. Apparently hotels are booked for 50 miles around by tourists wanting to see the creature.

Our next special report will come to us live from the main viewing tank where the creature is expected to be placed. Until then, this is Walter Swen, giving you all the news and nothing but the news from WNTV.

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Welcome ladies and gentlemen, this is Walter Swen with another special report on The Gillman and we now cross live to our reporter, Mack Raker.

Close up of a sign reading;



Thanks Walt. We are now coming to you from the permanent viewing tank at the aquarium where the public can see the Gillman exhibit. You’ll notice that one leg of the creature is secured with a chain to stop the its further attempts to escape. The size of the crowds visiting the exhibit have been huge and the process of studying the creature has now begun.

We have here from the Florida Institute, animal psychologist Prof Clete Ferguson who has been engaged in studying predatory behaviour in mammals. When news of the capture of the creature came through, Doctor Ferguson was invited to go to Ocean Harbor to study it. Doctor Ferguson, can you tell us what your study of the creature will entail?

Yes, well, both Miss Dobson and I will try training the creature by using vocal commands similar to methods used on dolphins. In this way we believe we can teach the creature to be less aggressive and be more responsive to voice commands. The best way to convey this to you will be to show you.

(Scene of Ferguson and Dobson donning scuba gear and entering the tank, while Mack Raker provides viewers with a running commentary. Ferguson and Dobson are armed with a special shock probe which they use to zap the creature at the crucial time during feeding. They then lower another portion of food that has been injected with drugs to sedate the creature. Ferguson then attaches a device for measuring the creature’s brain activity and proceeds to obtain blood samples from it.)

Well, Walt that was an amazing sight! We now have a rather water-logged Prof Ferguson with us again. Can you recap for our viewers what just took place?

Our intention was to condition the Gill Man to respond to our commands, and so Helen- Miss Dobson and I attracted the Gill Man with food, then we shocked him with the cattle prod after Miss Dobson verbally commanded him to "stop." We should have the results of the blood test soon which we will make public during a news conference.

Thank you so much Professor. Back to you Walt.

Thanks Mack. Yet another fascinating insight into this marvel of Nature. What secrets as to its origins will it reveal to us? Only time will tell. This is Walter Swen giving you all the news and nothing but the news from WNTV.


Mack Raker from WNTV. Professor Ferguson, what have you and Miss Dobson managed to discover about the Gillman?

Well, the blood tests we conducted have thrown up some peculiar results, I am really concerned about exactly what we are dealing with. On every level tested so far, the creature appears to be on an evolutionary scale closer to man than animals! Miss Dobson will tell you more from her copy of “Gillman Examination – X9747.”

Thank you Professor. The creature’s red corpuscle content is 10% less than human blood. It seems that every test, every reaction, just misses being human! …….But more than that I can’t help feeling that the poor thing is just…. lonely, like an orphan of time-alone; the only one of its kind. I worry about what long term effects all our testing might have on it………

Both my assistant Miss Dobson and I have been stunned by the creature’s progress. What a chimp would take to learn in three weeks the creature is able to learn in a matter of hours.

Yes that’s true, Professor. Over time I have also come to realise that the creature is certainly not just a “Flippy The Educated Porpoise” who has merely been taught to retrieve objects and raise the flag. Perhaps such creatures are able to talk to us and that in our arrogance we’re the ones not smart enough to understand….

Professor! Professor!....Miss Dobson!...... 


Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt regular programming to bring this news- breaking event from the aquarium involving the Gillman. We now cross over to Mack Raker.

Thanks Walt. During an experiment held in the tank containing the creature, Professor Ferguson was attacked and injured by it. Enraged, the Gillman strained against the chain holding it managing to break free.

(Sounds of pandemonium as the camera zeroes in on Joe Hayes who tries to intervene. He is then dragged into the tank and killed. The creature then leaves the tank and Mack Raker takes up the commentary….)

The creature has escaped the viewing tank and appears intent on getting into the ocean. Park visitors are scattering in terror, but it doesn’t seem to want to kill or injure those within its reach like it has done to Mr Hayes. It is anyone’s guess where the creature will wind up. Will it be recaptured or will it try to make its way back to the habitat it knows best, the Amazon River?

Thank you Mack. We now return you to regular programming but we will keep you informed as new developments arise. This is Walter Swen giving you all the news and nothing but the news from WNTV.


(Gillman’s “thoughts”: an approximation;)

Sun-hair she-creature I find.

Hairy four legs beast attack me with teeth.
Destroy beast!
Leave now but watch.

The next morning

Follow sun-hair and man devil who hurt me with pain stick.
Her mate? No! I kill. Take her!
Strange big wood log stop.

Sun-hair swim. I follow. 
No kill her. Like sun-hair creature, want to touch….. 
She go back. Leave water world. Leave my world. No! 
Must hurry…. 
No….too late.

At The Lobster House

I see sun-hair and man devil walk and stand close. 
Both walk back to noisy wood cave. 
I follow now. 
Weak creatures run from me. 
No pain sticks. 
Easy to take sun-hair. 
We go to water. Safe. Give life. Can live. 
Sun-hair mine, man devil!……..




Ladies and gentlemen, we apologise for this interruption to regular programming to bring you this report on developments concerning the Gillman. We now cross over to Mack Raker in the region of Point Diego.

Thank you Walt. Earlier tonight a report was received by authorities from a couple fishing in a boat who heard screaming coming from a channel marker in the river. It turned out that Miss Helen Dobson who had earlier been abducted by the Gillman from the Lobster House had managed to break free of the creature and was trying to escape by climbing onto the channel marker. As the fishing couple watched, Miss Dobson was dragged back under just as a police launch arrived on the scene.

I have been told that the police have issued an alert and have commenced clearing the public off the streets.

I have here a member of the coast guard who has been conducting a search for Miss Dobson and the Gillman. What further developments have there been?

Yes, we’ve just investigated an incident involving two young men who while driving found a body on a nearby beach. They apparently stopped to investigate. The body left an impression on the ground and must have been that of the missing woman, Miss Helen Dobson. It appears that the creature came up behind the two preoccupied men and killed them before heading into the water with Miss Dobson’s body.

Thank you for that update. We now move on with the search and it is apparent that hundreds of armed police are scouring the area. We are now approaching a gathering of policemen who are being briefed on the creature by Professor Ferguson. Let’s see if we can pick up his words….

……remember to keep in mind the sheer strength of the creature and more importantly its high level of intelligence…..(Meeting interrupted by a man with an urgent message)

Ladies and gentlemen, it seems that the creature has just been sighted by searchers coming back ashore further along the beach. We will resume our report once we arrive on the scene.

Commercial break featuring Sugar Snaps: The perfect start to any day recommended by 91% of doctors. A free plastic Gillman action-figure in every box of Sugar Snaps!

(Later that evening……)

Walt, we resume our live report just in time to see the creature retrieving the body of Miss Helen Dobson and heading back into the water. Professor Ferguson is now approaching the retreating figure of the Gillman and seems to be using what appears to be the kind of conditioning training that was taught to the Gillman back at the aquarium. My God! It appears to be working! Ferguson has managed to make the creature drop Miss Dobson. (Sound of gunfire erupts.) The police have just now seized the opportunity and have opened fire with a volley of gun fire.

Thank God Miss Dobson is unharmed (Shot of Helen and Ferguson embracing. Pan to smoke-filled scene of watery surface stillness and fade back to studio with close up of Walter Swen.)

A good outcome for Miss Dobson with perhaps a bitter taste left in the mouth. The Gillman, this Creature from the Black Lagoon….A maligned and misunderstood missing link or a malevolent monstrous misfit? This is Walter Swen giving you all the news and nothing but the news from WNTV.

Points Of Interest

The Revenge of the Creature was reported to be the highest-grossing film of the "Creature" trilogy. 

Much of the film was shot at Marineland in Florida with The St. Johns River standing in for the Amazon. 

The actors filmed in the water during the tank scenes, were required to swim with actual sharks, eels and barracudas. 

The Lobster House restaurant where the Creature kidnapped Helen Dobson located in Jacksonville, FL. was destroyed by fire in 1962.

The film was the only sequel to a 3-D film to be shot in 3-D as well.

Clint Eastwood has a brief cameo in the beginning of the film as a goofy lab technician "Jennings" who being devoid of a .45 Magnum can’t seem to keep even lab rats in line! And the hairdo! It might make some people’s day!

Is there any outfit that Lori Nelson (also in The Day the World Ended) does not look stunning in? The creature had a good eye!


The audience is made to feel empathy for a monster who experiences an attraction for a beautiful woman but who is denied her by the reality of their existence and differences, Not only that, but the monster endures being probed and prodded, being gaped at by tourists, experiences pain, capture, and even death for being merely what it is. 

The Gill Man evokes far more sympathy in "The Revenge of the Creature" than he did in "the Creature from the Black Lagoon." Firstly, there is the creature’s obvious sensitivity and feelings for Helen. It was also the creature who becomes a victim of scientific curiosity, human arrogance and the need to control and subjugate the forces of Nature. It was humans who invaded the safety of the creature’s natural habitat of the Black Lagoon with the intent of capturing and removing him. The Creature’s freedom has been replaced with shackles and repeated cattle prodding. Is it any wonder that REVENGE may have to be exacted? Push a man ….or creature too far and…..

Notice during the attack by the Creature on the Lobster House that a clock hanging above the entrance suddenly jumps ahead two hours! It turned out that heat from the production equipment tripped the sprinkler system in the restaurant not long after the scene started. As a result, the extras were drenched, along with the production equipment. The extras had to go home and change while the equipment was dried, and the resulting two hour time difference was shown on the clock. 

In the scenes of "The Creature" jumping out of a huge aquatic tank to attack the audience and over-turning a car as he was escaping the Oceanarium, wires were used to pull the Creature out of the large tank and turn the car over. 

You might have noticed a scene when Professor Ferguson ventures out into a darkened area around the motel to look for Helen’s missing dog. Suddenly, we are given a start when a hand suddenly reaches out from the right side of the screen to touch him. Initially we think it might be the Gillman but is instead Helen. This is an example of director Jack Arnold’s effective technique using the sides of the movie screen as the arches in a proscenium-style theatre (arch over the area of a theatre surrounding the stage opening) with unexpected intrusions coming in from the sidelines.

Ginger Stanley

While playing The Creature, Actor/Stuntman Tom Hennesy grabs Helen Dobson (stuntwoman Ginger Stanley) on a pier and jumps into the water with her. The  water, however, was full of jellyfish. Not only that, but a freak current started to pull them both down. Hennesy let go of Stanley, who managed to swim to the surface, while Hennesy's Gill-Man costume became waterlogged and too heavy and inflexible for him to escape the current. Luckily he was rescued by two local boys who were nearby in a boat watching the filming.

©Chris Christopoulos 2014

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